Here is a delicious departure from other vegetable burgers. Cook the barley well ahead of time. One cup of raw barley should yield 3 cups cooked (see Notes). You can use freshly cooked, still-warm barley in the mixture, but make sure it isn’t steaming hot. These are tender burgers that you need to handle carefully, so they won’t fall apart. However, if they do crumble a bit, you can push them back together as they cook—or just enjoy the crumbles!
NotesRefrigerating the mixture for a few hours will help make these a little sturdier, but this step is purely optional.
Uncooked burgers will keep for up to 2 days if tightly wrapped and refrigerated. Cooked burgers will keep for up to a week, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator—and for months in the freezer.
To Cook Barley:
1 cup grains to 3 cups water. Simmer 1¼, hours or until tender. Makes 4 cups.
8 burgers (1 per serving)
Cooking Methodbaking, pan-frying
Total Timeunder 2 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Recipe Coursemain course
Taste and Texturecheesy, chewy, crisp, garlicky, nutty, umami
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups minced onion
- ½ pound mushrooms, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons minced or crushed garlic
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 cups cooked pearl barley
- ½ cup minced, toasted walnuts
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 packed cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Nonstick spray for the pan
Place a large nonstick sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the oil, wait another 30 seconds or so, then add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and the salt. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid that the mushrooms exude has evaporated and they are beginning to take on some color.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.
Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar.
In a large bowl, combine the onion and mushroom mixture with the cooked barley and nuts. Add the eggs and mozzarella and stir well to combine.
Season with a few grinds of black pepper, then let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes at room temperature-or overnight in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.
At this point you can either fry the burgers on the stove-top, or bake them in the oven.
To fry the burgers on the stove-top:
Heat a large nonstick sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, generously spray with nonstick spray.
Using a ½-cup dry measuring cup, make 2 or 3 mounds of mixture, placing them directly into the hot pan. Leave yourself a bit of room around each to make flipping them easier. Carefully flatten each mound to form 4-inch patties.
Cook without moving until nicely browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Carefully insert a thin-bladed spatula (it should be at least as wide as the patties, so it can support them) under the patties, first loosening them completely and then flipping them over, quickly but carefully.
Cook until nicely browned on the second side, about 5 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
To cook the burgers in the oven:
Preheat the oven to 400°F and place a nonstick baking sheet in the heating oven for a few minutes. Generously spray the heated baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Using a ½-cup dry measuring cup, make 2 or 3 mounds of mixture, placing them directly onto the hot baking sheet. Leave yourself a bit of room around each to make flipping them easier. Carefully flatten each mound to form 4-inch patties.
Place on the center rack of the oven and bake undisturbed for 10 minutes. Carefully insert a thin-bladed spatula (it should be at least as big as the patties, so it can support them) under the patties, first loosening them completely and then flipping them over, quickly but carefully.
Bake until nicely browned on the second side, about 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
Read NextTranslucent Sugar Glaze
2007 Tante Malka, Inc., and Walter Willett, M.D.