Cajun Red Bean and Rice Slider!

I really love rice!!!

So I wanted to incorporate it into this week’s creation as much as possible. Local rice products from Harvest Grain Mills made this possible!

I’ve used rice and rice flour to make great textured veggie burgers that hold together really well, so I wanted to use that technique again this week. However, I took it a step further this week and used RICE GRITS to make a gluten-free slider bun!!!

I had heard of people making cakes out of polenta, so I figured rice grits could have the same effect. I honed my intuition and went to the kitchen!

Rice grits are almost powdery, so they absorb a lot of liquid when cooking.

One of my favorite things about rice grits is they are a creative, sustainable way to sell a leftover product of the rice harvesting process. Removing the rice husk, cleaning the grain, and separating the dirt and bugs takes a lot of machinery. The mechanical forces of this process cause a lot of the rice grains to chip and break. Instead of throwing these damaged grains away, we make delicious meals with the rice grit!

It takes a bit of time to make creamy rice grits.

Some recipes call for 3 parts liquid to 1 part rice grits. If you cook your rice grits this way, there is a chance the grits will absorb all of that liquid really quickly. It may look like the rice grits are cooked, but if you taste them carefully, you will notice the centers of the rice grits are still hard – not all the way cooked through.

If this happens, it is important to have more simmering water or broth on hand. I like to check my pot every 5 minutes or so. If your grits start to get too thick, add in about a half cup of liquid at a time. Eventually, the grits will stop absorbing water and get to a nice creamy consistency! This will probably take anywhere from 15-20 minutes, and I wouldn’t recommend leaving the pot simmering like you may be able to do with rice.

Turning rice grits into a fried cake is really worth it!

I used a glass sheet pan to cool these creamy rice grits down for frying.

If you are making this recipe, be sure to plan ahead. Hot rice grits take about 2 hours to cool in the refrigerator to the point where you can handle them for frying. Choose a baking sheet or glass pan that will get you a thickness of about half an inch once the grits are spread out to cool.

Once they are cool to the touch, you can cut out circles using the top of a mason jar or a drinking glass. Be sure to handle with care, but you can always stick your cakes back together if you have the right grit texture!

Preparing for the final fry step.

A light fry is all you need!

I brought a pot of oil to 350ºF and dropped my rice grit cakes in for a total of about 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. The result was golden-brown, fluffy, and crunchy!

This fry came out really well! Be sure to pat these off with a paper towel to remove excess oil before eating.

Now, let’s make a Cajun Red Beans and Rice Burger!

With our gluten-free slider bun complete, let’s focus on the burger.

To me, the classic flavors for Cajun red beans are:

  • Red beans (duh)
  • Onion
  • Green bell pepper
  • Garlic (lots of it)
  • Cayenne
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Bay leaf

So, to make this week’s burger, I started by boiling red beans with bay leaf to impart that flavor early. I sautéed red onion with herbs, and I added the rest of these ingredients to taste.

I used coconut rice to help with texture and taste. If you haven’t used a grain in your veggie burgers yet, I strongly recommend it. I also used brown rice flour as a final binding agent to make sure these burgers held together.

A beautiful sear on a pair of slider-sized burgers.

These were pretty thick, so I baked these for about 8 minutes on 400º after an initial sear. I’ve been getting some pretty incredible results with this sear-bake method recently. Burgers aren’t mushy at all, and they have an increased depth of flavor from the dual-method.

Toppings are the most important part to a slider!

For toppings this week, I did a quick-pickle on some red onions – I did this with 1/4 of the onion that I sautéed for the patty filling. I made a spicy herb aioli with parsley, oregano, thyme, and cayenne pepper. I also added a bit of avocado for a cooling effect, and parsley mainly for presentation, but the raw green taste was great and balanced!

I make sure my dishes are colorful. We eat with the eyes first!

Take two always has some improvements…

On picture day, I made a slider with a top and bottom rice grit cake bun. The first day, I was a bit worried about the bun texture, so I did not want to use a top bun in case it would be difficult to bite through and cause my burger patty to squish. Luckily, the cake was light and fluffy, so a top and bottom bun was a great success and an even more satisfying bite!

I also made a traditional burger with a pretzel bun. The patty really shined in this one. Spicy, garlicky, and well balanced with plenty of green – I could taste those amazing flavors on this fluffy bun.

Which one would you prefer?

And that is the story of the Cajun Red Beans and Rice Slider! Check out the video below, and re-create with the recipe! Enjoy!

Cajun Red Beans and Rice Slider

I made a fried rice grits cake for a bun for my red beans and rice burger. Topped with avocado, spicy herb aioli, and pickled onions!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Cooling Time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs
Servings: 8 sliders
Cost: $12

Equipment

  • Food processor
  • Glass pan

Ingredients

Rice Grit Cakes

  • 1/2 cup rice grits
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 tbsp unrefined salt
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp dried sage
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour

Red Bean Burger Patty

  • 2.5 cups red beans cooked with bay leaf
  • 1 cup cooked rice or coconut rice
  • 1 onion medium
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tbsp dried cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour

Toppings

  • pickled onions
  • 1/4 avocado sliced
  • 1/2 cup Vegenaise
  • 1/4 Meyer lemon or lemon
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

Rice Grit Cakes

  • Combine vegetable broth and water in a small pan and heat to a simmer.
  • Dice shallot and sauté in olive oil in a medium pan for 1-2 minutes until semi-translucent. Add seasonings.
  • Add rice grits and toast until fragrant – 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Add half of liquid mixture. Stir to make sure grits are not sticking to the pan. Close and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Every 5 minutes, check the thickness of the grits. They should remain creamy while liquid steams off of the pot. Add more liquid as necessary throughout the process. You will likely use the whole 2.5 cups and may need more.
  • Taste to make sure grits are cooked all the way through – no crunch when you take a bite. When creamy, remove from heat and pour into a glass pan. Choose a size that will result in about a 1/2" layer of grits.
    Cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours. You can make your red bean burger mix now if you would like.
  • Once cooled, start to heat a pot of cooking oil to 350ºF.
    Use the top of a small mason jar or a drinking glass to cut out circular rice grit cakes. Remove from the pan and sprinkle on both sides with rice flour.
  • Gently place in hot oil. Flip after about 5 minutes, and cook until both sides are golden-brown.
    Remove onto a plate covered with paper towel to remove excess oil.

Red Bean and Rice Patty Mix

  • Dice onion and sauté in olive oil over medium heat. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Roughly chop bell pepper and parsley and add to a food processor. Pulse until bell peppers are about 1/4".
    Add cooked red beans and pulse until only 1/4 of beans are left whole.
  • Add mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add rice, onions, and seasonings and mix to combine.
  • Add brown rice flour and mix to combine. Grab some of the mix and make sure it is not too wet/sticky. If so, add more rice flour until mixture holds together without being too dry.
  • Form slider patties. Heat skillet over medium heat, and heat oven to 400ºF.
  • Sear patties in olive oil on each side for about 4 minutes each. Add entire skillet to oven, and bake for 8 minutes, flipping the patties half way through.
    Remove from skillet to assemble burger.

Burger Assembly

  • To make aioli, combine Vegenaise, juice from Meyer lemon, seasonings, and chopped fresh parsley.
  • Place sliced avocado on top of rice grit cake. Season with salt and pepper if you like.
  • Place red bean and rice patty, aioli, and pickled red onions on top.
    Garnish with fresh parsley. Add a top rice cake, or enjoy open-faced!

Published by Chester Chambers

MIT grad with a mission to make the best veggie burger in the world

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