Friday, March 22, 2013

Lemon Tahini Dressing with The Camper's Special (aka Bean and Grain Burger)

 I have no idea why this is called a Camper's Special, but I do know it's pretty special and I'm a happy camper when I eat it. It's my favorite thing to order at one of my favorite restaurants, Sammy T.'s, and I've been ordering it for years. What makes it special? Well there's the bean and grain burger smothered with grilled peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. And then there's the Chi-Chi dip (AKA hummus) hiding inside the cheese (mozzarella and cheddar) covered wrap. But really what I love is the Lemon Tahini Dressing that's served on the side. I wish they'd bring it in a vat.

     I looked far and wide for a Lemon Tahini good enough to enjoy with my Camper's Special at home, and made countless batches from countless recipes. None were what I was looking for. But then I had dinner with a dear friend and there it was, hiding in plain sight on her salad- the elusive, delicious Lemon Tahini Dressing.  Just what I needed to go with my homemade Camper's Special.

     Even if you don't have a Camper's Special to eat with it, this Lemon Tahini is fabulous for pouring over your salads or drizzling on your stuffed pita sandwiches or for dunking your veggies. Please excuse me while I go make a vat of it.

Lemon Tahini Dressing
Arthur Gordon, Irregardless Cafe, Raleigh N.C.
1/4 c. tahini
1/4 c. tamari
1/4 c. onion, minced
2 Tbs. green pepper, minced (My dressing looks a little pink in the photo- I used a red pepper)
1  stalk celery, minced
1/3 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 c. light olive or grapeseed oil
2 Tablespoons water (I omit this, because I prefer a thicker dressing)
Blend (or process) the tahini, tamari, onion, bell pepper, and celery. Puree well if you want a smooth texture. Process in lemon juice and white pepper. With motor running, add oil and then enough water to get desired consistency. I prefer it a little on the thick side but that's just a matter of taste.

Camper's Special Top your Bean and Grain Burger (recipe follows) with hummus, sauteed onions, green pepper, tomato and mushrooms. Wrap it in a grilled flour tortilla and top it with mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Heat at 350F until cheese is melted. Serve warm with lemon tahini dressing. Yum.

Bean and Grain Burgers
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1tablespoon olive oil
1 (19 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and ground or coarsely chopped
3 slices whole wheat bread, blended in food processor
1/4 cup sesame tahini
1/4 cup tamari or low sodium soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/3 cup raw wheat germ

Gently saute onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are slightly browned. Mix onions together with remainder of ingredients EXCEPT the wheat germ. Form mixture into 8-10 patties. Coat each patty in raw wheat germ and grill on a non-stick surface until heated through and gently browned.


  1. This looks good and the dressing sounds delicious! I'm off to print out that almond-cherry coffee cake recipe which somehow slipped by me when you posted.


  2. Wow. This looks interesting and delicious. And such a creative way to make a wrap!

  3. hubs would not eat. me, i love it all.

  4. I can guess why it's called a camper's special. Everything can be prepped and ready for the campfire. Beans in the can and rice can be prepped and ready to go with the rest of the ingredients. This sounds delicious as does the dressing.

    I've been looking for a great bean burger. Is this it? It sounds easy enough and healthy. Thanks for sharing this and it's also nice to see you back. You haven't been around in a while.

    Thanks for popping over to say hello. Have a great weekend!

  5. This looks so delicious! I love all the different elements and I'm sure together they are so good! I'm glad you're allowing us to recreate it since I can't get to the restaurant!

  6. This looks lovely, and would be perfect for most anything!

  7. I love copycat recipes. Wish I could visit that restaurant. Oh well, the lemon hummus will be perfect for my salad in a jar.

  8. So healthy and delicious! so much better than a ground beef burger!!
    Mary x

  9. i've never heard anything referred to as the camper's special--sounds like fun (except for those pesky mushrooms...). this dressing is lovely, and i'm always interested in new uses for tahini!

  10. This is so funny. I live in Raleigh and first had this dressing 30 years ago at the Irregardless Café. I have loved it ever since but I had almost forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder and your delicious sounding meal!

  11. It sounds good to me regardless of the name. The dressing is a must try!

  12. Mmmmm, this sounds so delicious. I always have bags of chick peas ready to cook. The dressing sounds fantastic.

  13. While reading your post, I was hoping you'd post the Camper's Special as well...and you did. Still smiling about that.
    Don't you love the names people come up with? No wonder you order this all the time. The lemon dressing sounds divine.

  14. Camper's Special? I'm not sure too... Like you, I will be happy camper eating these nice and healthy vegetarian wholesome burger... but don't think my meat-eating husband and son will like these :p


  15. The lemon tahini dressing is definitely on my salad list. Burgers made with bean and grain are delicious and so much healthier.

  16. Camper's Special is a great name for a meal! Your endorsement of the lemon tahini dressing makes me want to put it on the menu this week ;-)

  17. Indeed an interesting name for the meal...the lemon tahini sounds delicious with the bean and grain burger...a very tasty and healthy meal Betty.
    Have a wonderful week :)

  18. This is a very flavourful version of a veggie burger!

  19. What a great meatless burger! The dressing sounds so delicious.

  20. Your tahini dressing sounds delicious, Rita. I'm always looking for something new with lots of flavor and this sounds wonderful to serve with spring greens.

  21. This definitely sounds like a meal I would love through and through! I adore all things bean burgers and tahini-infused :)

  22. New to your blog!! Love the idea of a tahini dressing!! Looking forward to your future posts.

  23. I'm always looking for different ways to increase my iron intake...and your bean derived delight may just be the ticket ;o)

    Happy Easter Betty.

    Ciao for now,

  24. Oh my...I know I'll be a happy camper when I eat this special burger too. That lemon tahini dressing sounds amazing. I can't wait to try it on....well, everything. I think it'll make everything tastes much better too. :) Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to make a vat. of my own.

  25. Wow, the dressing alone sounds amazing, but incorporating it into a delicious wrap is even better!

  26. Oh goodness, this all sounds so delicious! Printing your recipes as I type! Seriously!

    Hope you have a beautiful weekend!

  27. Hi Betty ! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. This is my first visit to yours and I have to tell you, your recipes are amazing! And this burger looks so delicious I will have to try this recipe soon!:)

  28. That is my favorite thing to eat at Sammy T's too! I adore the camper's Special and I also love their chili. Great job!

  29. Mmmm lemon tahini... I feel like this is a very Mediterranean meal and also quite summery...quite glad we will be able to go camping soon!

  30. Hi,
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  31. Hi Betty, it was so nice to hear from you and visit my blog. Glad that I checked out your delicious and healthy Tahini lemon dressing and the chickpea burger. I have a jar of Tahini in my fridge and haven't used it for other than Hummus...been thinking about making a salad dressing with it; yours sounds a lot better than the one I googled earlier. Love the burger recipe, as well!
    Thanks for sharing:)

  32. That burger is right up my fact the entire plateful is. Can't wait to make that dressing!

  33. This dish looks amazing. Adore your blog, it's truly mouth-watering!!

    Follow back if you can :)
    xoxo Chels

  34. Um, yes please! I can see why this a favorite...and why you've been ordering it again and again! Sounds just about perfect. I love tahini too, so I'm sure the dressing would be a big hit! Thank you for sharing!

  35. Thank you Thank You Thank You! I was so so sad to hear that Sammy's is closing after 35 years. When I heard the news today, I immediately felt a loss for the Bean and Grain Burger, but more importantly the Lemon Tahini Dressing! Sam told me years ago you could find some of the recipes in the Moosewood Cookbook, but that they had been modified. I've never been able to recreate it! From one Sammy's girl to another, I truly appreciate you posting this and helping the legacy remain intact. Now I can eat my favorite burger in Nashvegas!


Thanks for stopping by scrambled hen fruit! I appreciate all of your comments and look forward to reading them.

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