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Meatless oat burger makes part-skim ricotta cheese the star

By Melissa díArabian, Associated Press
This Oct. 2, 2017 photo shows a meatless cheesy oat burger in Bethesda, Md. Part-skim ricotta cheese is the star of a tasty meatless burger patty that looks almost like a turkey burger, but tastes more like an Italian-inspired fried cheese appetizer. (Melissa D'Arabian via AP) MDRP201

As much as I love a juicy beef burger, Iíve become a little obsessed with creating veggie burgers that step in and satisfy without any meat.

Usual standby ingredients include nuts, seeds, lentils, mushrooms, tofu and, of course, the ubiquitous black bean. Often, Iím aiming for texture and heft and umami. If Iím honest, Iím looking for a swap to fool my palate into thinking Iíve just had meat. Thatís not a bad goal, but todayís recipe goes a whole different direction. And that direction is cheese. Yep, I made a burger whose main ingredient is cheese, and my whole family rejoiced.

Part-skim ricotta cheese is the star of this tasty patty that looks almost like a turkey burger, but tastes more like an Italian-inspired fried cheese appetizer. Using part-skim ricotta removes much of the fat and calories of whole-milk ricotta while still keeping the cheese and yum factor in check.

Whole oats give the patty structure (and healthy fiber), and egg white quietly keeps the patty together so that it cooks up sturdier than many bean burgers. (Donít let the sticky raw mixture fool you.)

Minced shallot and garlic, steam-sauteed in a little broth, add moisture and flavor. My family loved these patties topped with tomato slices and fresh basil, but feel free to go the ketchup and mustard route if you need to scratch the classic burger itch.

Food Network star Melissa díArabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."