Gourmet Beef and Veggie Burger (and variations)

1 pound ground beef (no more than 10% fat (90/10))
1/3 cup rolled or quick oats
1 egg
2 cups crimini (marketed as “baby bellas”) or portabella mushrooms
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup fresh, chopped cilantro  (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
1/3 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/3 cup chopped green onion
salt and pepper to taste

Dice the mushrooms fairly small, mince the garlic and sauté in the olive oil until the mushrooms just soften (about 1/3 cooked).  Allow to cool slightly.  Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.  Form hamburger patties and grill, broil or brown in skillet. 

A great variation is to substitute diced eggplant for the mushrooms (or use 1 cup of each).  Use basil, oregano or marjoram, and sweet, smoky paprika.  For the cilantro, add chopped or sliced ripe olives and you have a Greek burger.  Like the mushrooms, eggplant will require a partial sauté.

Another variation is to substitute 1 to 1-1/2 cup smashed black beans for the mushrooms.  They require no prior cooking and will save a bit of time and effort.  Add 1-2 teaspoons cumin and your choice ground red pepper (Aleppo is excellent) You can also add seeded, chopped jalapeno or chili peppers.