In the Pantry Challenge video series, Lauren Braun Costello -- chef, author and food stylist -- shows busy moms how to make meals using ingredients they already have in their pantries, solving their unique cooking challenges. In this episode, Lauren shows Silu N., a mother of two, how to use Mexican spices (like taco seasoning) in a vegetarian dish her family will love -- savory Mexican veggie burgers.
Lauren begins by adding diced carrots, onions and green peppers to a hot pan coated with a little olive oil. These vegetables are going to be the base for the flavorful burgers. When the veggies are soft, she stirs in some fresh corn. She cooks the corn for less than a minute to retain its sweetness and texture, then seasons the mixture with a bit of salt and removes it from the heat.
Next, she shows Silu how to make the base of the burgers, which really couldn't be easier: Lauren just adds canned kidney beans and black beans to a bowl, then mashes them into a thick paste with a fork. (You want to retain a little of the bean texture, so don't over-mash.) She adds chopped cilantro for flavor, then pours in the secret ingredient: an envelope of taco seasoning. The vegetables are stirred in next, along with whole-wheat breadcrumbs and lightly beaten egg to help bind the burgers together.
To make the burgers, she portions the mixture with a half-cup measure, then forms patties with her hands. She fries the patties in olive oil over medium heat. The goal is to heat the burgers through and achieve a nice golden crust. When they're finished, she carefully removes them with a spatula and serves with toppings like grilled pineapple, sliced avocado and her quick jalapeño ketchup.
For the quick jalapeño ketchup, Lauren sautées chopped jalapeños in olive oil, then adds tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar (for sweetness) and cider vinegar. And that's it! She reduces the ketchup until it thickens, then seasons with salt and pepper.