There are some thing that the Veg community tries to keep secret. Well, I’m about to let the cat out of the bag: most vegan burgers suck.
I know, because I’ve tried about 10,000 of them. While most are OK and can pass for a decent patty filled with vegetables and beans, none are convincing anyone to give up their favorite hamburger.
At least not in my experience. It’s funny, before giving it up, I was never a big meat person. Chicken was whatever, I never liked pork, and fish was delicious but rare. Beef though, yum, I used to love steaks and burgers.
I went back and forth between being vegetarian and not for a few years before I finally gave it up for good… it was always the burgers that pulled me back. And so my quest was born- a delicious, meaty vegan burger that rivals any un-kind one.
While this isn’t going to fool anyone into thinking it’s beef, it’s pretty damn good. Hearty, full of savory, umami flavors thanks to the addition of roasted eggplant, mushrooms, and caramelized onions. Yes, this will take a bit longer to make than your usual black bean patties but they are worth it. Just make a bunch and freeze.
You’ll then be ready for cookouts all summer long.
1 lb. button mushrooms, halved
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 small japanese eggplant, chopped into 2″ pieces.
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup arborio rice
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 cup toasted cashews
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms and eggplant with 1/4 cup oil, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and pinch salt and pepper. Wrap the mushrooms and eggplant in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, until mushrooms are browned and eggplant softened. Remove from oven and let cool.
Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring 3 cups vegetable broth to a boil. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the Arborio rice and stir until lightly toasted. Add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and stir until all liquid is absorbed. Continue to add liquid, 1/2 cup at a time until risotto is al-dente. You may not need all the liquid. Let cool and place into a large bowl.
In a food processor, combine 1/2 cup white beans, flour, baking powder, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and eggplant. Process until a paste forms. Add mixture to bowl with risotto.
Add the remaining white beans to the food processor along with the cashews and mushrooms. Pulse into a mixture forms, finely chopped but still course in texture. Add to the risotto mix.
Lastly, add the cooled onion and celery mixture to the food processor and pulse 10 times. Add to the risotto bowl and mix together until completely mixed.
Since you’ve done so much work- you can refrigerate the mixture for up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months in a sealed air-tight bag.
Season to taste.
Add breadcrumbs and mix in with your hands. Once you add the breadcrumbs, start to form the patties. You don’t want the breadcrumbs to become soggy.
Bring a skillet or grill to medium-high heat. Lightly spray and add the patties. Flip burgers after 4-5 minutes, until bottom is lightly-browned. Cook another 4-5 minutes. Serve!
For an awesome treat, top with caramelized onions.
Now that temperatures have officially hit 90°, I’m more than ready to start introducing BBQ sandwiches into my diet again.
I’ve discussed my dilemma with most veggie burgers multiple times; most of the time they don’t live up to the hype and definitely don’t impress my omnivore friends. Thankfully, these BBQ sandwiches are not only perfect for a cookout, they are meaty and hearty as well. Tempeh is the perfect meat-alternative here. While I prefer making my own, store bought tempeh will do just fine. If your grocery store doesn’t stock tempeh- why not ask the produce manager? I couldn’t get it at our local Safeway so I asked the manager a few times and voila- they now stock it!
My stubbornness often works out.
No respectable BBQ sandwich is complete without coleslaw so I made this in batch in less than 10 minutes. Shredded coleslaw, carrots, little bit of Veganaise, splash of white vinegar, salt and pepper and you have homemade coleslaw by the time your tempeh is ready. If you want to make this dish even easier, thin out your favorite bottled BBQ sauce and pour over the chopped tempeh. Bake as directed below.
I liked this sandwich with big chunks of BBQ’ed tempeh but BL preferred the tempeh chopped even smaller. Oh that Midwest boy!
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 tbsp. cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. chipotle powder
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1.5 tsp. cumin
Whisk all ingredients together.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Chop tempeh into whatever size you prefer. I slice it in 1/2, then in 1/2 width wise, then into strips. Lightly spray a glass pan. Add tempeh bits and pour BBQ sauce over, reserving 1/4 cup. Gently shake so that all tempeh pieces are covered.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until browned and caramelized. Remove tempeh from pan and toss with reserved 1/4 cup BBQ sauce.
Assemble the sammy! You know how to do this, right?
Happy Monday! Hope you all had an exciting weekend. I am completely in the Christmas mood now. I spent Saturday shopping with girlfriends in the morning and then my annual cookie exchange that evening. Yesterday I put on more holiday movies, recipe tested and wrapped presents.
I am always on the hunt for new lunch ideas. Since BL and I both pack our lunches (and sometimes dinner) daily, even favorite combinations can get boring quickly. I made this wrap last weekend after a very successful day of decorating our place for Christmas. Tart, creamy, filling, it was exactly what I wanted. Don’t like cranberry? Try mixing strawberry or cherry jam with cream cheese instead.
Mmmmm. I can’t get enough. I used this cranberry-cheese spread on pretty much everything last week. Toast, bagels, english muffins, apple slices, it’s the perfect way to enjoy a bit of holiday cheer almost every day.
Let’s get to it!
Start by making the cranberry spread. Mix 1 tbsp. cream cheese with 1 tbsp. cranberry sauce. Combine until no lumps of cream cheese still remain.
Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the Lavash wrap.
Place cooked tenders onto the cranberry spread.
Toss 1 cup mixed greens with 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp. olive oil. Add 2 tbsp. chopped walnuts and salt/pepper. Combine and place onto tenders.
Start slowly from the short end of the wrap and tightly roll.
This is one of those recipes where I contemplate the actual need to post. It’s a pretty basic vegetarian sandwich: spread, tofu, and grilled vegetables on a hearty bun. Nothing too out of the ordinary but the simplicity and the perfect combination do warrant it’s own page.
I’ve been in quite the sandwich mood lately and needed a reason to use up my still producing basil plant. If your like me, ready for fall but not ready to give up summer favorites like eggplant, tomatoes, and basil you must try this sandwich. I made a bunch of the ingredients and packed them for work last week. Whenever cravings or mealtime struck, I was able to quickly assemble a gourmet sandwich in a matter of minutes.
Creamy Basil & Eggplant Sandwiches
Ingredients: (make 4 sandwiches)
4 whole wheat hoagie rolls
1 globe (Italian) eggplant, sliced 1/4-1/2″ thick
1 tomato, sliced
1 package extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. cup olive oil
1 tbsp. all purpose seasoning (Like 21 Salute)
1 cup basil, packed
1/4 cup mayo (Veganaise is the best!)
To make the basil spread: finely chop the basil leaves. Combine with mayo and juice of 1 lemon. Set aside. Alternatively, you can combine the basil, mayo, and lemon juice in a food processor/blender.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet. Combine the all-purpose seasoning, pinch salt, and 2 tbsp. olive oil in a small dish. Brush the eggplant slices with the olive oil mixture and place in the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes each side until translucent on the inside and lightly crisp on the edges.
Squeeze the water out of the tofu and slice into 1/2″ slices. Combine the juice of the other lemon, olive oil, and pinch salt/pepper. Place the tofu in a baking sheet and cover with lemon marinade. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread the basil sauce on either side of the hoagie roll. Layer with eggplant, tofu, tomato slices.