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JayPo’s Penalty Boxed Lunch: The Garden Burger

Welcome to JayPo’s Penalty Boxed Lunch, where we explore food from around the country! This week’s 25th official entry comes to us from the Beaver State! Yes, that would be Oregon to the un-informed. Does the “Garden” Burger accurately represent the state? Wait until you hear a local’s reaction…

Food History!

The Garden Burger originated in the state of Oregon (so far so good) at a restaurant called the Gardenhouse in the 1980’s. This was simply a veggie patty made from mushrooms, onions, brown rice, rolled oats, cheese, eggs, garlic, and spices. The Garden Burger name and original company is now owned by Kellogg’s under the “Wholesome & Hearty Foods Company” name.

How I Made It!

This does NOT look pretty, but I promise it tasted good. I roasted up some portabella mushrooms, bell peppers, corn and spinach before adding it to an egg, rice and blackbean mixture. Perhaps I needed more binder…or I had too much moisture. The thing fell apart even when I was grilled it up. NEVERTHELESS, don’t sleep on a good homemade veggie burger.

What Does A Local Think? (thanks to Lindsey from Blazer’s Edge)

Do you think the garden burger represents your state accurately?

No, I do not believe the garden burger accurately represents the state of Oregon. While it certainly does recognize that Oregon has a number of vegetarians, I would argue that two products made in our great state have had more sandwich-related impact than the garden burger: Tofurky products, including their tempeh bacon, and Toby’s tofu pate, which makes a fabulous sandwich. 

Additionally, the garden burger ignores the fact that Portland is an amazing city for sandwiches, from Lardo’s myriad excellent choices to Bunk Bar’s famous pork-belly Cubano on to everything at Jojo Food Truck, where the debate rages on which is better: the fried chicken sandwiches, the smashburgers, or the patty melts.

How do you make your sandwich?

My husband is the actual vegetarian among us, and he likes this recipe from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt for Really Awesome Black Bean Burgers. It solves a lot of the issues you had in creating your sandwich: https://www.seriouseats.com/the-best-black-bean-burger-recipe It’s become the family’s go-to recipe.

How did I do?

To be honest, your burger looks terrible. Might I suggest using Beyond Burger next time if you’re not up for making your own black bean patties?

Where do you order your favorite garden burger?

Our local brewpub, Block 15, has a spectacular veggie burger.