I am a big proponent of listening to the body when it comes to finding the right food for the current moment. Because of this, I eat a primarily vegetarian diet. I have found that eating meat on a regular basis does not sit well with my digestive system, and I never have enough room to eat all of the vegetables and whole grains that my body loves and hungers for.
Most often when I cook at home I keep the vegetables in their original form, not wanting to mess around with what nature worked so hard to create! Every once in a while though, it’s fun to do something different. I have been wanting to play around with making some veggie ‘burgers’ for the past couple of weeks, so this weekend I decided to try it out. Since this was only the second time I was experimenting with the task, I followed a recipe I found from a food blog called Cookie and Kate. Here is a link to the original recipe: http://cookieandkate.com/2013/sweet-potato-black-bean-veggie-burgers/
I won’t rewrite the whole recipe here since it is not my own and the link is right up above, but basically you bake a couple of sweet potatoes then remove the peel, cook a small amount of grain (this recipe called for millet, but quinoa is similar option that can be substituted), and mash that all together with some spices, cilantro, red onion, and black beans. Finally, you sprinkle on some ground up oats (acts like a flour) and stir until everything sticks together. The patties FOR SURE are easier to work with if they have some time in the fridge to stick together. The final step is to pan-fry the patties for a couple of minutes per side, aiming for a light browning and crisping. I used coconut oil for this recipe and it didn’t seem to affect the flavor much.
The process is more time-consuming than meals I typically make, especially given all the steps that require cool-down time, but I was able to freeze half a dozen patties for future meals. Definitely worth it. As a huge fan of sweet potatoes, I thoroughly enjoyed the final product. In retrospect, I think I would have added some finely diced jalapeño to give the patties a fresh tasting kick. I did not use as much oil as recommended for the first couple of rounds of pan-frying because I was worried they would turn out too greasy. After increasing the amount for the final batch, I can say it was probably worth it. The increased amount of oil gave the final product a nice crunch on the outside to balance out the incredibly smooth interior.
To add in some more veggies, I prepared a simple side salad. I had some beets to finish up, so I decided on a beet, green apple, goat cheese combination. After scrubbing and trimming the roots and stems off of the beets, I brought them to a boil, just covered with water. The beets simmered for about 25 minutes until a fork pierced the skin easily, then I drained off the water and set the beets aside to cool down. After they were cool enough to handle, the skin peeled off easily and I diced them into easy-to-eat pieces. I cut a quarter of a green apple into matchstick slices, added some diced beets and goat cheese, and topped it with homemade raspberry vinaigrette. The dressing mixed with the beets turned the whole salad a beautiful pink (one of my favorite parts of having beets in a recipe!!). I made just enough raspberry vinaigrette for about 5 servings of salad, because I don’t like for it to go to waste. For a small portion, just mix 1/8 cup raspberry wine vinegar, 1/8 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp mustard, and sweetener to taste (I used agave nectar, but maple syrup or plain sugar can be used as well) in a small jar. Cover the jar with a lid and shake! Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a few days. The mustard acts as an emulsifier, breaking up the oil droplets and helping the oil and vinegar combine more easily.
Sending out a special thanks to my husband for forming the patties and taking most of the pictures, and to our cats; Penny for being a trouble maker and Jillyboo for staying out of the way and being crazy cute. Let me know if you try out the recipe too, or have had any experiences making veggie burgers at home! I will keep experimenting on my own now to see what kind of combinations I can come up with. I am thinking a curry-chickpea burger sounds like a good next step…stay tuned.