Memorial weekend is the kick off to Summer fun! That means BBQ’s, backyard pool parties and picnics in the park. Where does a plant based diet fit into this American tradition where meals are usually planned around big platters of meat? Have no fear – I got you covered. This new to me recipe for a hearty – yes – hearty (even hubby Tom said that, so it’s got to be true) veggie burger will fill the bill for whatever festivities you have planned.
So many veggie burgers have a Mexican/Southwest flavor so this is a fun departure with thyme, fennel, Dijon mustard and garlic. If you have to dust off your container of dried fennel – uh – like I did – it just might be time to toss it and get a new container. I had fennel seeds so I ground them up and they worked just fine. Note to self – it’s time to go through my spice rack and toss a few outdated containers.
This was hubby Tom’s burger on a sprouted Alvarado St Bakery bun. All of our favorite burger toppings work with this one, lettuce, pickles, mustard, ketchup, onion and tomato. Holy yum! This is a winner. I found this amazing recipe over at Healthy Girl’s Kitchen. She wrote about how this is a copy cat attempt at a famous burger from NorthStar Cafe in Columbus Ohio. Be sure to go over and check out her blog – the photos are amazing and she has a ton of healthy plant based recipes that will keep you busy in the kitchen for weeks to come.
I opted for a half of a California Lavash Whole Grain flat bread smeared with hummus and topped with a slice of red onion and plenty of organic baby greens. Love it! I also like veggie burgers stuffed into half a whole wheat pita bread or on top of big bed of baby greens – no bun required.
Beet Lentil Brown Rice Burgers
- 1 1/3 cups cooked beets (1 package Trader Joe’s cooked beets, you could also use shredded raw beets)
- 2 1/2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (1 package Trader Joe’s cooked lentils)
- 2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (about 1.5 bags of Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice)
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt – optional
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp ground fennel
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp onion powder, or 3 Tbsp minced onions
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder, or 2 garlic cloves, minced
In a food processor fitted with the “s” blade, place cooked (or raw) beets. Pulse beets until they are roughly chopped.
Add lentils and rice. Pulse until the mixture resembles ground meat. (My food processor is small and old so I had to do this in two separate batches.)
Transfer beet, lentil, rice mixture to a large bowl. Add pepper, salt, thyme, fennel, mustard, onion powder (or onion) and garlic powder (or garlic). Mix, until all ingredients are well incorporated. Form into 8 patties and refrigerate for one hour or longer.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, spray with non stick spray and cook until a crust develops and burger is heated through, turning once during cooking, about 12 minutes total.
Uncooked burgers keep well in the refrigerator for four days. Cook right before serving.
Recipe from Healthy Girl’s Kitchen blog.
You have the burger so do you need some baked beans to go with it? I thought so and this one is sure to please a crowd.
I found this recipe a while back over on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen blog. I made a double batch to take to a dinner and it traveled well, was super filling and satisfying. With the use of an apple and liquid smoke you think there is apple smoked bacon in this recipe. How brilliant is that? Be sure to check out all the fantastic recipes on Susan’s blog. She has a lot of Indian recipes that I have bookmarked to try. Yum!
Smoky Apple Baked Beans
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 1 large red or green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large apple, chopped
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 15-ounce can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 3 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (see note)
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke or smoked salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and minced garlic to the pan and sauté for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apple and cook for another minute. Add the beans and remove from heat.
Combine tomato sauce and all remaining ingredients in blender. Blend at high speed until the dates are completely smooth. Pour this sauce into the onion and beans, and stir well. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch non-metal, lightly-oiled baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.
If medjool dates are not available, you can use 2 ounces (about 1/4 cup packed) of any pitted dates. Or substitute 1/4 cup of any sugar or syrup.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s) | Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 7 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6 as a main dish, 8 as a side
Nutrition (per 1/6th of recipe): 336 calories, 16 calories from fat, 1.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 662.1mg sodium, 975.3mg potassium, 67.8g carbohydrates, 15.3g fiber, 16.7g sugar, 15.7g protein. Sodium drops to 327mg with use of unsalted beans.
Baked Beans Recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.
Chocolate Banana Soft Serve with chopped almonds, cacao nibs and raspberries. OMG! This stuff is amazing and if you haven’t tried banana soft serve yet, let today be the day. I use to make it with a little yogurt added in but since I have given up dairy I have discovered it really doesn’t need it. First you have to freeze some ripe bananas so go check your fruit bowl and if you have ripe bananas in there peel them, slice them and toss them into a freezer bag. Freeze until firm – several hours. If you have a high powered blender it works well for this job. If not don’t despair, I have found my food processor does a decent job too but you might need to add a splash of almond milk to help it blend.
We often times find ourselves at the end of the day 200-300 calories shy of our daily goal and if we aren’t too full from our dinner we might enjoy a dish of banana soft serve with a 1/4 ounce of chopped nuts, a teaspoon of cacao nibs and a few berries. This is an amazing healthy dessert.
Chocolate Banana Soft Serve
- 3 super ripe bananas that have been peeled, sliced and frozen.
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- *Sweetener – optional
Optional Toppings; fruit, chopped nuts, cacao nibs and coconut
*If your bananas are super ripe you won’t need any sweetener – I like to let my bananas get overly ripe so they are super sweet and then freeze them.
Toss everything into a high powered blender or the work bowl of a food processor – process until smooth and creamy. It will be like soft serve.
Per Servings; 165 Calories, 49 Carbohydrates, 1 g Fat, 3g Protein, 3g Fiber 0g Cholesterol
Like the rest of the world I have watched the news and cried for all the people affected by the horrific tornadoes. It’s heart breaking and makes you feel so sad. Then you feel even more grateful for your family and the fact that you have a home and clothes to wear. It’s difficult to wrap your mind around such devastation.
We are working at getting enough calories into hubby Tom daily so he stops losing weight. Nice problem to have right? I will never experience that personally. Men and women are not created equal when it comes to weight loss! I on the other hand have just 4 more pounds to my goal weight – happy, happy!
Flexitarian Food Plan/Plant Strong Diet
Although we have the flexibility to have a little (10%) animal based products in our food plan we have been choosing to eat all plant based meals and loving it. No seriously, we love the food we eat. Hubby Tom asked me the other day if we are just on the honeymoon phase of this food plan – what happens down the road – will we tire of eating this way? The truth is we will just have to stay on the journey to find out.
For me variety is key to any food plan. We are creating a new list of favorite meals. Every week I am trying new recipes, new foods and we are enjoying the adventure. It does however take a lot of time in the kitchen when you are making almost everything from scratch. I try to double recipes and freeze things ahead. We now have a nice variety of home made frozen soups and made from scratch veggie burgers in the freezer ready to heat and eat.
It takes a while to figure out a plant based menu when you are so used to planning meals around a source of meat. Like all things in life now that I have gotten more use to it the task is less daunting. Since most of what we eat is fresh produce I do find myself grocery shopping more often to restock the refrigerator.
Things We Have Noticed/Learned
- I rarely add any salt to the food I cook, nor do we salt our food at the table and we are now quite sensitive to the taste of salt.
- We don’t feel too full or tired after eating a plant based meal.
- Vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains are easy on the food budget.
- Bulk bins are a good buy.
- We get plenty of protein from greens and lentils/ beans.
- All the food we eat seems to be abundant in flavor like we have never experienced before.
- We don’t feel deprived as the food is so delicious and there is so much variety.
- We don’t have cravings for any of the foods we no longer include in our food plan.
- Sleeping better.
- Fresher breath.
- Hubby Tom has even better blood pressure.
- More energy – now this could be a side affect off weight loss – either way it’s derived from a healthy diet.
- A fiber rich diet keeps the plumbing working quite well.
- We are very adaptable!
Happy Healthy Eating!
I’m glad you are here and welcome your comments and questions.
What are your holiday weekend plans?
We are staying home and taking it easy this weekend. My newest cookbook just arrived moments ago – My Beef With Meat, The Healthiest Argument For Eating a Plant Strong Diet by Rip Esselstyn. The recipes have been getting rave reviews from other bloggers so I am anxious to try them!