Category: burger

The Un-Burger (Roasted Portobello Burger with Sprouted Seeds & Avocado)

Summertime – a season that is synonymous with renewal and resetting. School is out, and, if you’re lucky, work has slowed down. The sun shines more often, casting an upbeat vibe that engulfs the entire city. The winter doldrums have passed, and it is time to come out of hibernation and dive into new ventures and discoveries. Days are longer, skirts are shorter, smiles are wider. Tucked away is the crock-pot, and rolled out is the Barbecue. Food is lighter, and refreshment is at the top of the priority list. What better way to refresh and renew than to eat live, raw vegan food? Now, I’m not talking about a 100% raw diet. While that might appeal to some, it is certainly not for all (for many different reasons that I won’t get into here.) However, incorporating more raw vegan components into your daily diet is almost certain to make you feel pretty darn good.

Eating live food is a stepping stone to hitting that refresh button on your body. Some benefits of eating raw: raw food is cool. Not hipster-cool, but literally cool – temperature wise! Eating cool foods more often is said to reduce inflammation in the body and reduce stomach irritations. Furthermore, many raw foods are known to contain certain good-for-you enzymes that are lost in cooking. There is a lot of conflicting information out there about raw diets, and a lot of bias, as there often is in the agricultural industry. However, as with anything, in moderation, there are definitely benefits to eating this way.

My first experience with full-out raw vegan was at a restaurant earlier this week called Crudessence. What intrigues and attracts me the most to this dietary choice is the incredible creativity that goes into preparing such meals. For example, I went in asking myself, what would a “wrap” possibly be made out of? Seaweed and rice paper! Well of COURSE that stuff is raw – but I never thought of it that way before. This experienced opened me up to trying even more new things. I started sprouting my own seeds. I tasted nutritional yeast (surprisingly delicious, slightly reminiscent of tempura flakes). And, I made quite a few rice paper and seaweed wraps.

And then, I made this: The Un-burger. Now, it is not completely raw, as I roasted the mushrooms. (Portobellos should not really be eaten raw due to possible carcinogens that are killed in the cooking process. Which brings me back to the point of how a 100% raw diet is not ideal.) In making this, I found a place to incorporate both my sprouted beans AND my nutritional yeast. Ok, and I added some Veganase. So I guess this isn’t REALLY all that raw at all… BUT it is vegan. And it is DE-LI-CIOUS.
Make it and see for yourself!

Roasted Portobello Burger with Sprouted Seeds & Avocado
note: I sprouted my own seeds for this. Very easy, and very tasty. So much fresher than the sprouts that come already packaged at the store! I use the hemp sprouting bag as I find it’s the quickest method, and it yields the best results. For more information about sprouting, visit Sproutman’s website, full of useful tips and tricks! 

what you’ll need
for the burgers:
2 portobello caps
2 tsp grapeseed or olive oil
pinch salt, freshly ground pepper
for the topping:
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup arugula (aka roquette/rocket)
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional, but delicious!)
1/4 cup sprouted seeds/beans
2 tbsp Vegenaise or mayonaise

how to do it
Preheat oven to 350F. Rub portobellos with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in parchment (creating a papillote) and place in shallow baking dish. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until desired tenderness is reached. Toss beans, avocado and nutritional yeast together. Divide greens over two plates and place burgers on top. Spread each burger with Vegenaise/mayo and top with mixture.
Eat and enjoy!

Eat Your Veggies (and your burgers, too!)

Veggie burgers are not hamburger substitutes, I don’t care what any restaurant claims. You can fire grill it, BBQ it, smother it with ketchup until you can barely taste it, but in the end, it’s just not a beef patty. It’s a veggie patty. Now, to my knowledge, chicken burgers do not try to be beef burgers and broccoli doesn’t attempt to replace steak. So I must ask then, why do so many ground soy products strive to be “just like beef?” When I eat veggie burgers, I do so because I enjoy the burger itself. I do not eat them in order to replace a hamburger. If I wanted a hamburger, I’d eat a hamburger. A major factor that sent me on the path to vegetarianism was that I did not enjoy the taste nor the texture of meat – so why on earth would I want to eat a highly processed product that was masquerading around, pretending to be that demon that I tried so hard to avoid?

That being said, let me tell you something about veggie burgers – some of them, and I emphasize some, are really quite delicious. It’s when people begin to expect that their veggie burger should taste like meat that they are disappointed, and all possibilities of enjoyment are thrown out the window. The thing that makes veggie burgers fun is that there are so many different varieties that can be prepared.  My all time favorite vegetarian burger was one made of lentils. I feasted on this fantastic creation at a trendy comfort-chic spot in Montreal – a place where you can order a 20$ hamburger alongside a glass of Dom Perignon, all off of a menu that’s written on a chalkboard.
I really love this city.

Today, inspired by my “buy-nothing” week, a long and deep stare into my kitchen pantry brought me to the conclusion that I stock a lot of beans and legumes, but I rarely eat them. I decided it was time to change that. A little inspiration from the January issue of Chatelaine is allowing me to present to you, the superfantastic Pinto & Black Bean Burger! At about 150 calories each, chock full of fibre, and of course, filled with the antioxidant power of black beans, you’ll wonder how on earth something that is so good for you can be so delicious!

GLUTEN FREE NOTE: You can make this gluten free by omitting the breadcrumbs and substituting a few crushed gluten-free crackers instead. 

Two Bean Burger
adapted from Chatelaine magazine
what you’ll need
1/2 cup uncooked short pasta
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 of a 540 mL can pinto beans, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1/2 of a 540 mL can black beans, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1/4 cup ketchup or bbq sauce, or both
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (more if batter is too sticky).
2 tbsp oil (for cooking)
how to do it
Cook pasta in until very soft, 15 min.  Drain cooked pasta and rinse under cold running water. Dry pasta with paper towels, soaking up as much water as possible. Place pasta, onion, pinto beans, ketchup, cilantro, garlic, juice and salt in a large food processor. Pulse until smooth. Stir in black beans and breadcrumbs. Shape into patties. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium. Add 1 tbsp oil, then 3 patties. Cook for 3 min, then flip patties and cook until firm, about 3 more min. Repeat with remaining oil and patties. Serve on a bun, or with a sauce or gravy on top!