Monday, February 21, 2011

Quinoa Burgers

A couple of weeks ago, I was craving a burger big time. However, I’ve noticed lately that my palate has been changing with regard to meat and I’m simply not enjoying it as much as I used to. So I put together the ingredients below for a quinoa burger that are loaded with veggies, spices and healthy, complete plant protein, from the quinoa and chickpeas.

I tried two versions, one with wild rice, which I had on hand, and another where I substituted cooked turnips–I think I was going for more of a potato pancake feel for that one. Both were equally satisfying and would go perfect with a warm mug of v

egetable soup or a crispy salad. Sitting in the middle of a multi-grain roll with a side of sweet potato fries sounds tempting as well! : )

Quinoa Burgers

2 c cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

¼ c wild rice, cooked (optional)

1 c quinoa, rinsed, soaked, then cooked in vegeta

ble broth

1 c onion chopped

½ cup celery chopped

1 c carrots, peeled and shredded

¼ c tahini

1 T oil

2 eggs

1 clove garlic, minced

juice and zest from 1 lemon

1 t sea salt

½ t tumeric

1 t cumin

1/2 t paprika

½ t coriander

½ t cinnamon

½ t ginger

Place the chickpeas and wild rice, if using, into a food processor.

Saute the onion and celery in a pan on medium heat until the onion is transluscent. Add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes more to heat through.

Add the sautéed veggies to the processor, then add the tahini, oil, eggs, lemon salt, and spices. Pulse until the ingredients are well mixed and the chickpeas are in small chunks.

Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, then fold in the quinoa. If the mixture is too wet, refrigerate it for about an hour. Spoon ~½ cup of the mixture and shape it into burgers. These can also be refrigerated at this point to be cooked later.

Heat the oven to 375°F. Place the burgers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for ~20 – 25 minutes, or until they start to get crispy. Let them sit for a few minutes to set.

Alternatively, add 1 T grapeseed oil to a frying pan on medium heat and cook the burgers a few minutes on each side until they are crispy and brown.

I’ve also skipped the wild rice, reduced the chickpeas by ~½ cup and added ½ cup of cooked turnips to the mixture and processed in a similar manner.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vegetarian Stuffed Squash

Something I’ve been preparing regularly this Winter is stuffed squash. To me, it’s an ultimate comfort food: it provides that warm, soothing, stick-to-your-ribs feeling and at the same time, it can be super healthy, depending on the stuffing. The recipe below uses a vegetarian filling that I mixed together with vegetables, rice, and beans and makes a nice base that I would even use to make a vegetarian enchilada, or to pile on top of a bed of greens.

Vegetarian Stuffed Squash

Grapeseed or olive oil

1 acorn squash

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium red pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 T fresh or 1 t dried basil

1 large handful spinach leaves, washed and dried

1 cup cooked black beans

1 cup cooked brown rice (prepared in water or light vegetable broth)

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 large egg

grated parmesan cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut acorn squash lengthwise, lightly oil the flesh and place the halves in a baking dish, cut side down. Roast for ~45 min or until a knife inserts easily through the skin. Remove the seeds and leave the halves in the baking dish, cut side up.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes. Add the celery and cook for several minutes more, then add the red pepper and basil. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Place the veggie mixture into a food processor with the spinach and black beans. Pulse several times until the spinach is incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the brown rice, garlic, basil, sea salt and pepper.

Add the egg and mix well, mix in ~1/4 cup of cheese if using. Spoon the mixture into the cavities of the squash and sprinkle with additional cheese.

Bake at 350° for ~20-30 min. The stuffing recipe makes a bit more than is needed to fill one full acorn squash and can easily be scaled up.

This works well in butternut squash too. Make a cavity in the long portion of each squash half and mix the scooped out squash directly into the stuffing before filling. I actually prefer the butternut squash because it has a sweeter taste…