Category Archives: Main Course

Mexican Black Bean Burger

Mexican Black Bean Burger (4)

Mexican Black Bean Burger

My inspiration for this Mexican black bean burger came from my sister. I like how her burgers turn out moist and soft. She created a basic recipe for burgers that consists of a mixture of beans, brown rice and oatmeal. The bean choices vary, but the brown rice and oatmeal are always the same. She then adds different herbs and spices to her mixture depending on what she is craving or has on hand. The crucial step of her recipe is to refrigerate the mixture overnight to let oatmeal do its thing to soften up and expand. Then the following day she shapes her burgers and bakes them in the oven. She is vegan by the way, so her recipes never contain dairy or eggs and lately she has gone gluten free which means no wheat flour to bind the ingredients either.

Mexican Black Bean Burger (2)

My sister and I are getting together this weekend for our game night. Since she prefers homecooked meals to eating out and we both love Mexican flavors, I created a recipe for these vegan and gluten-free Mexican black bean burgers using her basic burger recipe. Just like me she never follows recipes, just eyeballs the ingredients and throws everything together.

Mexican Black Bean Burger (10)

I had some fresh corn cobs in the fridge and even though I had never made corn salsa, instead of Googling a recipe for it, I used my tomato salsa recipe and subbed fresh corns for tomatoes. Hence, my side dish was created yay!

To spend less time in the kitchen, I started cooking my black beans and brown rice simultaneously. The beans were cooked in my old pressure cooker and the rice was cooked in my good old reliable rice maker and that took only 20 minutes top, awesome! While the beans and rice were cooking, the corn kernels were scraped off the cobs and microwaved for 2 minutes, the spices and herbs were whisked together in a small bowl, and the oatmeal was microwaved with a cup of water for 2 minutes. So, everything was ready to go.

Once the beans were cooked, I strained them reserving the liquid for later use and then smashed them with a potato masher leaving some whole for texture. Now about the liquid from the bean, my sister sent me this article last week about aquafaba and why it is all over Pinterest. Apparently, the liquid from the cooked beans, known as aquafaba, can be used as a vegan alternative to dairy and eggs in everything from meringue to mayonnaise. So, save the liquid from your beans and use it in your mixture if it’s too dry.

All the ingredients were added to a large bowl. Now, this was the messy part. I used the liquid from the beans to wet my hands and grabbed a handful of the bean mixture and shaped it into a patty. I drizzled a large non-stick oven pan with olive oil and placed the patties in the pan.

I made enough burgers to last us both for few days. They baked in the 350 degrees oven for 20 minutes. I flipped them over and baked them for another 10 minutes. And the best part was… the drums please… they did not fall apart, hurray!

Mexican Black Bean Burger (8)I was very pleased with my burgers. They turned out beautiful and tasted yummy. My sister loved the corn salsa so much that she got the recipe to make it at home.

Mexican Black Bean Burger

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 12 burgers

Ingredients

2 cups black beans
1 cup brown rice
½ cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup fresh corn kernels
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons chopped dry onion
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon hem protein powder
1 tablespoon almond meal flour
1 bunch fresh cilantro, about 2 loosely packed cups

Preparation

  1. Cover beans with few inches of water and pressure cook until tender. Mash half of the beans.
  2. Cook rice with 1½ cups water in a small rice cooker.
  3. Mircowave oatmeal with 1 cup water for 2 minutes.
  4. Microwave corn for 2 minutes.
  5. Wisk all seasoning together.
  6. Coarsely chop cilantro.
  7. Mix all the ingredients together.
  8. Coat a non-stick oven pan with extra virgin olive oil. Form the mixture into patties and place them on the pan.
  9.  Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 40 minutes. Half way through cooking, gently flip them over.
  10. Serve with your favorite salsa or a side of salad.
Advertisements

Quick and Easy Vegan IC-Friendly Meal Ideas

Ah So Yummy (97)

Being a vegan newbie and having to follow a strict elimination diet can be real difficult and frustrating. You think what is left to eat after eliminating all meat, eggs, dairy, and acidic foods –like Chinese, Mexican and Italian… seriously! – along with all acidic fruits, vegetables, and condiments that could trigger bladder pain. After you get over the initial shock and mourn the loss of your favorite foods, you start thinking about all the possibilities and choices out there instead of just focusing on what you cannot eat.

Ah So Yummy (63)

With an IC elimination diet, just as the name implies, you eliminate all the known offensive foods – whatever they may be for your specific condition – from your diet. Then after few weeks, you start adding the foods back to your diet, one at a time. You monitor your symptoms or reactions to the added food for few days before introducing a new food. If all goes well, you continue adding the foods back to your diet until you find out which one causes your symptoms. It’s like being a food detective.

For those who haven’t read the previous post, IC or Interstitial Cystitis is a bladder condition that results in constant or recurring pain or discomfort in the bladder and the surrounding pelvic region. Although, there is no scientific evidence linking diet to IC, some foods and beverages are known to cause bladder irritation and inflammation in IC sufferers.

There are lots of IC-friendly recipes and food blogs online, but I wasn’t going to spend time exploring those sites. Instead, I used the IC-Food List as a guide and came up with a list of easy and tasty foods and snacks a vegan IC-sufferer could prepare at home without needing any cooking skills.

I thought re-training the taste buds would be a good start for an elimination diet, especially one with so many restrictions. That’s why I limited the number of the ingredients, spices and the seasonings I used except for the salt of course. At the end of my elimination trial, I was pleased and surprised to learn how much I enjoyed the simple and clean flavors of natural foods without all the added fats and flavoring from other sources.

Ah So Yummy (28)The very first food I made was a simple carrot and sweet potato soup. My soups are usually made with sautéed aromatics like onions, garlic and herbs, but to keep the ingredients to the minimum and flavors as simple as possible, I threw these beautiful multi-colored carrots I had bought from the store into a stockpot along with sweet potatoes and grated ginger. All I added was plain water to cover the vegetables and some salt.

After the vegetables were cooked through, I pureed the soup using a hand blender. The soup turned out creamy and delicious without adding any fat. If you are on a low-fat diet or any special diet, you can turn any mixture of root vegetables you have on hand, like parsnips, turnips, celery roots and potatoes into a delicious low-calorie soup like this one and eat as much as you want without feeling guilty :). Of course topping this soup with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice would take it to another level.

The best way of always having ginger on hand is to freeze some in a Ziploc bag. Anytime you need it, all you have to do is peel and grate a section of it using a microplane or a regular grater. Frozen ginger keeps real well and is much easier to grate. Another clever way of storing ginger in the freezer is grating it first then rolling it in a plastic wrap like a candy and twisting the ends. When you need it, all you have to do is unroll it and snap a piece off.

Ah So Yummy (44)

White beans and cauliflower soup was another simple and tasty soup I made.

Again, all I added was plain water and salt. I covered the white beans with few inches of water in a pressure cooker pot and cooked them until almost tender. I then added the fresh cauliflowers and cooked them until tender and pureed with a hand blender, my favorite tool for pureeing. This soup was amazingly creamy, nutritious and yummy!

These pureed soups also make great baby food since babies usually start solid foods without any added fat, spices or seasonings. They are also great for people on special diets or fat-free diets. I made a lot of pureed soups using different mixes of beans and vegetables. Since the soups didn’t look very appealing, I pureed them. Any vegetable can be pureed into a soup with or without starch. You just have to adjust the amount of the liquid, add more for a thinner soup and less for a thicker soup.

Ah So Yummy (14).JPG

Towards the end of the elimination trial, I started adding herbs and olive oil to the food. I made this simple and tasty white beans stew with chopped garlic and fresh parsley and rosemary from my garden. I plant new herbs every year, but these two herbs grow all year long in my garden.

The beans were soaked overnight and cooked with plain water, salt and chopped fresh garlic, parsley and rosemary. Before serving, they were drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil, not that they needed it, but it sure made them yummier. Some of the beans burst open during cooking adding creaminess to the liquid.

I tried the same stew concept with garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils…the list was endless. The stew was the perfect vehicle to add fiber and protein rich beans to my diet. Each cup of cooked beans contained about 15 grams of fiber which was more than half of the daily recommended intake, as well as about 15 grams of protein.

The options for salads were endless. The only dressing I used on the salads was a little extra virgin olive oil and of course salt. I actually started preferring my salads without any acid. The salads tasted so fresh and clean when dressed with just a drizzle of olive oil.

Top a bed of spring mix salad or any type lettuce with your choice of bladder-friendly vegetable and cooked beans from the IC Food List, and you will have a nutritious meal ready in no time. Let your imagination go wild and create tasty combinations.

Ah So Yummy (19)

I always kept few cups of cooked quinoa in the fridge and added it to my salads for protein. Any combination of vegetables tasted delicious when mixed with quinoa. For this salad, I mixed cooked quinoa with some chopped celery, zucchini and cilantro.

Before serving, I added chopped avocado and sometimes fresh warm basmati rice, yummy! My sister came up with a lot of creative combinations of beans and vegetables for salad and shared them with me. I will post some of her recipes in future.

Another meal idea that required more work, but provided quick meals when done in advance, was making vegan burgers or wraps. I used one of my old recipes for vegan patties and made enough patties to last for few days. Before baking, I formed the patties into three different sizes, small round-shaped patties for slider buns, large round-shaped patties for regular burger buns,  and oblong-shaped ones for wraps. Using different vegetable and herb with each sandwich made it seem like I was eating a different meal, haha, smart huh!

I love avocados and used it in my salads and sandwiches. I found the best way to preserve the unused portion was to cover it with the empty half shell, seed intact, and wrap it tightly in a plastic wrap and refrigerate. Any acid like lemon juice or vinegar, splashed over the exposed flesh, could keep it from turning brown, but acid was a no no on this diet. I scooped out the flesh with a large spoon to keep the shell intact.

Lightly steamed vegetables made great side dishes or healthy and filling afternoon snacks. There is nothing worse than an overcooked vegetable, yucks! If you have never cared for steamed vegetables, chances are they were overcooked and mushy. I steamed my vegetables in the steamer basket of my old rice cooker just long enough for them to slightly cook yet preserve their shape and color. With just a drizzle of a good quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt the vegetables were transformed from boring to yummy!

If you have never had artichoke, you are missing out big time. I just learned from this article How to Eat an Artichoke that you are not supposed to cover the pan when boiling them or else acids in the artichoke will not be able to escape and they will turn the artichokes brown. Well, that explains why mine turned brownish! However, the flavor was amazing, especially the creamy hearts, yum!

The elimination trial and re-training my taste buds taught me to appreciate all the vegetables in their natural state. I learned to enjoy them raw, steamed or roasted. But, I have to admit roasting them in the oven was my favorite way of preparing them especially with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. My sister can down any vegetable without salting it, but I have to add a little salt to mine. She roasts her vegetables with a little water, no salt and no fat added.

Ah So Yummy (11).JPG

Roasted sweet potatoes and carrots provided a sweet snack for the times I craved sweets.

I sprinkled some cinnamon and drizzled some olive oil over the vegetables before roasting them in the oven at 400 º F. I think the above photo speaks for itself, YUMMY :).

I used to have trouble telling yam and sweet potatoes apart. I finally learned how to pick the right one. They are basically both considered sweet potatoes. What we call yam is the variety with a darker skin and a dark orange flesh that is much sweeter and moist in texture than sweet potatoes. The one I used here was sweet potato and had a pale skin with a light yellow flesh. The flesh had a dry mealy texture and was less sweet than yam. So, here we have it yay.

Ah So Yummy (9).JPG

Eggplants and mushrooms are incredibly versatile and work in any recipe from Italian to Asian. They also make a very tasty substitute for meat and happen to be my absolute favorite vegetables.  As for eggplants, I particularly love the taste and texture of Japanese eggplants. They cook quickly and don’t even need peeling because their skin is so tender.

My favorite method of cooking eggplants is roasting which uses the minimum amount of oil, not to mention the heavenly aroma that fills my kitchen when they roast. For this elimination diet, I turned roasted eggplant rounds into sandwiches, salads and snacks.

Some of my favorite fruits were among the bladder-friendly fruit choices which made me very happy :).

Ah So Yummy (60)

I have never been a big fan of brown rice, but thanks to my sister’s preaching about all its health benefits, I started eating it few months ago and gradually developed a taste for it. I still prefer white fragrant rice, but don’t mind brown rice as much as I used to. I even started using it in my vegan patties and soups.

Brown rice is a whole grain rice with the hull being the only part that is removed from it. Unlike white rice, it has the bran and germ. Brown rice has a mild nutty flavor and is chewier and more nutritious than white rice. It takes longer to cook and requires a higher water to rice ratio. I cooked my brown rice in a rice cooker and it turned out good every time. I added a little olive oil and salt to it too.

Mixing white or brown rice with any type of beans results in a complete protein dish. That gave me incentive to prepare a lot of rice and bean dishes. I even added rice and beans to my salads and wraps.

Ah So Yummy (92)

I tried herb rice with fresh parsley, chives, dill and cilantro and added fresh chopped spinach, chard and kale to my rice. The addition of each herb and green vegetable created a different flavor profile.

For my kale rice, I trimmed all the stems both from below the leaves and the center of them because they tend to be tough and take longer to cook. I stored the trimmings in a Ziploc bag in my freezer as I always do with all the vegetable and herb trimmings. When I have enough trimmings, I make homemade vegetable stock.

Even though at the beginning of my elimination trial, I found the idea of a vegan on an IC diet very challenging, after experimenting with different simple and basic ingredients for weeks, I discovered a whole new way of preparing quick and healthy meals without having to take nutrition or cooking classes. If one chooses not to consume any animal products at all on an IC diet, they just have to learn how to combine the essential amino acids to get the most protein possible out of a vegan diet.

If you have IC and try any of these food ideas, make sure to check the IC Food List first and keep in mind that every person will have a different reaction to the same food. Cilantro may bother your bladder, but cause no discomfort for someone else. Substitute the ingredients that irritate your bladder with the ones that soothe it.

Dal with Zucchini

Dal with zucchin

Dal with zucchini

Dal with Zucchini

Weeks ago I ordered Mark Bittman’s cookbook “The Best Recipes in the World” and today I finally got around to trying one of his recipes. I picked his Dal recipe with homemade curry powder since I had all the ingredients on hand. Cooking Indian food might seem intimidating to most people, but who can blame them. The list of the spices is always so long and unfamiliar. But let me tell you, after you equip your pantry with the essential Indian spices and learn a few cooking techniques, you will find yourself cooking Indian food more often. The homemade version is always healthier and tastier than the restaurant version. Okay, maybe not tastier, but definitely healthier.

Curry powder is a blend of various dried ground spices and each region of India has its own version. I like toasting and grinding my own spices because I can customize it to my taste, but when I’m in a hurry I use the store-bought version. Curry powder can be made hot, mild, sweet or fragrant depending on the spices used.

I picked an all-purpose curry powder recipe for my dal today. I added all the spices to a small sauté pan and heated it over medium heat for just a few minutes until fragrant.

Ah So Yummy

The recipe called for toasting the peppercorns, cloves and seeds, but I added all the spices at once. I then ground the spices in my spice grinder, a must-have tool for every kitchen.

Ah So Yummy

I also made some changes to this recipe. Instead of adding everything to the pot with water as instructed, I sautéed the onions first then stirred in the spices and cooked them for about minute. Toasting spices enhances their aroma and flavor.

Ah So Yummy

I used 1 tablespoon of the spice blend I had made earlier along with ground cumin and cayenne. Skip the cayenne if you don’t like spicy food. Personally, I like a little kick from the pepper. There is a misconception about Indian food being too spicy, but truth be told most their dishes aren’t spicy or can be made so just by omitting the hot peppers in the recipe. That’s the nice thing about grinding your own spices because you can control the amount of pepper you add to it.

Ah So Yummy

An easy way of peeling garlic clove is to cut the root end and smashing it on a cutting board with the back of a knife. The skin peels off very easily. That is if the clove is nice and big like you see in the picture below. Have you ever bought a garlic head that looked great until you broke it apart and all these tiny cloves fell all over your counter with few larger pieces lost among them. Well, it happens to me often and I get real frustrated trying to get those pesky skins off. I’ve tried all the tips I’ve read online to no avail. I put all the cloves in a sealed jar as suggested and shook the jar until my arms were falling off. I soaked them in hot water as suggested by another site, but that didn’t work either. If you have a trick up your sleeve, please share it with me in the comment section below :).

Ah So Yummy

I always keep ginger in a Ziploc bag in my freezer and any time I need it, I grate a section of it and put it back in the freezer. I find ginger easier to grate when frozen. Freezing it also keeps it from going bad in the fridge.

Ah So Yummy

Now, if you have never had dal before, it’s a thick stew prepared from any variety of dried lentils, peas or beans that have been split. I used yellow moong dal for my dish. You can find it in Indian stores or online. Some supermarkets might also carry it.

Ah So Yummy

I added chopped garlic and grated ginger to the onions and cooked them for a minute or so. The amazing aroma of onions and spices filled my kitchen. I’m sure my neighbors were getting hungry from the smell.  I stirred in chopped tomatoes and cooked the mixture for few minutes.

Ah So Yummy

The recipe doesn’t give the exact measurement for water, just enough to cover the beans by few inches. I forgot to measure the water I added, but I must have added about 8 cups. You can always add more water if needed.

Ah So Yummy

I let the stew cook for 40 minutes until the beans were tender. Remember to stir it a few times during cooking to prevent the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pot. I had this beautiful homegrown organic zucchini in the fridge that I had no plans for, so I chopped it and added it to the stew. I cooked it for 10 more minutes until the vegetables were cooked through. Oh, I also added half a teaspoon of store-bought garam masala , another spice blend that is usually used in a very small amount to add flavor to the Indian dishes.

Ah So Yummy

I must say my version of this stew turned out scrumptious with just enough heat from the spices.

http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Organic-Garam-Masala-Ounce/dp/B00AJRKQDU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1435107476&sr=8-2&keywords=indian+Garam+Masala

I don’t own a fancy camera and my basic camera doesn’t do justice to this stew. It looks so much better than the pictures, trust me!

Ah So Yummy

A food that is cooked with sautéed onions and garlic always tastes better the next day and freezes well. This stew keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. Freeze the leftovers for another time.

Ah So Yummy

Dal with Zucchini

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 1 hr
Ready in: 1 hr 5 mins
Yields: 6 to 8 serving

Ingredients

1 onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon homemade curry powder (recipe follows)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon  cayenne pepper or to taste
4 roman tomatoes chopped
1 pound yellow moong dal rinsed and picked over

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a medium-sized stockpot. Add onions. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are translucent. Stir in garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add spices and tomatoes. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add about 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 50 minutes.
  2. Add chopped zucchini. Cook for 10 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning to taste and add more water if needed.

Mild Curry Powder

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 3 min
Ready in: 8 mins
Yields: 1/4 cup

Ingredients

1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 cloves
3 seeds from white cardamom pods
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
2 teaspoons ground turmeric

Preparation

  1. Combine the peppercorns, cloves and seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until lightly toasted and fragrant, few minutes. Add the ground spices.
  2. Cool and grind to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder. Store in a tightly covered container for up to several months.

Thanksgiving Vegan Patties

IMG_0147

My sister is a strict vegan, so when she comes over, I always make vegan dishes. We usually get together on weekends and do our fun outing and play few rounds of crazy rummy and feast on whatever I cook that weekend. My sister is my guinea pig and eats anything I cook, trust me on that. That’s why I always ask other people for feedback on my cooking because my sister always says it’s delicious!

Since I got some practice with quinoa and millet patties this week and wanted to use the yams and apples that were desperately waiting to be turned into something delicious, a vision of Thanksgiving vegan patties emerged in my mind, yes Thanksgiving in June!

I got all my ingredients on the counter. I was out of onions so I used shallots instead. I sautéed the shallots and apples, then added my herbs and spices. This was a recipe being born as I was making it. I had no idea how it would turn out, but it sure smelled yummy.

Ah So Yummy

Besides cooking, I love gardening and growing my own herbs. I tried keeping potted herbs on the kitchen counter like you see in the magazines or on cooking shows, but they never survived. So, I created an organic herb garden in my backyard growing different herbs in the pots. Having your own herb garden is so convenient and worth the effort. Some of the herbs like mint, parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, oregano and marjoram are perennial and others like cilantro, basil and dill are annual and have to be replanted every year.

From my earlier experience, I knew in order for the quinoa and millet to hold together, I needed a binding agent and eggs were out of question of course. This time around I was prepared and had boiled and smashed two yams. Sweet potatoes or regular potatoes work too. What you need is a starchy and sticky ingredient to help the mixture bind together.

Ah So Yummy

I said my prayers and started kneading the ingredients. They went together beautifully and I had room to add another apple, so I grated another apple into the mixture. I shaped the patties and placed them on an oiled oven-proof tray.

Ah So Yummy

My perfectly shaped patties were ready to go in the oven.

Ah So Yummy

I didn’t dare flip these patties over because they felt real soft to the touch. When the top of the patties develop lots of cracks during baking, it’s usually a sign that they would fall apart if flipped over. But, if you let them cool completely, they firm up and hold their shape. The aroma of the spices and apples filled the air just like Thanksgiving. The vegan patties turned out delicious. I am sure my sister is going to devour them tomorrow and that’s the best compliment a cook can get!

Thanksgiving Vegan Patties

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: 9 patties

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa
1/3 cup millet
1 small onion chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium Fuji apples
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram chopped
1 tablespoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium yams about 3 1/2 cups chopped

Preparation

  1. Cook the quinoa and millet in 1 1/2 cups water for about 15 minutes.
  2. Boil the yams in water. Drain, peel and smash.
  3. Sautee onions and apples for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Stir in spices and seasonings.
  4. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Shape into patties. Place on an oiled non-stick oven tray.
  6. Bake in pre-heated 350 degrees oven for 40 minutes. Do not flip over. Patties firm up when at room temperature.

Ah So YummyAh So Yummy Ah So Yummy

Mexican Quinoa Patties

Ah So Yummy

I was in the mood for Mexican food today and wanted to do something with my leftovers. Nothing ever goes to waste in my kitchen. I even freeze the trimmings of the vegetables and herbs to use them later in a homemade vegetarian broth. I keep a large Ziploc bag in the freezer and toss the trimmings in it until I have enough to make a broth and let me tell you nothing beats a homemade broth. The cauliflower core is from the soup I made earlier. The herb stems, in this case cilantro, add tons of flavor to the broth.

Ah So Yummy

What I had to work with was cooked quinoa, millet and black beans, perfect for veggie patties. I added all my ingredients to the bowl and mixed them together. The mixture didn’t hold together. If this happens to you, don’t panic. There is a fix for every disaster in the kitchen, well almost every disaster.

Ah So Yummy

I could have added flour to remedy the situation, but I wanted to keep the patties gluten free. The oven was already preheated, so I had to move on to plan B. I quickly peeled and diced two potatoes and microwaved them for 5 minutes. I also added a tablespoon of water for the potatoes not to dry out. I then smashed the potatoes and added them to the mixture.

Ah So Yummy

I have had veggie burgers fall apart on me while cooking in the oven. Instead of tossing them in the garbage, I transferred them to a bowl to cool first. I then added either chickpea or all-purpose flour and reshaped them. This trick always worked like a charm and helped the patties hold their shape. Another trick to use when the patties are too soft, is not to flip them over and letting them cool completely before moving them.

Ah So Yummy

Adding the potatoes helped my mixture somewhat, but it still felt a little wet. I ended up adding two tablespoons of potato starch and bingo the problem was solved. The first time I heard about potato starch, was over 15 years ago on Jacques Pépin‘s cooking show. I remember checking few stores before I was able to find it. Nowadays, you can find it in every supermarket. Potato starch is made from whole russet potatoes that are peeled, dehydrated and made into ground. They are great for thickening soups and sauces without adding any gluten.

Ah So Yummy

My patties were perfectly shaped and ready to go in the oven. I was even able to flip them over after 20 minutes without them falling apart on me. They turned out delicious with a crunchy and meaty texture and enough heat from the spices. I consider this a successful day in the kitchen. I got to use my leftovers and I have something tasty to eat for few days yay!

Mexican Quinoa Patties

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: 8 patties

Ingredients

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked millet
1 cup cooked black beans
2 medium potatoes cooked and smashed
2 large organic free-range eggs
1 cup fresh cilantro chopped
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon potato starch
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preparation

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Coat a non-stick oven pan with extra virgin olive oil. Form the mixture into patties and place in the pan.
  3.  Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 40 minutes. Half way through cooking, gently flip them over.
  4. Serve with your favorite salsa or a side of salad.

Ah So YummyAh So Yummy

Lentil and Chia Patties with Sweet Potato

These gluten-free lentil and chia patties are loaded with flavor and packed with nutrients. Chia seeds have a mild nutty flavor and are a great plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fiber.  The best way to access their vitamins and minerals is to either grind or soak them.

Ah So Yummy

Lentil and Chia Patties with Sweet Potato

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 45 mins
Yields: 4 large patties

Ingredients

1 cup green lentils
1 cup sweet potatoes chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
1 large garlic clove chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
1 teaspoon allspice
½ cup frozen green peas
¼ cup rice flour
2 tablespoons water

Preparation

  1. Cook lentils in 3 cups water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Cook sweet potatoes in 1 cup water until tender. Drain and set aside cool.
  3. Add half of the lentils and the remaining ingredients, except rice flour and water, to the bowl of a food processor. Process to a coarse texture using the pulse feature. Peas add moisture to the patties and serve as a binding agent.
  4. Mix the remaining lentils, lentil mixture and rice flour in a bowl, adding water as needed. Shape into 4 large patties or 8 small patties. Fry in oil or bake in a 350 degrees oven for 20 minutes.