Mediterranean Veggie Burger

   

I have conflicting emotions whenever I go into a restaurant and see they have a veggie burger on the menu. On one hand I get excited – hoping for a hearty, flavorful patty made in-house by someone that understands not all vegetarians are out to eat fat-free, gluten-free, low-sodium rabbit food. I mean I’m going there for a burger after all. On the other hand I get an overwhelming feeling of cynicism, as I know I’m much more likely to be presented with one of those mass-produced hockey pucks from the freezer aisle of the local grocery store. Then on another hand (I can have three hands; don’t judge me) I’m just thankful there is a vegetarian option at all. One thing I can always count on though is a super delicious veggie burger made in my own kitchen.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

For me, a well-crafted veggie burger needs to hit on three major points: pronounced flavor, contrasting textures, and the ability to make me lean back and pat my belly in sated bliss upon consumption. Having the recipe be quick and easy certainly doesn’t hurt either. This vegan patty whips up in the food processor in just a minute or two, but then it meets all of my requirements for an excellent burger as well. When paired with the olive and tomato relish, a smear of bright lemon basil pesto, and warm feta cheese (or not if you’re vegan) it all comes together into a savory, complex combination of flavors that truly satisfies a rumbling tummy.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

There are two key factors that contribute to the texture of these burgers. Obviously one of them is going to be the ingredients. I blend farro into the mix for a nice bit of chew throughout, and at the last minute I also add in roasted, salted pumpkin seeds for just a little bit of crunch. The second factor is properly combining the ingredients. Don’t go crazy and pulverize your ingredients into an nondescript, beige paste. Small pieces of chickpea, bits of chewy grain, and whole seeds will give your burger a much nicer bite. When your patties are formed you should be able to identify most of the recipe’s components. If it looks like a chunk of slice-and-bake sugar cookie dough you’ve definitely gone too far.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

Mediterranean Veggie Burger
Serves 4
Quick to make and packed with flavor, these vegan burgers make a great weeknight meal.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 15oz can of chickpeas, drained
  2. 1 cup cooked farro (I use a pre-cooked farro/rice blend by Village Harvest, but whatever hearty grain you have on hand should work fine)
  3. 1 garlic clove, chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon tahini
  5. 1 rounded tablespoon nutritional yeast
  6. 1/2 tablespoon egg replacer powder or corn starch
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  9. 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  10. Salt, to taste (amount varies depending on whether you’re canned chickpeas are salted – I used about 1/4 of a teaspoon)
  11. 1/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
Instructions
  1. Place everything except for the pumpkin seeds into the food processor and pulse until combined, but still chunky.
  2. Add pumpkin seeds and pulse a little bit more. I personally prefer most of the seeds to remain intact, so one or two quick blitzes does the trick for me.
  3. Divide mixture into four equal pieces and shape into patties. If desired you can cover and transfer to the refrigerator to cook later.
  4. Heat a small amount of olive oil or cooking spray in a nonstick skillet and sear your patties on each side.
  5. Serve on toasted bun with tomato olive topping (recipe below), pesto spread, greens, and if you’re not vegan, melted cheese (I used a blend of havarti and feta).
Calories
  1. 236
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Olive Tomato Relish
Serves 4
The combination of sweet tomatoes and salty olives is a perfect addition to the smoky flavors in the burger.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 16 cherry tomatoes, diced
  2. 8 kalamata olives, minced (about half the size of your tomatoes)
  3. 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  4. Fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl.
  2. Serve on top of your burger.
Calories
  1. 34
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Mediterranean Veggie Burger


Taco Pizza

   

For those times when you can’t decide between taco night or pizza night, may I present for your consideration – Taco Pizza Night! I love this recipe because it’s high in protein and easy to throw together. Not only that, but you can scale the calories back to 170 calories per slice (340 calories for 1/3 of a 10-inch pizza) by using a reduced fat cheese and leaving off the avocado. Personally I think the 205 calories per slice is totally manageable in my diet though… and I never like to forgo the real deal when it comes to cheese! If you’re looking for a simple weeknight meal that can be whipped up in under half an hour, then this pizza should make its way into your oven and then into your mouth.

Taco Pizza

One of the things that makes this meal so easy to prepare is the use of a pre-made pizza crust. For the longest time I used whole grain lavash sheets to make a lower calorie variation on traditional pizza – like with my Quick Low Calorie Flatbread. Then I made an awesome discovery. One evening while doing my grocery shopping I came across the par-baked crusts from Pizza Romana and was shocked to see that the entire crust was only 300 calories. For comparison, a Boboli 8″ personal pizza crust is 380 calories while the 12″ pizza crust is over 1000 calories. The Pizza Romana crusts are about 10″ wide and made with very basic ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, oil). It makes for a perfect blank canvas to host an array of pizza toppings, and of course it worked wonderfully in this taco pizza. I’m able to find these at Central Market in Dallas – other HEB stores may carry them as well. If you cannot find these crusts in your area, Amazon happens to sell them by the 6-pack but the shipping cost is kind of ridonkulous. Another option would be making use of lavash as I did in my previous pizza recipe, or any other thin flatbreads that are readily available to you. And of course if you don’t care about the calories… by all means use whatever crust you want! Just make note that this could affect the overall cooking time.

Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza
Serves 3
A simple-to-prepare weeknight pizza that’s full of flavor.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 premade pizza crust (I used the one by Pizza Romana)
  2. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  3. 1 small yellow onion, diced
  4. 1/2-1 jalapeño pepper, diced (remove seeds for less heat)
  5. 1 mini sweet red pepper, diced (or 1/2 bell pepper)
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1/2 package or 1 1/2 cups vegetarian burger crumbles, thawed (I used Morningstar Farms)
  8. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  9. 1/4 cup water
  10. 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  11. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  12. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  13. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  14. 2 1/2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  15. 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  16. 1/2 avocado, sliced (or cubed depending on your preference)
  17. Chopped cilantro & green onion for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450F (or whatever temperature your packaged crust suggests.)
  2. Using half a teaspoon of your olive oil, rub it along the outer edge of your prepared pizza crust. Lightly sprinkle with salt if desired. I find this gives a nicer texture and flavor to the crust when it comes out of the oven.
  3. Heat the remaining half teaspoon of olive oil on medium high heat in a nonstick skillet.
  4. Put onions, peppers, and garlic in the oil and let cook for a few minutes until soft and fragrant.
  5. Add burger crumbles, tomato paste, water, and seasonings to the pan. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle about half of the cheese onto your pizza crust. Since there is no sauce the cheese will act as a “glue” to hold your toppings in place. Evenly distribute the taco crumbles over the top of the cheese and then top with the remaining shredded cheddar.
  7. Place pizza directly on the oven rack and bake for 6-8 minutes or until the edges of the crust are crisp and golden. Use your crust’s package instructions as a guideline for cooking time.
  8. Remove from oven and top with fresh tomato, avocado, and herbs.
Calories
  1. 415
Notes
  1. Calories listed are for 2 slices or 1/3 of the whole pizza.
Variations
  1. Non vegetarians can brown 1/2 a pound of ground beef in place of the crumbles. Make sure to drain off excess grease before seasoning. I calculated the calorie info subbing in 80% lean ground beef and the calories/protein content were almost exactly the same as the original.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Taco Pizza

 

 

 


Veggie Burger

   

It was National Cheeseburger Day, and just because we’re vegetarian didn’t mean we wanted to miss out! Jah, a self proclaimed connoisseur of veggie burgers said this was the best one he’d ever eaten. That is not a compliment I take lightly because I know how much that guy digs veggie burgers. I had some leftover beans from the recipe that I used in a tasty three bean dip a couple of days later. That recipe is coming soon as well – but in the mean time I seriously suggest giving these homemade burger patties a try. It’s totally worth topping with the smoked gouda as well, especially if you’re a gouda monster like me. :)

 

Veggie Burger w/ Smoked Gouda & Green Bean “Fries”
Serves 4
This veggie burger turned out to be the best I’d ever eaten, and I’ve eaten a lot of them!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. For the patty:

  2. 1 Cup Reduced Sodium Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  3. ¾ Cup Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  4. ½ Cup Ground Beef Style Tofurky
  5. ¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  6. 1/8 Cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  7. ¼ Cup Rolled Oats, dry
  8. 1 Jalapeno Pepper, diced (remove seeds for milder flavor)
  9. ½ Purple Onion, diced
  10. 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  11. 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  12. ½ Teaspoon Dried Cilantro
  13. 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  14. 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  15. 1 Teaspoon Braggs (could use soy sauce if you don’t have any)
  16. 1 Teaspoon Ener-g Egg Replacer (corn starch would be fine if you don’t have it)
  17. Salt & Pepper, to taste

  18. For assembly:

  19. 4 Teaspoons Butter
  20. 4 Ounces Smoked Gouda
  21. 4 Whole Grain Hamburger Buns, toasted
  22. 8 Strips Morningstar Farms Veggie Bacon
  23. Sliced Tomato & Lettuce, enough for topping

  24. For the "fries":

  25. 4 Cups Fresh Green Beans, washed, dried, and ends removed
  26. 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  27. Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Heat olive oil in nonstick skillet and cook the jalapeno, onion, and garlic until translucent.
  3. In a food processor combine all patty ingredients except for ¼ cup of the black beans and ¼ cup of the kidney beans. Pulse until mixture comes together and is well blended. If you like you can add some salt or additional dried seasonings at this point.
  4. Add the remaining beans and pulse just a couple of times – you want them to be mostly whole.
  5. Begin forming the patties with your hands. You should have enough of the mixture to make four. Place on a plate, cover, and refrigerate while you prepare the green beans.
  6. In a large bowl toss the green beans with olive oil and seasonings until well coated. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring around occasionally. They should be crispy and slightly caramelized.
  7. While the green beans are baking, cook your veggie bacon strips in a nonstick skillet until hot and slightly crispy. Cut in half and set aside.
  8. On medium high heat melt one teaspoon of butter. When hot, place your burger patty on the skillet and cover. Let sear for about 3 minutes and flip to the other side, making sure to get any buttery goodness off the pan and onto your patty. Cook the other side for another 3-4 minutes. Repeat process for other 3 patties.
  9. Place patties on cookie sheet (I used the same one I prepared the beans on after transferring the beans to a plate) and top each burger with 4 bacon strip halves plus 1 ounce of smoked gouda. Broil for a couple of minutes until cheese is hot and bubbly.
  10. Assemble burgers with lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, or whatever else floats your hamburgery boat! Enjoy with green bean “fries”.
Calories
  1. 474
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/