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.

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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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Oregano

I recently found myself with an overflowing bowl of lemons, and nothing to do with them. Lemon bars? (already made those) Lemonade? Meh. Ooh Roasted Chicken with Lemon? Bingo. I found this recipe in one of the latest Bon Appetit mags, and it looked pretty doable, so I figured I’d give it a try. And I’m glad I did, as it was delicious! The recipe calls for boneless chicken thighs with skin, but I ended up using skinless, boneless chicken breasts..following directions is not always my strongest trait. But it worked well with the chicken breasts, and I think it would be even more delicious with the chicken thighs. (And if you don’t like the skin, you could always pick it off before you eat it – I think it would impart some wonderful flavor.) 4 servings, About 40 minutes.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Oregano

Want super-crisp chicken without having to add much fat? Start with a room-temperature pan: As the skillet becomes hot, the chicken skin will gradually render its fat, becoming browned and crackling.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Oregano
Image via Bon Appetit

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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A Healthier Pesto

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I love a good pesto. But good pesto doesn’t always love us back. Filled with nuts and oils, regular pesto can conatin 23 grams of fatty and almost 270 calories in just a 1/4 cup! For this reason, I tend to avoid pesto and save it for those good, hot summer days when a nice pesto is so yummy. But, thanks to Candice Kumai, I’ve discovered a delicious pesto that tastes just as good but is way better for you. She calls it her Sexy Presto Almod Presto. It’s super quick to make and super delicious! And if you love this recipe, check out her cookbooks: Pretty Delicious is one of my favorites! I’m sure I’ll be sharing more recipes from her bountiful stash.

Sexy Almond Pesto
This recipe coats up to 1 pound of pasta and make sandwich wraps for a week! Saves well for about a week. Makes approx 1-1 1/2 Cups Skinny Pesto.

Ingredients:
3 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
1/2 cup whole raw almonds
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:
1. To make the pesto, place the basil, almonds, garlic, and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.

2. Once the ingredients are somewhat mealy, gradually add the olive oil, processing until the mixture is finally chopped yet still has texture, about 1 minute. Pulse in the lemon juice.

3. Store in a sealed storage container or jar for up to a week.

Note: I also added in a few pan-fried shrimp to the final dish. If you wanted you could add chicken as well.