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Black Bean Burgers
11

Black Bean Burgers

Thanks to my Aunt Marie’s irresistible cooking, I fell off my meatless mission last weekend.  How could I pass up her homemade Korean spare ribs?  Her baked pork fried rice knocked my socks off during my last visit and since I only see her once a year (she’ll tell you I need to visit more, which is not untrue), I can’t possibly sit there and eat a plate of roasted vegetables, however excellent, feeling like I was missing out on something extraordinary.

Black Bean Burgers

But I got right back on track with continuing to eat meatless for the rest of the month and even though my lunch on Monday was a shameful carb fest, we’ve not been without a bounty of ideas for healthy vegetarian meals.  These black bean burgers was one such meal and it was really something special.  I seriously had these burgers on the menu for weeks before I made them and when I finally got Kyle to agree to eat them, he was just as blown away as I was.  In fact, after I broke up a couple of the burgers during the week and stuffed them inside baked potatoes for lunches, we fought over the last burger.  Full of protein and set atop of some fresh baby spinach on a whole wheat bun, this black bean burger is a meal in itself but I think they would also be spectacular with some oven fries, zucchini fries, or a toss salad on the side.

And since January is slowly dwindling to an end the operative question becomes, what will be my first “official” non-meatless meal in February?

Black Bean Burgers

Yield: 6 burgers

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced

Instructions

  1. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Mix the breadcrumbs and 2 teaspoons of the oil in a medium bowl with a fork until the breadcrumbs are evenly coated. Add the breadcrumbs to the skillet and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally at first then more frequently as they begin to brown. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
  2. Add 2 ½ cups of the black beans to a large bowl and lightly mash them with a fork or potato masher until they are almost smooth. In a separate small bowl, beat the eggs, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper together. Stir the egg mixture, bread crumbs, remaining beans, red peppers, cilantro, and shallots into the mashed beans until well-combined. Chill the mixture for 30 minutes.
  3. Once chilled, shape the mixture into 6 patties (about ½ cup each). (At this point the patties can be refrigerated on a plate covered tightly with plastic wrap for 24 hours.) Chill the shaped patties until you’re ready to cook them.
  4. Wipe out the original skillet, add 1 ½ tablespoons of oil and heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Working in two batches, carefully transfer 3 of the patties to the skillet. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, very carefully flipping halfway through (they will be slightly fragile), until both sides of the burgers are nicely browned. Repeat with the second batch of patties. Serve hot.

Source

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http://www.smells-like-home.com/2013/01/black-bean-burgers/

Browned Butter Sweet Potatoes with Maple Sour Cream
6

browned butter sweet potatoes with maple sour cream

In spite of the serious lack of sweet potato recipes on this blog, I actually am a pretty huge fan of them.  I bake them up frequently in the fall and winter to take for lunch or to have as a healthier alternative to a regular white potato with dinner.  And when Thanksgiving rolls around, hold me back from the sweet potato casserole!  So this recipe, while pretty basic, is also right up my alley.

browned butter sweet potatoes with maple sour cream

There’s nothing complicated about it – you just bake a few sweet potatoes, overcook brown some butter, and mix a little maple syrup into sour cream.  With a little nuttiness from the browned butter alongside the sweet and tangy maple sour cream, you’ve got the makings of quite the perfect cool weather side dish.  Or lunch served with a little salad or bowl of soup, perhaps?

Browned Butter Sweet Potatoes with Maple Sour Cream

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 3 tbsp salted butter
  • ½ cup sour cream (light works fine)
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Poke each sweet potato several times with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until soft and cooked through, 50-60 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven to cool for a few minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together sour cream and maple syrup; set aside.
  3. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until brown bits start to form on the bottom of the pan and the butter turns golden brown in color, about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on the butter - it can burn quickly.
  4. Slice the sweet potatoes open lengthwise and lightly mash up the potato inside the skin with a fork. Divide the browned butter between the potatoes and dollop the top of each with some of the maple sour cream. Serve hot.

Source

maple sour cream adapted from Everyday Food

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http://www.smells-like-home.com/2012/09/browned-butter-sweet-potatoes-with-maple-sour-cream/

The Ultimate Veggie Burger
3

The Ultimate Veggie Burger

Sometime around 1999, I tried a veggie burger for the first time.  It was frozen, from the grocery store, and not as horrific as my little brother proclaimed it was.  Actually, I kind of liked it but then proceeded not to eat another one ever again.  And for no specific reason, just that beef [or chicken or turkey] burgers made more sense to me.  Flash forward to 2012 where about 50% of our meals each week are vegetarian.  This time, I have specific reasons: increasing the number of [oftentimes] lower caloric and nutrient-rich veggie-packed meals we eat, lowering our carbon footprint, saving a few bucks on meat that seems to be ever-so expensive these days, and do I even have to mention pink slime?  (Whole Foods in Danbury, CT, please hurry up and get built!!!)

IMG_0594

For at least a year now, I’ve been wanting to make veggie burgers at home and I’m so, so glad I finally did because I totally fell in love with them.  Earthy and deeply, almost roasted flavored from sautéed vegetables and mushrooms, these burgers are a meal by themselves.  Primarily held together by a mixture of lentils, black beans, bulger, and panko breadcrumbs, the texture is decent – definitely not cardboard-esque like those which hail from the freezer section but more like that of a crab cake: light, soft, and a little messy (though not messy to cook, just a little messy to eat).  Grilled or pan-fried, served atop some homemade buns with your choice of toppings and a little garlic aioli, and you’ve got yourself a hearty and completely satisfying meatless burger.  The only downfall to this recipe is that it isn’t a quick one.  I felt like I used every pan and bowl in my kitchen that night last week and from start to finish, these burgers took me about an hour to make.  The good thing is that the recipe yields 12 large burgers (there’s no harm in even making them a little smaller) and you can freeze the uncooked remaining veggie burger patties.  For this I’m ecstatic because now I’ve got an instant and fabulous dinner ready for when we’re ready to fire up our new grill!