Thursday, April 8, 2010

Black Bean & Walnut Burgers With Spicy Baked Red Skin Fries

It's been a a long while since we've had a veggie burger, perhaps months, this is something we have more often during the Summer or Spring. Decided to make some last night and came up with this recipe, made for a great burger, a big hit. ^_^
Made some homemade organic vegan mixed berry sorbet to for dessert last night, too, nothing like the goodness of sorbet after a nice filling burger & fries, yum! I'll share my basic vegan sorbet recipe with you another time.

Black Bean & Walnut Burgers With Spicy Baked Red Skin Fries

You will need, a 12"-14" fry pan, lg. & sm mixing bowls, 2 cookie sheets or lg. 2 shallow baking pans, & food processor.
Can't stress enough to support organic, fair trade, & local grown as much as possible.

First of all, let's get your fries going, this will give your burgers time to chill in your fridge or freezer before frying.

Spicy Baked Red Skin Fries (cookie sheet/baking pan, mixing bowls):
Recipe serves 4 adults

4 med-lg red skin potatoes (you may use any potatoes on hand, including sweet potatoes)
2-3 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of black pepper

Preheat oven to 450F, prepare large baking sheet or pan.
Slice potatoes into quarters long ways, then slice thinly, about 1/4" or less.
Toss thinly sliced potatoes in large mixing bowl w/oil. Take spices, combine in small separate bowl, now toss spices onto potatoes evenly, make sure you potatoes are evenly covered. Now spread one ply onto cookie sheet or baking pan, bake for 20 minutes, flip potatoes over, bake another 10-15 to desired crispiness.

Black Bean & Walnut Burgers (food processor, lg. fry pan, lg mixing bowl, & cookie sheet/baking pan):
Makes 6 sm patties or 4 lg.

1 can of black beans (this is a good time to use those leftover black beans from burrito bowl recipe)
1/2 - 3/4 C raw walnuts
1 small bunch of green onions
1 C unseasoned whole grain breadcrumbs (or make your own, two med. slices of bread, food processor, then set to side to add to fold to bean burger mixture, I used this Ezekiel bread to make bread crumbs and to serve patties on.)
4 mini sweet colored peppers or one med colored bell pepper
1/2 C fresh cilantro
1/4 C org. wheat gluten
4 garlic cloves
4 Tbsp EVOO (2 for burger mix, 2 for pan frying burgers)
1 tsp cumin  
dash of thyme (fresh or dried)
dash of black pepper

Burger Toppings:
sprouts (I used homegrown broccoli sprouts in photo-If you don't sprout and are interested, there are some really nice inexpensive kits that usually include some seeds to get you started. A small beginner kit w/seeds usually may cost around $10-$15, Amazon even has sprouter kits available.)
tomatoes (thinly sliced of your choice, I used the org. grape tomatoes, thinly sliced w/food processor)
avocados (adds a wonderful buttery tastes, thinly sliced)
baby spring greens (or you may like to use baby spinach or baby romaine)
dijon (I used a creamy org. dijon in burger photographed, no additives, not only as a vegan must we stay away from *natural flavorings* but, I personally have serious allergies to MSG, which can be found in ingredients, such as *spices*, *malts*, or *natural flavorings*, just to name a few.)

Bun or Bread? Your preference, I used a sprouted Ezekiel bread (in burger pictured) made by Food For Life. Seriously great stuff, no additives and can be found in the frozen section of some groceries & health food stores. Or you may like making your own, which I personally don't bake as often in the summer. When I make bread, it's gobbled up quickly in this household. ^_^ There are also versions of raw Ezekiel bread, also make w/sprouts.

Place all ingredients, except bread crumbs & wheat gluten, into the food processor. Process until pureed w/some texture. Now add the wheat gluten until mixed in. Dropped contents into lg. mixing bowl, thoroughly fold in bread crumbs. Now make 6 sm patties or 4 extra lg. flattened patties, place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Now refrigerate for 20-30 minutes (think of those fries baking--takes about 30 minutes) or freeze for 10-15 minutes, just until patties are cool & firm, when firm enough, use a thin spatula to slide off of parchment and place into warmed, w/2Tbs. of EVOO, cook into golden browned on each side. Serve on buns/bread w/tomatoes, greens, sprouts, and avocado w/dijon mustard. A side of fries and maybe a pickle. Enjoy! ^_^

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Burrito Bowl - Walnut Salsa & Creamy Guacamole recipe included

The other half loves Latin cuisine, he especially seems to enjoy burritos, tacos, & nachos (my Mother especially loves spicy Latin food, too, so burrito bowls are a huge hit in this household.). Not only are Latin inspired dishes addictive to eat when prepared with wholesome ingredients, making these kind of dishes is not only a breeze but, lots of fun to make. This is one of my versions of the burrito bowl, hope you enjoy, this is just as darn good (or perhaps better ~_^) than fresh burrito take-out. I'm a huge fan of a couple burrito places around our local area, one of which is organic. But, it still doesn't beat making fresh burrito bowl or nachos at home, just think of the left-overs, yums!

Vegan Burrito Bowl

This recipe is for an army, perhaps 6-8 adults--also depending if you serve by itself or with chips or in burrito (I use the rice sometimes for other dishes, the left-over guac is great on pitas & sammies, or potatoes (just think, it can replace vegan mayo for a potato salad), etc. The black beans can be used for other dishes & the salsa is wonderful to have around for a snack.). If you don't need the left-overs or aren't serving an army, just cut the recipe in half.

This is a 4 part dish, start your rice and your beans, then begin whipping up your salsa & fresh guac.
You will need a food processor & if you like creamy whipped guac, you can use a blender or processor.
Can't stress enough to use organic & local food as much as possible.
*Note: This recipe goes great with Blue Corn Chips.

Cilantro Rice & Kale:
2 C uncooked Wehani rice, cook according to package instructions, I like to add about 1-2 Tbsp of EVOO & a dash of salt to cook the rice (rarely do I use vegan butter for my rice).
Wehani is a wonderful chewy almost peanut smelling rice. It's a type of brown rice, if you  can't find Wahani, brown basmati, brown jasmine, or brown rice will suffice. You can even use a wild rice, or wild rice mix, I have done this in the past w/pleasing results.
 After rice is thoroughly cooked and cooled add:
1/2 C fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 of a juiced lemon (save other half for salsa)
black pepper to taste
 Kale: boil or steam up about 4 cups of chopped kale tops., rinse w/cold water after cooked to desired tenderness (don't over cook, otherwise you will lose nutrients & color), drain & squeeze out excess water, then mix into rice.

Just Black Beans:
2 cans of org. black beans (you can also can use cooked dry black beans), drained & rinsed. If you want warm or spiced beans, add them to a pot w/a bit of water (enough to cover beans), add a bit of fresh or dried thyme, paprika, & black pepper. NO salt. If you don't want them cold/room temp, and don't wish to season, just place them in a bowl ready to assemble your burrito bowls.

Mild-Medium Hot Walnut Salsa (food processor):
1 bunch of green onions, (discard roots, chop, then only add 1/2 of the green part of the onions to the food processor, save the other half of greens for garnish, and save the white part of the onion for the guacomole., If you like more onion if your salsa, you can use onion powder or add more green onions)
1 pint of tomatoes (I used org. grape tomatoes for recipe pictured)
1/2 C whole raw walnuts
6 mini sweet colored peppers or 2 sm-med colored bell peppers
2-3 jalapeño peppers (optional), remove tops, discard seeds if you don't want your salsa too spicy
1/8 C filtered water
1/2 freshly juiced lemon (other half should be for rice)
1 Tbsp EVOO (aka: extra virgin olive oil)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp maple sugar (or you may use maple syrup if you can't find or other vegan sugar substitute)
4 garlic cloves
dash of oregano (fresh or dried)
dash of thyme (optional, fresh or dried)  
dash of salt

Place walnuts, garlic, spices, onions, lemon juice, oil, water, jalapeño (if using), and vinegar into processor, blend thoroughly. Now add tomatoes & sweet peppers and pulse until desired salsa chunkiness.

Guacamole (food processor or blender):
(If you don't want a whipped creamy guac, sometimes I crave a thick chunky guac, just mash your avocados w/a potato masher or fork, and put the rest of the ingredients in the food processor or blender, then when thoroughly blended, poor into bowl w/mashed avocados, then thoroughly blend ingredients for desired result.)
4 small avocados or 2 large
1 C fresh cilantro (blender will grind stems & leaves)
2 lemons or 3 limes juiced
Green onions (white parts), read note from salsa
3 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste

How to assemble your burrito plate or bowl: first drop a layer of rice, then add your beans (drained), salsa, then a heap of fresh guac. Can be served w/a side of blue corn chips or used as a nacho dip for your blue corn chips (Note: blue corn is good for you kiddies--antioxidant rich, less starch and a lower glycemic (GI) that does not change over time/during shelf life, + 20% more protein than white corn, we eat an org. blue corn w/sesame chip in this household. Mmm).
Btw, since we are on the topic of *blue* antioxidants, I made a vegan wild blueberry sorbet as a dessert to follow the burrito bowl, made for a delicious follow-up, and calmed the spices from the meal.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Double Layered Tofu Spinach Lasagna

This is such a yummy recipe for a lovely dinner, a gathering, or in our case, a holiday dish. I served this as a main for Easter/Spring Dinner with a side of Yukon potatoes mixed with sweet potatoes & mashed, lightly vegan herb & buttered. Served lasagna w/steamed fresh asparagus & dessert was freshly dipped carob strawberries & a bit of carob dipped organic sea salted oat pretzels. The tofu cheese of the recipe could trick any ricotta fan, this honestly tastes like *real* cheese. And you don't need plant based mozzarella, completely optional, I make my own plant based mozzarella, in the case of lasagna, it's not necessary to use.

Tofu Spinach Lasagna, Vegan

You will need a food processor for this recipe.
You will also need a 9"x13" deep baking dish/pan.
I always use most to all organic ingredients for my recipes.

Org. whole wheat or whole grain lasagna, cook them before assembling lasagna by following instructions on box.

Marinara Sauce:
5-6 C of tomato sauce of your choice, I used my own homemade org. canned for this recipe. (I always add a splash of olive oil, especially when served with plant based cheese, this will add a little fat that you need for taste and for the visual of *real* cheese.

5-6 C blanched fresh spinach, drained & squeeze out excess water then chopped
(org. baby spinach used in photo)

Tofu Cheese:
1 14 ounce pkg extra firm/firm org. tofu, drained, optional to lightly press
3-4 mini sweet colored peppers, seeds & tops discarded or 1 sm-med red bell [pepper cored & quartered
1 sm bunch of fresh green onions, roots discarded
1 C fresh curly parsley leaves or 1/2 C fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 C fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 plant milk (soy, almond, hazelnut, rice, etc.)
2 Tbsp fresh sweet basil or 1-1/2 tsp dried basil
4 med-large fresh garlic cloves
1 freshly juiced lemon
1 Tbsp org. maple sugar (you may use any sugar of your choice)
1/2 -1 tsp unrefined sea salt (if you are a true cheese fan, you may like a bit more salt to make this taste more like dairy cheese, salt to taste)
dash of dried or a bit of fresh oregano, thyme, & rosemary
black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
Place all tofu cheese ingredients in food processor, except tofu & spinach, process until everything is finely chopped. Add tofu, pulse until you have a texture similar to real ricotta cheese, don't overdo it, your cheese should have body & texture like dairy ricotta. Place finished cheese into bowl & add spinach (make sure you drain & squeeze the spinach of any excess water--this is incredibly important, you don't want soggy lasagna, or slimy spinach.).
Assemble double layered lasagna: place a thin layer of tomato sauce on bottom of lasagna pan, add a layer of lasagna noodles, add a layer of cheese, layer of tomato sauce, repeat process. This recipe usually makes 2 cheese layers, now top off w/a layer of lasagna noodles & tomato sauce. Bake in preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes loosely covered with aluminum foil & parchment paper, so aluminum doesn't touch food. Remove cover after 40-45 minutes, then bake an additional 10 uncovered. Top should be nice and bubbly when done.

Serve by itself or enjoy with a fresh herbal green salad or use your imagination for delicious sides for a celebration. ^_^