I started out to say that I must be honest with you:  not every evening features a culinary masterpiece.  But as I thought about it, maybe it’s that the word “masterpiece” needs to be rethought.

I don’t cook in a terribly complicated, ingredient-intensive way to begin with.  But on nights such as last night, I tend to step it down even more.  And still, the results are pretty good if I do say so.

It had been a long, intense weekend followed by a long Monday.  It being Meatless Monday, I had a post all formulated in my mind about a new twist on  the garbanzo bean “meatballs” that I intended to shape as patties so I could indulge once again in the pleasure of homemade ketchup.  But by the time I got home from a late afternoon meeting, I just didn’t have it in me.

Pasta is probably my favorite go-to on nights when I need a good, simple dinner, especially one that needs to be drenched in comfort.  I had relieved my kind neighbor of some more of her onion scapes over the weekend, and I always have Parmesan and Italian parsley on hand.  Salad fixings?  Check.

While the pasta was cooking, I washed some lettuce, tore it up, and added some tomatoes, an avocado, shaved a carrot over it all, and tossed it with a lemony vinaigrette.  When the pasta was done, I tossed it with some olive oil, chopped onion scapes, parsley, sea salt and some grinds of pepper.  Parmesan – a generous amount – went over the top, and I sat down with my masterpiece. And the latest issue of La Cucina Italiana.  Ohhhhh, life is so good.

So tonight’s the night for a “burger.”


1 small yellow onion, diced (or 1/2 large)

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 mushrooms – crimini or button – stems removed, 1/4″ slices

Olive oil

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes

1/2 cup Panko (or your own ground bread crumbs, or leftover quinoa, rice, or risotto)

15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed

Zest of 1 lemon (Meyer, if possible)

1 large egg

  1. Film the bottom of a medium skillet with olive oil and place over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and a good pinch of salt.  Sauté until softened.  Add the garlic, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes.   Sauté until mushrooms have given up most of their water, about 8-10 minutes.  Add Panko (or bread crumbs).   Sauté, stirring often, until Panko takes on a toasted color, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Transfer contents of skillet to bowl of a food processor.  Add the garbanzo beans and lemon zest, and pulse until well blended, but not puréed.  Add the egg and pulse until nearly a paste-like consistency.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Shape into  3 patties.  If you don’t need to cook all of them at once, wrap each individually in plastic, then place inside a ziplock bag and freeze.
  4. Set oven to Broil.
  5. You can cook the “burgers” in the very same pan in which you sautéed the vegetables.  Add some more olive oil, and warm the pan over medium heat.  When hot, add your “burger(s)”.  Cook each side until golden brown and nicely crisped.  While the patties are cooking, slide the buns under the broiler to toast.
  6. Serve “burgers” with lots of homemade ketchup and whatever garnishes you love.

So what masterpieces have you created lately?

About thesolitarycook

I'm a chef, a cook, a teacher, a reader, a writer, a bike-rider, a dog- and cat-woman
This entry was posted in Entrées, Meatless Monday, RECIPES, Sandwiches, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Karen Rush says:

    It is raining here. Your post with the word burger got me salivating and wanting both meat and burger. I’ve got do some banking soon so will go also to my favorite butcher to pick up some lamb shoulder which I will mince with an assortment of spices (feeling like cumin, coriander etc and fresh chili). I have 2-day old Italian bread which I will toast. Small salad on the side & perhaps some cucumber raita as well. I have work to do tonight so this activity of making and eating will be light relief. Thanks for the inspiration … again!

  2. I love reading about your dinner as the first cup of coffee is coaxing my eyes open. Your spiced up lamb burger is begging to be written up! Tzatziki is one of my favorite condiments, too – I use it in place of mayo. I’m off to an all-day class today, so dinner tonight is going to be something simple once again.

  3. Karen B Rush says:

    The perils of living alone and cooking for one but really cooking extra for my frail mother to be delivered the next day … I purchased the lamb (minced by the enthusiastic grower as I stood there) and headed home. It was the end of the long rainy day and I was pooped. I ended up cooking tasty spiced lamburgers (with onion gravy for Mum) and they were seriously good. By the time I finished the evening TV news was on and I was transfixed by the depressing day’s sordid federal political developments by our ruling politicians. I poured a glass of wine, put two of the lamburgers on my plate and sat with my feet up on the coffee table muttering at the television screen. No one there to hear me so I could.

    • Well that’s a frequent scenario in my house, too, only I don’t mutter. Sordidness and politics, I suspect, transcends all boundaries. It sound like the high point of your evening was a luscious dinner, a glass of wine, and your feet deservedly up. Cheers!

  4. Karen B Rush says:

    Twitter tells me you are frantically busy with all sorts of work and development activities at the moment. I’m off to learn to shuck oysters properly with a chef friend and drink champagne as we go in 10 hours. Should be fun. Got a packed day of real work in between. Tomorrow night I plan on cooking the scallion-corn muffins and some fruit muffins for my mother. Did you receive my report on savory olive cake? Thought I would have another go at that and get a lighter oil to try. What do you think?

    • I did get your comments, and have tomorrow set aside to respond to all of them. As for a lighter oil, try it and see what you think. I’m extremely jealous of your oyster-shucking experience, and look forward to hearing about it!

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