“Superior” Veggie Burgers

I used to eat a lot of store bought name brand veggie burgers. I had one particular brand that I ate at least once a week. But then I started thinking about the long list of mysterious ingredients on the box. It concerned me so I gave those up pretty quickly.

Since then I have been searching for a recipe for homemade veggie burgers that suits me. Some were OK, but the biggest problem I found with my homemade veggie burgers was the texture. These recipes almost all rely on some combo of beans and grains (Hey perfect for a website such as this) and the result is a texture that tends to be mushy or crumbly. I’ve tried many, many recipes and have not been bowled over by any of them.

Last week I came across the “Superiority Burger” named for the Superiority Burger restaurant in New York City. I found an adapted recipe for their burger in the Washington Post. The recipe is vegan and is based on quinoa and chickpeas and it’s a superior veggie burger with superior texture AND taste.

I like this one! The texture is pretty good. Mine had a bit of a crunch on the outside and were moist and flavorful on the inside. My carnivore husband took a taste and even he thought it was tasty.

The ingredients list is rather long and the recipe takes a while to pull together. I probably worked on these for an hour or more.

Here is a link to the Washington Post Recipe:

Superiority Burgers, Washington Post Adaptation

I’m sure the recipe is great as written but, as is my normal routine… I did make a few small changes:

  1. I didn’t have a lemon on hand so I used a tablespoon of soy sauce.
  2. I used two tablespoons of ground flax seed with 4 tablespoons of water rather than the potato starch as a binder.
  3. Instead of making 8 large patties, I made 15 small patties. I formed my patties with the ring from the lid of a small mouth Mason Jar so that they are fairly uniform. I plan on freezing most of the patties for later use.
  4. I baked my burgers instead of pan frying. That seemed easier for 15 burgers. I baked them at 425 degrees on a parchment paper lined sheet pan for 15 minutes on each side.

And here is a picture of my burger, ready to eat (lots of pickle!)

Gotta say – veggie burgers just aren’t that pretty!

And finally, here is a link to the cookbook, Superiority Burgers by Brooks Headley, which has lots of great vegan sandwich recipes as well as delicious looking sides and desserts!

I Set Out to Conquer Quinoa

I hate to admit it, but I am intimidated by quinoa.

Everyone is talking about quinoa. It’s an ancient grain. It’s a super food. Quinoa has traditionally been the food of the Peruvians and now it is the food of those in the know. Somehow it seems like you need to be kind of groovy to really appreciate and enjoy quinoa. Sadly, I am not groovy!

I have cooked quinoa before. And I have eaten quinoa that others have prepared. But something about having a whole pot of it in my refrigerator made me uncomfortable.

Last week I decided it was time to face my fears and cook up  big batch of quinoa. I had a bag of TruRoots Organic Quinoa. I followed the package directions and cooked one cup of quinoa with two cups of water. I brought that to a boil, reduced the heat and simmered for 15 minutes, then let it sit covered for another 5 minutes, off of the heat.

When it is cooking, quinoa looks as though it is going to be porridge-like. But it’s not. It is very fluffy and the grains are very distinct. It has a kind of an odd odor when it is cooking that doesn’t entirely reflect the way it tastes. I tried not to be turned off by that.

The good news is that I had plenty of it!

I also cooked a pot of garbanzo beans to go along with the quinoa. Garbanzo beans are so versatile. I was certain that they would make a good pairing with the quinoa.

Day One – Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. I had two green peppers that I was planning to stuff. Husband doesn’t really care for stuffed peppers so I was making just enough for myself for two meals. I mixed a heaping cup of quinoa with garbanzo beans, raisins, and feta cheese.  I cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Prior to stuffing them, I put them in a large microwave-safe bowl, and zapped them for a couple of minutes to start the cooking process. I like for my stuffed peppers to be very well cooked..no crispy peppers for me.

I heaped the stuffing into the peppers and then put them in a baking dish that had a healthy layer of marinara in the bottom. I covered that and baked it for 45 minutes. At the end, I uncovered it an baked for another few minutes to let the tops brown.

Stuffed Peppers - Much better than the photo implies!

That was delicious! I would happily make that dish again.

Day Two, Three and Four – Breakfast Quinoa. For breakfast, I heated up a bowl of quinoa in the microwave.  Just heating it in the microwave made that odd odor resurface. Again, I tried not to let that turn me off.

To the warm quinoa I added almonds, raisins and toasted coconut. I put in a little chunk of butter and sweetened it all with agave syrup.  Of course, you could certainly flavor your quinoa in any of the ways you would flavor your oatmeal.

Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast quinoa was OK. It wasn’t offensive but it didn’t set my world on fire.

Day Three – Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. I mixed a heaping cup of quinoa with garbanzo beans, chopped fresh spinach, feta cheese and sun dried tomatoes. I dressed the mixture with olive oil and lots of lemon juice. I like things tart! I served this a room temperature with some little grilled mushroom sliders. But it would be appropriate as a side dish with all kinds of things.

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

The salad was pretty tasty. The quinoa has a fairly mild flavor and here, it was mixed with some fairly strong flavors.

So did I conquer quinoa? Well, I wouldn’t go that far. I think that it tastes fine. The texture doesn’t entirely suit me. It sometimes seems like the little grains are popping in your mouth.

On the upside, quinoa can be cooked in almost any size batch you choose and it cooks up quickly. I did like it in the stuffed peppers. I think that in the future I will cook a smaller pot of quinoa and use it for one or two specific recipes. I am not sure that I need a week’s worth of quinoa.

I’ll keep trying! Perhaps it is an acquired taste.

Beans and Grains – I got some for Christmas!

I have a really terrific family. In their effort to be supportive of my blogging, my Sister and my Husband gave me some some great beans and grains gifts for Christmas. I was really excited about the neat things that they found.

My Sister gave me a gorgeous basket that she got at World Market. She packed it full of wonderful and exotic food gifts that she picked out for me. I love getting food gifts! And Sister is excellent at picking out the most interesting items.

The basket had an Asian theme. So the first grain that I received was soba noodles.

Soba Noodles - good and good for you!

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat. They are lower in carbs and calories than regular pasta. And they have a great nutty flavor. Terrific for a Japanese noodle dish. I’ll be looking for some interesting recipes for my soba noodles. If you can’t find these in your store you can purchase them at Amazon: JFC Buckwheat Noodles

Sister also gave me these two interesting spice packs made especially to season chickpeas and kidney beans. You cook your own pot of beans and then add the spice packet along with a few other simple ingredients.

Spice Packet for Chickpeas

Spice Packet for Kidney Beans

These are made by Arora Creations. I checked out their website. They have all kinds of interesting products. I haven’t ever seen these spice packets in my store. I can’t wait to try them out. I see a big pot of chickpeas in my future!

Husband and I didn’t exchange gifts this year. We are going on a big vacation in January and we are calling that our gift to one another. However, we did do stocking stuffers. He found some interesting ways to get beans and grains into my stocking!

He gave me a bag of Smokey Southwest Chili mix. It has both kidney beans and pinto beans and a spice pack. He got this at World Market I think this will be a winner on Super Bowl Sunday!

Chili for Super Bowl Sunday

He also gave me a bag of Whole Grain Quinoa Blend from Urbane Grains. Again, this is a product I have never seen before. The blend he gave me is Thai Red Curry. According to their website they have lots of other flavor blends to choose from and they have a list of retailers where you can find their product. I may have this for dinner tonight. I was thinking of making a Thai style soup for dinner. This would be a good side dish.

Thai Red Curry Quinoa Blend

Last but not least, Husband gave me the most beautiful cookbook called Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi. This is a vegetarian cookbook.  The recipes sound fantastic and the color photos make me want to run right into the kitchen and start cooking. This book is absolutely incredible.