Saturday, September 21, 2013

Burger Night!

Smoky Quinoa Black Bean Burgers and Baked Sweet Potato Fries


Burgers!!! I've been promising Andrew black bean burgers for just about a month now, and oh how patiently he's waited. Until tonight. Tonight, burgers were my mission. And I think it's safe to say that success was had. And devoured...

These flavor packed little burgers really hit the spot. The combination of ketchup and liquid smoke within the burger itself created a mild, sweet BBQ flavor that really compliments the black beans. The exterior gets nice and crispy in the oven and the pureed beans remain soft inside while retaining a good bit of texture. And what better to go with black bean burgers than sweet potato fries?

The fries are crispy and sweet and so healthy! Baked and not fried, with only 1/2 tsp of oil.

This recipe makes quite a few burgers, so I baked all of these up, then froze the leftovers (place a piece of parchment paper in between burgers and store in a ziplock bag). I expect they'll last at least a month in the freezer. And the patties are gluten free to boot! Eat them the traditional way on a bun, in a pita, or on top of a bowl of greens for a nice protein addition to your salad.

Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers

Gluten Free 
Makes 10, 4" burgers

  • 2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 cups cooked black beans, divided (or 2 -15oz cans no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 tsp grapeseed oil (or whatever you have on hand - olive, coconut, etc.)
  • 1 medium red onion, small dice
  • 1 celery stalk, small dice
  • 1 green bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 small zucchini, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp Mrs. Dash Chipotle seasoning (or 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 TBS ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 TBS cornstarch (Non-GMO!)
  • 1 TBS chia seeds, or ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds or raw pumpkin seeds (optional)

Heat the oil in a medium sized saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and zucchini, and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onions are becoming translucent. Add the garlic and salt, cover and continue to cook for another 3 minutes or so, until everything is tender. Allow to cool while you assemble the rest of the ingredients, or slice the sweet potatoes, or drink a cup of tea.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, and either lightly oil a sheet pan or use a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.

In a food processor, place 1/3 of your sauteed veggie mixture, 1 1/2 cups of black beans (or one can), spices, cornstarch, ketchup and liquid smoke. Process until smooth. Add the rest of the black beans, and pulse 2-3 times just to break up the beans. Taste for seasoning, and adjust if needed.

Pureed bean mixture

Preparing to mix everything together

In a large bowl, mix the remaining veggies, bean mixture, quinoa, chia seeds and sunflower seeds (if desired) until combined.

Patty mixture

I like to use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to portion out the patties, so that they're all the same size. Scoop up 1/2 cup of the black bean mixture and use your hands to form a patty, about 1/2" thick and 4" in diameter.


Roughly 4" little circles of delicious.

Place these on your sheet pan, I can usually fit about 6 on one pan. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and very gently flip your burgers over. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until firm and slightly crispy. Top with your favorite burger fixin's and enjoy.







Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Makes about 4 servings 

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, sliced into roughly 1/4" - 1/2" sticks (I like to leave the skin on, but you can peel them if you prefer).
  • 1/2 tsp canola oil (or you can spray your fries with non-stick cooking spray instead)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic (adjust spices to your personal preferences)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

On a baking sheet, spread out the sweet potato fries evenly. Drizzle with the oil, and toss them about a bit to coat. Sprinkle with salt and spices and toss them about again. Spread them out evenly on the pan.

Bake at for 20 minutes, stir, and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve hot from the oven!

Now, you should be able to fit both the fries and the black bean burgers in the oven at the same time - since they both bake at 400 for roughly the same amount of time. However, I have a tiny little oven that barely fits a single pan, so I baked my burgers first, then my fries, and kept my burgers warm wrapped in foil.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Falafel Fantasic!

Baked Falafel 

Gluten Free  

Falafel!!! Not only a fabulous word, but also an amazingly delicious little ball of chickpea goodness. This recipe is my hybrid version of two of my favorite recipes - Vegandad's Crispy Cajun Chickpea Patties and the wonderful falafel recipe from the vegan cookbook staple - Vegan With a Vengeance. I took elements from both of these recipes and mashed them together to create my version of the perfect falafel. It may not be traditional, but it is delicious.

Unlike a lot of falafel recipes, this one is not fried, but baked.  I like to bake these on parchment paper at a high heat in order to achieve a lovely crispy crust on the outside, while leaving the inside nice and creamy. I use VeganDad's technique of sauteing the celery and onion before pureeing it with the chickpeas, because I think this just creates such a nice depth of flavor and really makes the insides moist and tender. I don't use nearly as much fresh parsley as most falafel recipes usually do, simply because I'm not that fond of it. However, if you love it - please add more! I also add chickpea flour in place of regular flour, because not only does that make these gluten free, but it also works both as a binder and adds even more chickpea flavor and creaminess.

Serve these on whole wheat pita bread (not gluten free) with lots of veggies, or on a bed of fresh greens, or on their own with a side of lentil salad or tabouli. I pair these little chickpea patties with a garlicy Lemon Tahini Sauce (recipe follows), which really brings everything together.


  • 3 15oz cans of chickpeas, drained and washed
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil (or olive oil, grapeseed oil - whatever you like, I just like coconut)
  • 2 celery stalks, small dice
  • ½ medium onion, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½-1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 2 TBS chickpea flour (if gluten isn't a concern, you can just use unbleached all purpose or whole wheat flour)
  • 1TBS corn starch (non GMO!)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 TBS)
  • ½ cup parsley roughly chopped
  • Whole wheat pita bread 
  • Sliced tomatoes, kalamata olives, sprouts, spinach, sliced bell peppers, etc. 

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

In a medium saute pan, saute the onion and celery over medium high heat, until the onions begin to caramelize. Add the garlic, and saute for another minute or so, until fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

In a food processor (or blender - this just takes a little more work/side scraping), pulse the chickpeas until the texture resembles very chunky hummus (you still want to see bits of chickpeas). Pour half of the mashed up chickpeas into a large bowl. Now add the sauteed onion and celery, and the rest of the ingredients to the remaining chickpeas and pulse a few times, to mash them, and chop the parsley. Add the onion/celery mixture to the mashed chickpeas, and mix everything together - I usually just use my hands for this part.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. flip over, and bake for another 10 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Lemon Tahini Sauce

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 TBS water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 TBS fresh parsley
  • Salt to tast
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, process until thick and creamy (you can add more water if it's getting too thick). Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary, and drizzle over your falfel. This will keep in a sealed container, in the fridge for about 5-7 days.