“Variety is the spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavor” - William Cowper.
This quote always seemed cliche to me, until I became a victim of boredom due to my routines and habits in dining. It’s very easy to get caught up in a routine after all, we are all creatures of habit. Well, it’s time we switch things up a bit and add a bit of spice, wouldn’t you agree? So, let’s start by switching up our weekly menu and go with a Meatless Monday! I know, I know, you’re saying, Dee-Dee, what on EARTH is a meal without meat? And to that question I say, it’s a meal free of cholesterol; it’s a meal your heart will love, and a meal that could help boost your overall health.
Before I became vegan, burgers were probably among my favorite go-to meals. The challenge I ran into was finding something quick and easy I could turn to that reminded me of a burger. Most of the veggie burgers I had tried were either too dry, void of flavor, or full of soy and other things I just did not want to put in my body. This forced me to come up with my own recipe for burgers, so I will share with you :).
Now before I share, let’s talk about the pink elephant in the room, PROTEIN! The most frequently asked question I get is, “Where do you get your protein from?” It’s a fair question since we have been taught that protein sources are meat, dairy, eggs, and other forms of animal products. The truth is, everything that grows from the ground contains protein. In fact, pound for pound, broccoli has almost as much protein than beef. Other high protein vegetables include spinach, asparagus, peas, sprouts, artichokes, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, kale and corn. Other excellent sources of protein include all nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes.
Understanding that life can be extremely busy, I have decided to include a few quick and easy fixes for you to enjoy. As a vegan, I’ve learned lots of shortcuts in life. Being a naturopath requires a lot of hours on the clock because the conditions I generally help people work through are chronic, and can require lots of time to help educate them on how to make better lifestyle choices.
Now, back to that burger. I have found that the key to any food is flavor. After all, few of us are very likely to eat food that is not pleasing to our palettes, so I include lots of spices to make things interesting and tasty. A couple of shortcuts to consider it to use canned beans. You can roast your beets as your rice cooks, and you can use your food processor to do your dicing. Here’s a very simple black bean burger that I call the Smoke House Burger. It, along with over 100 other recipes can be found in my cookbook Modern Vegan Cuisine. This burger is packed with protein fiber, iron, and many other vital nutrients to optimal health. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
2 cups cooked black beans, drained 2 cups cooked brown rice 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 small beet, roasted and diced 1/3 cup red onion, minced 8 dried figs, chopped 5 dried prunes, chopped 1 tbsp sweet hoisin sauce (recipe to follow) 1 tsp chili powder 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp Himalayan sea salt 1/2 tsp black pepper 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced 1/3 cup oat flour 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided 3 tbsp bbq sauce
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix until well combined
Take half the mixture and place in a food processor and process until it breaks down into a fairly smooth mixture
Return mixture to bowl and stir until combined
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in pan
Scoop 1/2 cup black bean mixture with a large ice cream scoop and place in skillet. Flatten out ball with spatula and pan fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side and dress with glaze
Serve on toasted bun
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp agave
2 tbsp robust molases
2 tbsp organic soy sauce or tamari
Place all ingredients into a small mixing bowl and whisk until fully combined.