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Superiority Burgers

Superiority Burgers 8.000

Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian May 21, 2018

This is the namesake dish of the tiny, wildly popular New York City veggie-burger joint. As chef-owner Brooks Headley writes in his new cookbook, "This is not fake, nor is it trying to be."

Serve with your favorite toppings.

To read the accompanying story, see: Finally, you can make a Superiority Burger at home.

8 patties

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8 patties

  • 1 cup dried red quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 medium carrots, scrubbed well and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed for frying
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed, toasted and ground (see NOTES)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked or no-salt-added canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup coarse dried breadcrumbs, such as panko
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and crushed (see NOTES)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot chile sauce
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 8 soft buns, toasted, for serving


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the quinoa, 1 1/2 cups of the water and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until fluffy, 35 to 45 minutes. Uncover, transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

While the quinoa is cooking, spread the diced carrots on a quarter baking sheet; roast (middle rack) until dark around the edges and soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it is translucent and lightly browned at the edges, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the fennel seed, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; cook until the spices are very fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring frequently, until they are very tender. Pour in the vinegar; use a spatula to dislodge any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Use a potato masher or large fork, to coarsely mash the onion-chickpea mixture.

Scrape the onion-chickpea mixture into the bowl with the quinoa. Add the roasted carrots, bread crumbs, walnuts, lemon juice, parsley, Sriracha or other hot chile sauce, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and mix well. Taste, and add more salt, as needed.

Whisk together the potato starch and the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl to form a thick, smooth slurry. Fold that into the burger mixture.

Use a 1/2-cup measure to scoop 8 equal portions. Shape each one into a 3/4-inch-thick disk.

Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil into a large saute pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add as many patties as will fit without overcrowding. Working in batches, pan-fry the patties until browned, about 3 minutes on each side.

To serve, place each patty on a toasted bun.

NOTES: Toast the fennel seeds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid scorching. Cool completely before using. (Same goes for the walnuts, which you will toast separately.)

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Headley's "Superiority Burger Cookbook: The Vegetarian Hamburger Is Now Delicious," (W.W. Norton, June 2018).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per burger: 260

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 14g 22%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 410mg 17%

Total Carbohydrates: 29g 10%

Dietary Fiber: 5g 20%

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 7g

Calories per burger (with potato buns): 390

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 16g 25%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 25mg 8%

Sodium: 610mg 25%

Total Carbohydrates: 54g 18%

Dietary Fiber: 8g 32%

Sugar: 11g

Protein: 13g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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