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Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Mushroom-cheddar vegetarian burgers

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If tonight is anything like Saturday and Sunday this past weekend, it'll be absolutely fantastic for sitting out on the deck/porch/patio/balcony with dinner and a drink.

These burgers provide a hearty meal that's just perfect for a relaxed outdoor setting. The mushrooms bring a heaviness to them that should satisfy any household meatlovers, while the cheddar, onion, carrot and garlic and thyme provide enough kerpow to keep them from being boring.

Add a side salad, steamed veggies or baked sweet potato for a great summer-almost-fall meal.

Mushroom-Cheddar Vegetarian Burgers

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup boiling water

2 slices spelt sandwich bread

8 ounces baby bella mushrooms

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 small onion, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup Bhutanese red rice

6 slices reduced-fat cheddar cheese (about 1 ounce each)

In a small bowl, combine dried mushrooms and boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes until softened. Strain the mushrooms, saving the soaking liquid. Set aside. Finely chop mushrooms.

In a food processor, process bread until finely crumbed; set aside. Using the food processor again, coarsely chop the fresh mushrooms; set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat a tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add fresh chopped mushrooms and reconstituted dried mushrooms along with salt, thyme, black pepper and rice. Turn heat to medium-high and stir for 3 minutes as the mushrooms give up their liquid. Add mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 50 to 55 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed. Stir in bread crumbs.

Transfer mixture to a bowl. Let cool to room temperature or until it is cool enough to handle.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Shape mushroom mixture into six patties. Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side over medium heat until crusty and heated through. Cook in batches if needed so as not to crowd the burgers. Just before serving, top burgers with cheddar cheese.

— Recipe from www.wholefoodsmarket.com

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