It is the end of February in San Francisco and that means we have had a few days of spring weather, causing me to swap my soup ladle for the grill. While I love a good beef patty, there is something about the taste of a nutty veggie burger. So I decided to try my hand at turning red and gold beets, some carrots, and a spattering of pumpkin seeds into a sturdy slider. With the help of cumin, a pinch of cayenne, black pepper, and my secret spice (curry powder), the beets take on a woodsy sweetness that leaves you begging for more. And an added bonus: the avocado and ricotta spread along with a thin slice of orange makes this snappy starter as elegant as it is simple. I would suggest serving the beet patties on small dinner rolls or as an open faced sandwich using round cuts of corn bread. Chow on! —Sodium Girl
12 mini sliders
medium sized beets (I used one red and one golden)
cloves of garlic
orange, thinly sliced into rounds with outer rind and seeds removed
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic to the pan and saute until transparent.
If you have a food processor: Wash beets and carrots and remove the stems and root. Roughly chop the bodies into half inch pieces and put in the food processor with the pumpkin seeds. Pulse until finely chopped.
If you do not have a food processor: Wash beets and carrots and the remove stems and root. Grate the beets and carrots and crush the pumpkin seeds using a meat tenderizer or the back of a frying pan.
Add the eggs and the cayenne, cumin, curry, and black pepper to the beet, carrot, and pumpkin seeds and mix with a spoon until combined.
Form palm size patties with your hand and place on a greased oven sheet. Cook the beets for 25 minutes until firm, but not dry.
While the beet patties cook, mix the avocado, ricotta cheese, and dash of champagne vinegar in a small bowl. I used a fork to combine the ingredients together. The texture should remain thick.
Assemble the sliders by putting a layer of the avocado ricotta cheese on the bottom bun or round piece of corn bread. Then lay down a thin slice of orange. Finally, top with one of the beet patties. Either cover with the top bun or add an extra dollop of ricotta cheese.
In January of 2004, I received a diagnosis that changed my life. I was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease that in my case attacked my kidneys and brain. Due to the intensity of the initial “flare up” of the disease, I became renal insufficient and eventually faced kidney failure. Amazingly, through great medicine, wonderful family and friends, and an enormous amount of support, I became stronger and healthier and miraculously, my kidneys partially regenerated. I no longer depend on dialysis and by regulating my diet, I depend on fewer medications. Five years later, I work part time and live a full and utterly enjoyable life. My dietary restrictions have transformed into a real passion for food and I hope to be able to pass along my favorite finds to others facing similar dietary challenges. Be creative, be friendly, and be full!