My call to cook usually strikes when I’m scanning my fridge and cupboards, running images through my mind of what could be used up and what needs to go. If you find yourself in this predicament with some wilting greens, too many bags of grains open or herbs or other vegetables that needs rejuvenation, cooking them all together in a hodge podge manner is savvy and a quick outlet to culinary creativity. Throw sad looking greens into stir fry or soup, revamp root vegetables with a quick mash to turn into griddle cakes, or try to turn that tub of brown or white rice that’s been sitting in the fridge all bland and lonely into a rice pudding dessert or lovely breakfast porridge. The opportunities for turning food over into something delicious rather than waste is at the core of how I decide what to cook and eat.
With these veggie burgers, I was inspired by half a sweet potato, some leftover cilantro and a couple of cans of beans in the pantry. These are my first attempt at such a creation and in the development of this recipe I had a few factors in mind-the need for a binding agent, something to provide protein, and a choice of vegetables that would offer texture and bite. With these things in mind, the possibilities for a burger are endless-add hummus, ground or whole nuts, rice, or different kind of beans. I am not a vegetarian but I do enjoy devouring veggie filled meals. Protein in these little burgers primarily comes in the form of the quinoa grain (which contains essential amino acids) and black beans, both of which are high in fiber and iron. The quinoa, mashed beans and sweet potato provide the binding and toothsome factor of the burger. Lots of spices and the combination of cooked and fresh onion and pepper make this a super satisfying meal. Adding in fresh pepper and onion into the cooked mixture adds crunch alongside the chew of the sundried tomatoes, providing another dimension of texture and flavor that veggie burgers can often lack. These came together fast enough to start cooking for lunch and end up eating a half hour later.
My favorite way to eat is in the form of bowls, so naturally I took one of these for lunch on a bed of spinach, topped with plain greek yogurt, a drizzle of tahini and salsa. The soft nature of these would also make this a great mixture to serve as a filling for an empanada, burrito, or wrap sandwich.
Makes about 7 burgers
½ cooked sweet potato, skin off
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 medium sized green pepper
Handful sun dried tomatoes
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cloves garlic
1 medium sized red onion
1 bunch cilantro
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning
½ tsp sea salt, a few dashes liquid smoke
½ cup almond flour
1 egg, beaten
1// Dice up the red onion and green pepper, mince the garlic. Saute ½ of the green pepper and ½ of the red onion with a tablespoon of olive oil and garlic. Cook until soft, and then add the sweet potato (mashed) and sundried tomatoes (diced). Cook until heated through.
2// In another bowl, mash the black beans and combine with sweet potato mixture. Add in other the rest of the fresh diced green pepper and red onion. Add the fresh cilantro to your taste.
3// Mix in 2 cups of cooked quinoa into the cooked veg, then stir in your spices. I chose to use a beaten egg to help aid in binding the mixture into patty forms. For a vegan option, you could substitute 1 tablespoon flax seed with 3 tablespoons water to create a flax egg.
4// Add in almond flour until desired consistency is achieved. The mixture should be firm but not too dry. Form into patties and cook about 1-2 minutes a side in a sauté pan with oil until crisped. Serve on greens or as a sandwich. Toppings that go well with these southwest flavors could be some avocado, sour cream, salsa, and tahini. These keep well in the fridge and can be spruced up with another heat through on a pan.