Saturday, August 3, 2013

Black Bean Burgers!

I, like most people or anything with taste buds, love burgers. However, yet another thing vegans forgo when pursuing a cleaner healthier lifestyle. Since we made the decision to eliminate (most) animal products from our diet (most of the time), we have found and created countless amazing new recipes and foods and ways of eating! It is not a feeling of 'giving up' food we used to enjoy, in fact it often feels too good to be true to be able to have the same kinds of meals we used to! For example, when we make burgers and fries (;

These are seriously so delicious!

Black Bean Burger
About 3 cups of cooked black beans (~2 cans)
About 1/2 medium sized onion
1-2 cloves of minced garlic
Olive oil
 1 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp barbeque sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup bread crumbs

Now I would like to honestly say that my ketchup and barbeque sauce are always organic and free of refined sugars but in a pinch or when cooking at someone else's house, some things tend to fall by the wayside. Regardless, do what you can! As for the oil, you can use whatever oil you have on hand whether it is grapeseed, olive, or coconut, anything with a high smoke point.

Moving on to the cooking. Chop your onion and garlic and saute it all together until the onion is slightly tender and somewhat translucent. While that's going, you can start throwing some other stuff in your blender or food processor: half of the black beans, ketchup, barbeque sauce, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and paprika. Add in the sauteed onion and garlic and blend until you have a thick pasty consistency. You can keep some (like a quarter) of the onions out and add them later if you are going for that kind of texture.

Plop your goo into a mixing bowl and add the bread crumbs and the rest of the beans. NOTE: before adding your beans, canned or not, be sure they are not too wet or damp from rinsing so if you need to wash them a little ahead of time or lay them on a towel to get them dry, you don't need the extra moisture!

Using a rubber spatula, mix in the rest of the beans, bread crumbs, and onions if you have them, until totally incorporated, now you are ready to start making patties. I get 4 good, full sized patties out of this recipe so feel free to adjust as needed.

At this point, if you are ready to cook them, go right ahead. If you are making them ahead of time, stacking them with pieces of wax paper to separate and storing them in the fridge will actually help them set up little more and hold together when you do cook them. I have not tried freezing them (they never last that long), but I would worry about how they would thaw out post freezing- the freezer tends to break down some things and they may turn to mush :/

Cooking! Pour about an 1/8 of an inch or so of oil in your pan and get it heated, I usually give it a while to warm up on about medium heat. When it is hot enough you are ready to add your patties. Cook them about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they similar to the photo.

 And of course Calloway was my little helper, as in helping eat the majority of an avocado while I cooked.

Luckily we had plenty more because they are our cheese replacement (; Spread a little Vegenaise and maybe ketchup on a whole grain bun, top with avocado and spinach or lettuce of your choice and try not to hork all four down by yourself!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Chinese Chickpea Salad

Happy late 4th of July! I took this salad to this year's 4th of July barbeque and it turned out super good! I love Chinese Chicken salad, but since going vegan (mostly) almost 2 years ago, we have not gotten to enjoy it as much! So I kind of made this up as I went along but it is pretty simple and really cheap and easy!

Chinese Chickpea Salad
1 head of cabbage
1/4-1/2 head of red cabbage
2 good sized carrots
About 3 cups of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
About 3 scallions
1/4-1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4-1/2 cup sunflower seeds

3 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2-1 whole tsp fresh grated ginger
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp chili sauce

This salad is pretty forgiving as far as what and how much you want in it so feel free to substitute or omit to your liking! Also, this salad turns out pretty huge so it's great for parties and it keeps fairly well for a couple days if you want to have it around for a quick lunch or small snack!

Thinly slice or shred the cabbages and wash thoroughly. You're going to want to peel the carrots and the use whatever means you have to get them to 'matchstick' thickness :) I have a snazzy grater that does this really fast but it hasn't resurfaced since the move so I actually chopped these up with a knife, which I don't necessarily recommend because it sucks...buut, do what you gotta do.
 Wash and slice your scallions. And then throw everything together. If you are using canned chickpeas be sure to rinse and thoroughly drain before adding them in. For the dressing, add all of the ingredients together and whisk. My family is a little shy when it comes to ginger so we always go on the light side, however using a full teaspoon won't overpower the dressing. When it comes to the chili sauce, use whatever you like! I generally use a sweet chili sauce because it's what we have, but spicy is good too! I let my sit overnight before pouring it over the salad but I don't always and I never notice a difference so whatever works for you! Not the best picture but this is what your dressing should look like when you're all done.

Toss it all together with some tongs and let it sit and chill for a couple of hours before serving! Enjoy!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gluten Free (Almost Vegan) Oatmeal Pancakes

Gluten Free Oatmeal Pancakes
3 cups gluten free oats
1 cup gluten free flour (all purpose works best but feel free to try whatever you have on hand)
 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp honey, raw sugar, or whatever sweetener you prefer
Pinch of salt
2 cups almond milk
4 tbsp vinegar
2 eggs (or flax eggs)
4 tbsp coconut butter, melted

These pancakes are a spin-off of a recipe my family has been making for a long time now and they are by far the best pancakes I have ever had. But I wanted something a little more baby and vegan friendly. To make these vegan, I would simply substitute the eggs for flax eggs. However, for those of you who don’t know flax is not something men should be eating a lot of as it lowers their testosterone. No, it doesn’t lower it by much, but testosterone decreases with age as it is and it is an important hormone, therefore, I don’t feed it to my husband, and he likes pancakes ;) hence the eggs in this recipe.

 If you want these completely vegan, the first thing you should do is make your flax eggs by adding 3 tbsp water to 1 tbsp fresh ground flax meal (for one ‘egg”), whisking as you go. Then place them in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes (the longer the better) while you mix the rest of the ingredients.

Back to the pancakes! The first thing you want to do is make your ‘buttermilk’ from the almond milk and vinegar. Stir the almond milk and vinegar together and let it thicken while you mix the dry ingredients (about 5+ minutes). From here it is pretty straightforward; throw all the dry ingredients together, and in case you’re wondering a little extra cinnamon never hurt anyone. Add in whatever sweetener you like, then pour in the almond milk and vinegar ‘buttermilk,’ eggs or flax eggs, and then your melted coconut butter. Either using a spatula or hand mixer, mix it up. I use about a 1/4 – 1/3 measuring cup to pour my pancakes dollops on the pan, but whatever works for you! This makes about 7-10 pancakes depending on the size. Serve with fresh strawberries or raw maple syrup for a delicious and healthy breakfast!

Black Bean Lettuce Wraps with Savory Rice and Quinoa

Yumm!! I love easy, fresh and flavorful summer meals! Follow the recipe below to enjoy these as much as we did!

Black Bean Lettuce Wrap
1 head lettuce of your choice
2 cups black beans, cooked and chilled.
1 avocado
Favorite salsa (homemade recipe featured here)
Handful of sunflower seeds
1 batch of my featured Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Savory Rice and Quinoa
1 cup rice and quinoa blend
1 cup vegetable broth
¾ cup water
½ small onion
2 cloves garlic
Splash of safflower or other oil of your choice

I used the TruRoots brand of Sprouted Rice and Quinoa blend, but you can just as easily use just rice, just quinoa or your own mix of the two; note that this recipe is for a blend of quinoa and rice so the water and cooking directions may not be the same for rice or quinoa alone. Moving on, set a pot with the water and broth to boil. In the mean time, dice the onion and mince the garlic and get them heating in a pan with the oil on low to medium heat. Rinse your rice and quinoa and drain it well, then dump it in the pan with garlic and onion. Sauté it all together until fragrant and once the water is boiling, dump it all in the pot, turn the heat down to low and cover for 25 minutes or until water has been absorbed. While the rice/quinoa is cooking, start prepping your wraps and all of the fixings by following the rest of the directions below. After the 25 minutes are up take it off the heat and let it sit still covered for another ten minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve!

This is a super quick and easy meal with a ton of flavor and texture. Good for lunch or serve it with some rice and quinoa for a clean, fresh dinner! Start by washing your lettuce, you want big, beautiful leaves of whatever your favorite lettuce might be; romaine, butter, even collard leaves are a more adventurous but super nutritious option. Set your lettuce out to dry while you slice up the avocado. From here you just throw it all together. I took a small rubber spatula and spread a good amount of hummus onto my romaine leaf and then piled on some beans. Next I laid 4-5 slices of avocado on top of my beans, spooned a strip of salsa down the middle and sprinkled on the sunflower seeds for some more texture. 

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