Polenta Bean Burger Tower

Pre-roasted garlic and hot chili in combination with chickpeas and ground cashews make these vegan mini pleasures both spicy and sweet. Finger food at its best, the brown rice paste helps create a veggie burger that actually holds together. Roasted polenta with pine nuts substitute the regular bun and add some crunch. Layer with fresh basil leaves.

bean burgers

1 green bell pepper
1-2 shallots
2 jalapeños
1 head of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked chickpeas
½ cup ground cashews
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
olive oil for frying


Seed, peel and cut bell pepper, jalapeños and shallots into ½ inch pieces. Peel the garlic.

Toss vegetables with olive oil and bake at 400F/200C for about 30 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool.

Mix brown rice in a food processor until it turns into a sticky paste. Add all remaining ingredients and the vegetables to the rice paste and continue mixing until the whole batter becomes sticky and holds together.

Divide batter into 8 small or 4 regular size patties and fry in olive oil.

polenta squares

3 ½ cup water
½ cup olive oil
1.5 cup polenta (cornmeal)
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoon salt
¼ cup roasted, coarsely ground pine nuts
olive oil for brushing


Bring water to a boil and add polenta slowly while stirring.

Reduce heat to low and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to prevent lumps. The polenta is done when it comes away cleanly from the sides of the pot.

Stir in the cumin, salt and pine nuts and spread polenta evenly into a pan to about ¼ inch thickness.

Leave in the fridge until it solidifies, then cut cooled polenta into 2.5-4 inch squares depending on burger size.

Brush squares on both sides with olive oil and bake at 450F/250C for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy.

sun dried cherry tomato salsa

1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons raw unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar
½ cup olive oil


Cut the tomatoes in half and put them in a bowl.

Mix in palm sugar, basil and salt and let sit for about half an hour until ingredients are infused.

Arrange the tomatoes on a pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 250F/125C for 2-4 hours to desired consistency.

Transfer dried tomatoes to a sterilized glass jar and cover with remaining premixed ingredients.

Store and keep cool.

Serves 4

Photography by Philip Blankenship.