Man-Approved Veggie Burgers

I love trying to cook new things – whether it’s a new recipe or a twist on an old classic. But I can’t say the same thing for my husband. I’ve made a variety of veggie burgers over the years, and many of them get a “mm it was okay” type of response. But last night I cooked up a delicious farro and black bean burger from Food & Wine that was a hit! It did come with a smoky red pepper spread (I think that helped if I’m being totally honest..) and it was a bit more prep than I was expecting, but it was worth the effort. The results were delicious and the patties stay moist when you eat them as leftovers, so you can easily make another burger the next day, or break them up over a salad or veggies for something a little different.

Time:  About an hour, but I took a few time-saving steps (all noted below).

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Photo: © Cedric Angeles

Black Bean Burgers with Smoky Red Pepper Spread

Ingredients

Burgers
  • 1 1/4 cups dried black beans, rinsed and picked over, then soaked for 4 hours and drained (or 2 cans of low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup farro
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (dried work well too)
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for sautéing
  • 8 toasted buns, lettuce, and red onion for serving
Spread
  • 1 small red bell pepper (If you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to roast your own as the directions say, or you can simply use a smoked red pepper of the jarred variety..they work quite well and are much easier to use!)
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)

Directions

Burgers
  1. In a saucepan, cover the beans with 2 inches of water. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 1 hour; add water as needed to keep the beans covered by 2 inches. When the beans are tender, season them with salt and let stand for 5 minutes; drain. If you choose to use canned beans, ignore this step.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the farro and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the grains are al dente, 30 minutes. Mine took a smidge longer – just keep an eye on them until most of the water is gone.
  3. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes.
  4. In a food processor, pulse all but 1/2 cup of the beans to a chunky puree; transfer to a bowl. Fold in the remaining 1/2 cup of beans, the farro, the onion mixture, eggs, bread crumbs, basil, cilantro, pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Form the mixture into 8 patties. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (We were hungry, so we skipped the fridge step. I assume things would have been slightly less sticky if we had followed this step, but from what I could tell, the outcome was just as delicious.)
  5. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat a few tablesppons of vegetable oil. Add the burgers and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and heated through, about 6 minutes. Transfer the burgers to the buns. Top with the Smoky Red Pepper Spread, lettuce and red onion slices, close the burgers and serve.
Spread
  1. Roast the pepper over a gas flame until charred and softened (or just pull one out of the jar…). Let the pepper cool; peel, seed and chop. In a food processor, puree the pepper with the feta and pimentón; transfer to a bowl and serve.

The original recipe can be found here.

Using those delicious summer tomatoes

I grew up hating tomatoes. Flicking them across my plate, picking them out of my salads, anything I could to keep them away from my taste buds. But over the years I’ve come to appreciate a good tomato, and I’ve discovered that they can be quite tasty, especially when they’re eaten at the peak of the summer season. So when summer comes around and the tomato bins get full, I love discovering new ways to cook and eat these tasty treats.

tomatoes

So many tomatoes!

I still love a good main dish full of veggies like the tomatoes and polenta recipe, but when we’re looking for a good light appetizer, this Summer salad with tomatoes and watermelon can’t be beat. Plus, it’s incredibly easy and great for crowds since watermelon tend to be huge. This recipe is a riff on Sprouted Kitchen’s Stacked Watermelon with Feta and Balsamic – from her delicious cookbook. She doesn’t use tomatoes in her recipe, but I couldn’t resist throwing a few in, and I think it adds a nice little summery taste. Whenever I make this, I don’t usually pay too much attention to the amounts – it’s a great recipe that you can really play around with and customize to your liking.

summersalad

Summer Salad with Tomatoes and Watermelon

Serves 4-6 or more if you want

Ingredients:

  • 1 small watermelon, chilled
  • 5-6 heirloom tomatoes (or more if your watermelon isn’t so small)
  • 1/2 c. feta cheese
  • 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 c. white balsamic vinegar (white balsamic vinegar is a bit milder than its dark cousin)
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt, to taste

Preparation:

  1. Cut the watermelon into 1/2″ slices. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4″ slices.
  2. In a bowl, combine the feta, vinegar, olive oil, and pepper.
  3. Lay the watermelon and tomatoes out on a plate, alternating the slices. Sprinkle the red onion over the watermelon and tomatoes and drizzle with your dressing. Feel free to add a few sprinkles of salt if you’d like (taste it first as some feta cheese is saltier than others).
  4. Enjoy!

For more delicious recipes, you can check out the Sprouted Kitchen blog here.

Easy & Delicious Potato Side Dish

Potatoes are often difficult. They’re either too dry if you try to bake them, don’t crisp up properly when you try to turn them into french fries, or take too long when you try to mash them (plus I don’t always want that added butter!). I found a delicious recipe for what I call Smooshed Potatoes on the delightful blog The Pioneer Woman. She calls them Crash Hot Potatoes, but I needed something a little more descriptive in there.  Whatever you call them, they’re a super easy side that delivers delicious results. Most of their cooking time is either boiling or baking, so there isn’t a lot of hands-on work. You can easily make them in the background while you’re cooking/grilling something else. They end up crispy, full of flavor, and dangerously addicting. They’ll go perfect with a burger or a steak, and are even dainty enough to serve alongside a salad – mine went alongside a grilled steak salad (recipe coming soon). Enjoy!

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Crunchy Baked Asparagus Fries with Lemon Herb Sriracha Dip

My husband is not a fan of asparagus. He’s eaten maybe 2 stalks in his entire life. Last night, in one evening, I was able to get him to eat 3. All at the same time. I kinda felt like a miracle was taking place. And it was all thanks to this delicious recipe for Crunchy Baked Asparagus Fries with Lemon Herb Sriracha Dip from the awesome blog In Sock Monkey Slippers. Her blog is full of delicious recipes, (one particularly amazing one for carnitas that I’ll be sharing later), and if you haven’t checked it out, I recommend you add it to your list! This recipe is a super quick and super easy recipe for asparagus fries that are a great side dish to burgers or grilled..well, pretty much anything. They come out of the oven nice and crispy, and the dipping sauce is delicious! These were a great replacement for french fries, and they make you feel much better after!

Photo May 13, 7 49 29 PM

Crunchy Baked Asparagus Fries with Lemon Herb Sriracha Dip, from In Sock Monkey Slippers

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

lemon herb sriracha dip

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (If you’re not a dill lover, use half or less)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha (You can also use any garlic chili sauce you may have..I didn’t feel like buying a bottle of sriracha just for this)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a skillet over medium-low heat, toast the panko breadcrumbs until lightly golden. (Watch these closely to make sure they don’t burn!) Transfer to a large plate and add salt. Toss to combine.

2. In a bowl beat eggs and water together to create an egg wash and pour onto a plate. Set up a “work station” with the asparagus, flour that has been placed on a plate, egg wash, toasted panko crumbs, and baking sheet. Make sure you’re using large plates so you can easily roll the asparagus around.

3. To bread the asparagus: First roll an asparagus spear in flour, then egg was, and then panko crumbs – pressing to adhere. Repeat with remaining asparagus.

4. Place the breaded asparagus on the baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes until the asparagus is cooked but still crunchy.

5. While the asparagus is baking, make the dipping sauce. Place all ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and stir to combine. The sriracha can be spicy, so test as you go and omit if you don’t like spice!

Delicious Homemade Pumpkin Ravioli

Mmm pumpkin ravioli. Slightly sweet with a savory kick to it. Delicious little bundles of joy. Last night I decided to try to replicate the recipe at home, and it worked quite well! I cheated a bit – I wasn’t quite up for making the fresh pasta at home, so I picked up some fresh pasta in the deli section of my local Whole Foods. They sell freshly made pasta in sheets, and it worked perfectly. It saved me a ton of time, but still tasted homemade (you also might be able to use wonton wrappers if you can’t find fresh pasta dough). This recipe is from the King Arthur website. I’m sure they could help you make the pasta from scratch if you were feeling really ambitious. I had a decent amount of pasta so I doubled the recipe – I ended up with a bit extra, but would have run out if I hadn’t doubled it. The outcome tasted delicious, although I can’t say it was the prettiest. They were much larger and then they should have been, and they were a bit reminiscent of snowflakes – no two were alike! I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for a good ravioli maker (or at least a ravioli stamp), as I now completely understand how useful they are!

ravioli

Savory Pumpkin Ravioli

  • 1/2 batch Homemade pasta (or store-bought)

pumpkin filling

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I didn’t have this, so I used a mix of sage, thyme, rosemary, and black pepper)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon potato flour, optional

The recipe below includes the instructions for fresh, homemade pasta dough. If you bought your dough at the store, skip those and just leave your dough out at room temperature – it’ll crack if it’s cold.

1) Prepare the pasta dough and set out at room temperature to rest. On the stovetop, begin heating a stockpot of water to cook the ravioli.

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