Tag Archives: burger

Where’s the beet?

9 Feb

Right here, baby! Oh, my goodness, I’m in heaven. I spent much of 2010 tasting veggie burger recipes and creating my own veggie burger recipes…in search of the perfect one. I have finally found it. This is so incredible, I wish I could take full credit for it, but I can’t. This recipe comes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, well-known vegan chef, cookbook author, and my new best friend – although she doesn’t know that!

If you’ve tried the store-bought veggie burgers, you’ve experienced that overly-compressed, flavorless disc whose only purpose is to fill your belly when you’re on the run and Burger King is the only restaurant in sight. Don’t buy those anymore, unless you are traveling and the only food in sight is BK! Make a bunch of these and store them in your freezer for future quick meals.

If you’ve experimented with homemade veggie burger recipes, you’ve enjoyed really good tasting “burgers” more comparable to a crab cake or potato pancake. Though I’ve enjoyed many black bean burgers, chickpea burgers and vegetable-based burgers, nothing compares to this one. Nothing.

It is dense, but not compacted. It has bite. It has flavor. It is not a colorless blob (quite the opposite, actually). And it takes the standard burger toppings as well as any beef burger you’ve tried before. Is it exactly like a beef burger? No. Does it beat the pants off of any veggie burger in existence? Absolutely.

Besides being mouth-wateringly good (is that even a word?!), these were a cinch to put together. The night before we had these, I made teriyaki stir fry for dinner. Since I had to cook rice for that, I cooked extra and put it in the fridge overnight. And since I already had the stove going, I went ahead a threw another pan on and cooked the lentils for this burger recipe. I put those in the fridge overnight, too. To assemble these burgers, it’s a matter of shredding a large beet with the food processor then throwing the rest of the stuff in and pulsing until well-combined. Easy breezy.

I prepared the recipe as written here, but made a few minor changes. And I mean minor. I really think Worcestershire sauce gives foods that “meaty” taste, so I added 1 teaspoon to the recipe. Next time I make them, I may bump it to 1-1/2 teaspoons. I mixed it all up as she explains, but I could not get them to stick together. I don’t know if my rice and lentils were a little drier than hers because I made them in advance, or what, but I mixed in 2 tablespoons of Veganaise and it came together perfectly. From the recipe, I made six burgers, each about 4 ounces. After I made all the patties, I sprinkled McCormick’s Reduced Sodium Grill Seasoning on them. That’s it for changes.

Isa cooks hers in a pan on the stove, but I grilled mine. Jason and the kids were all having beef burgers (from the locally-raised, pastured cow we bought last fall), so I decided to grill the veggie burger. I cooked one for me and an extra one for them to taste. (The other four were wrapped separately then put in a freezer bag in the freezer, uncooked.) Before grilling, I brushed both sides of the burgers with a little canola oil. I wasn’t sure if they would stick to the grill grates, so I used my Weber grill pan that I normally use for vegetables. It worked perfectly. They came out nicely browned on the outside. I melted a slice of vegan cheese on it, slid it onto a whole wheat bun, then piled it with all the usual burger toppings – mayo, catsup, mustard, onion, pickles, lettuce and tomato.

One bite and I was smiling. Oh, man. Fantastic.

Madison and Jason liked it (Jason ended up eating half of the extra burger after his beef burger). Logan is sick so he didn’t even eat dinner last night. Brady didn’t try it because of the color. He thought it looked like raspberries! I will admit, before you cook them, the color looks very much like raw beef. After you cook them, the color is only slightly darker. The outside gets a nice brown “crust” but the inside stays dark red. I mentioned this to my mom this morning and she had a brilliant solution – use yellow beets instead of the usual red. I’m adding yellow beets to the seed list for this year’s garden!

Here are some photos of the world’s best veggie burger. Thank you, Isa!

The mixture heading into the fridge.

My 2 beet burgers ready for the grill with the family’s 4 beef burgers.

The wonderful, piled high burger I savored through dinner!

A Delicious Memorial Day Weekend!

2 Jun

Well, things got a bit crazy around here and I just noticed how long it's been since I posted anything. We have been trying to finish our new screen room forever and we put a major push on the project this past weekend. It's so close to done, I can almost taste it.

I also (finally) started getting my landscaping in shape for the summer. With Brady's 9th birthday party this weekend, it was time!

But, despite all the hard work, we managed to enjoy a few wonderful new meals that I want to share. 
Friday night is usually reserved for Mexican food — tacos, taco pasta and enchiladas are our favorites. But, I was saving the last package of beef from our farmer for Sunday's dinner with my in-laws, so I got online to search for a bean burrito recipe. I came across one that received high reviews – Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos!
I know what you're thinking — sweet potatoes in a burrito?! I wasn't too confident either, but nearly 1,000 people reviewed it and gave it rave reviews so I went with it. I'm so glad I did. Everyone loved them and told me to make sure to make them again soon.
I only made two small changes — I left out the cayenne pepper and I added one teaspoon of cumin to the mashed sweet potatoes. Also, I left the cheese off of mine, but used it in Jason's and for the kids. I topped mine with homemade vegan sour cream, tomatoes and onions. It was fantastic. Jason topped his with everything in sight — lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, cheese and Ortega taco sauce (he's addicted to it for some reason). 
Here are pics of the assembly. For each burrito, use about 1/3 cup of the sweet potatoes on the bottom, then 1/2 cup of the bean mixture and top with cheese (if using). Fold in the left and right sides and then roll up. Place seam down on your baking sheet. I brushed mine with a little oil so they would crisp up a bit in the oven.
Saturday night's dinner was pretty simple. Vegan brats from the freezer, oven fries, steamed green beans, and a big fruit salad.
On Sunday, Jason's mom and dad came over to help with the screen room. (Well, actually, my mother-in-law and I ditched them and went shopping for flowers for the yard!) For dinner, I made everyone beef burgers on the grill, Wild Rice & Orzo Salad (recipe on March 5th post) and grilled corn on the cob. My mother-in-law brought a big bowl of sweet, fresh berries. For myself, I made another new veggie burger recipe. I'm still trying to find the ultimate burger to replace beef. This one is the closest I've gotten. Thought not as firm as a beef burger, the flavors were phenomenal and I will definitely be making them again. These beat the pants off any store-bought veggie burger. 
I started with a recipe I found online. I put it all together and then took about a tablespoon of it and sauteed it in a pan so I could taste it before making all of it into patties. It needed serious help, so I began doctoring. Then I sauteed another small chunk. Still needed work. Doctored some more and then made it into patties. Though it was delicious topped with your usual burger toppings, I think next time I'll put avocado slices on it. It just seems like the perfect addition.
I cooked it on an oiled piece of foil on the grill when I grilled all the beef burgers. It worked very well. You don't want to make the burgers too thick. A thinner burger will come out sturdier. Oh, and these are not vegan — they contain egg whites. You can try using an egg substitute to make them vegan, but I haven't had much luck with any veggie burger that didn't contain an egg to bind it all together. I used fresh eggs from our farmer.
BLACK BEAN BURGERS
makes 4 burgers
1/2 of a green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 to 2 egg whites
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon grill seasoning
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (vegan, if available)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 (16 oz) can black beans, drained, rinsed and drained well again
In a food processor, finely chop the green pepper, onions and garlic. Place on a clean, smooth dishtowel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Place mixture back into the food processor. Add 1 egg white, chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, grill seasoning, paprika and Worcestershire sauce to food processor. Pulse to mix a little. Add bread crumbs and blend well. Add black beans and pulse several times to blend the ingredients, but don't completely puree the black beans. The mixture should be sticky and hold together. Add another egg if too dry. Add more bread crumbs if too moist to hold together.
Divide mixture into 4 patties. Grill until firm and browned, about 8 minutes per side. Top with all your favorites and enjoy!
Last night, we were exhausted from our weekend of hard work, plus we hadn't done anything fun with the kids, so we took them to Ruby Tuesday for dinner. Let's just say, we were about the only ones dining in a restaurant on Memorial Day! We let them order fun, flavored lemonades and fancy drinks and they ordered their favorites for dinner. It was nice to relax and a great way to end the weekend.
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Five thumbs up!

18 May

I'm on a mission to find the ultimate veggie burger before summer grilling season is here in full swing. I like all kinds of veggie burgers, but I want one I can put on the grill and I want it to give me the same satisfaction as a big, juicy burger. The packaged veggie burgers in the grocery store are over-processed and loaded with sodium…and definitely unappealing in looks and texture!

Last night I made Pecan & Mushroom Burgers from Eating Well magazine. Though they were not grillable (I tried) and they do not mimic the taste of a beef burger, these were outstanding! Very moist, flavorful and really good for the blood pressure. Each burger has 241 mg of potassium and just 282 mg of sodium. 
We put them on kaiser rolls and piled them with all the traditional burger toppings. The kids raved about them. Seriously — how awesome is it when your 5 year old says, "Mom, I LOVE this cheeseburger…especially with the lettuce on it!" Makes me happy.
I served them with (vegan) buttered noodles and fresh strawberries and raspberries on the side. The meal got 5 thumbs up and I dined with smiling faces. 
By the way, the actual recipe calls for one egg, which makes them vegetarian but not vegan. I debated trying to make them with egg replacer, but decided that one egg in a recipe that makes 8 burgers was not worth making a big deal out of. Especially since I used an egg from the dozen we bought at the local farm where the chickens live happy lives.
No, these aren't the ultimate replacement for a beef burger on the grill. But they make for a delicious vegetarian meal. I'm sure this is one we'll make again. You can find the recipe here: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/pecan_mushroom_burgers.html
Enjoy!
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The dreaded “E” word.

14 Feb

As you can see by my earlier posts, I'm no longer following Whitaker's Quick Start Hypertension Diet. I followed it religiously for about 2 weeks, getting my sky-high blood pressure down to the 150/100 range. I have a long way to go, but it's at a much safer level than where it was. After 2 weeks of just brown rice, veggies and fruit, I added olive oil back in. After another week, I decided to follow a strict vegan diet, which allowed me to add in nuts, beans and soy products. 

I'm doing really well on the vegan diet. I love it. I haven't swayed once. I do not have a desire to eat meat or dairy. I'm not craving anything. I borrowed about 10 vegan cookbooks from my library and now have a huge selection of recipes to cook from. My family is doing fine with this because they're eating all the yummy veggies and rice dishes that I'm enjoying, plus they're eating grilled free-range organic chicken, lean organic beef, and fish while I substitute meat with either tofu or homemade veggie burgers (tasty recipe below).
Unfortunately, my blood pressure has hung pretty steady in the 150/100 range for the last 2 weeks. So why isn't it dropping with this healthy, plant-based diet and all my vitamins?
One word. 
EXERCISE.
I have to admit that I've not been a good girl when it comes to exercise. I was doing really well in January — walking or doing my Biggest Loser Boot Camp DVD about 5 times a week. But lately it seems my free time has disappeared. And when I get a spare half hour or so, there's always something relaxing that I'd rather be doing. So I need some motivation. SOMEONE SEND ME SOME MOTIVATION! Otherwise, I may have to go back to the Quick Start Diet of rice, vegs and fruit. No thanks. I'm too happy loving new vegan dishes like these burgers.

GRILLED BLACK BEAN BURGERS
makes 6 burgers
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (whole wheat, if you can find them)
1/4 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried organo
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup silken tofu, whisked until smooth
Grill seasoning to taste (I like McCormick's, although it has salt in it)
Optional:
add a dash of vegan Worcestershire sauce if you're going for a traditional burger taste
add minced fresh cilantro and a dash of chili powder for a southwestern taste
Preheat well-oiled grill. Partially mash the beans in a mixing bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well, using your hands, if necessary. Divide into 6 equal portions. Mold each portion into a well-packed ball and then flatten into burger-size patties. (Ungrilled burgers can be wrapped tightly and frozen for future meals.)
Grill burgers about 5 minutes on each side. 
Sorry there's no picture. I was so excited to eat it when it came off the grill, I totally forgot to get a pic. I ate mine on a 100% whole wheat bun topped with Nayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato and onion. It was fabulous. Or try topping one with salsa, guacamole, lettuce, tomato and onion for a southwestern-style burger. Enjoy!
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