Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vegan Quinoa Burgers

Click image for larger view

Today, we're going to bake and cook healthy things with the help of my friend, Jen, a registered dietitian, who coincidentally showed up a little late to our kitchen extravaganza because she was hung over. She'll probably kill me when she reads this post but hopefully she'll still be in that honeymoon afterglow phase (she just got married to a nice fellow a few weeks ago) where everything and everyone is wonderful and beautiful.  If not, I'm sure I'll get a text from her in all bold letters later on. I have to say though, she's a real trouper because we baked, cooked, and took photos in the kitchen for over 5 hours. Jen, thanks putting up with me being all bossy for so long. You're a good sport!

So, I told myself that I would try to start eating healthier foods and get my butt back to the gym because I dared a couple of people on Twitter to do the same.  We're supposed to meet up in New York City around this same time next year and show off our fit bodies. Girlfriends, I'm telling you, I'm not showing up unless I've knocked off quite a few pounds off of this chubby body! Thus the challenge, lose weight or, or....well, show up fat lol. I don't want to do that! 

Lately, I've taken to checking out tons of cookbooks from the library (around 30) and started pouring through them in search of healthy recipes. I found two recipes for sweet potato fries (which I will post separately) and one for quinoa burgers. I'll do a review of the cookbooks that I thought were the best in another post. Gee, I'm such a tease, baiting you like that, but honestly, I think you'll find the information helpful. 

For some reason I'm fixated on quinoa. It looks so much like birdseed that I find it hard to believe that it's actually very good for you.  Jen calls it a "super food" because it is a complete protein, has no cholesterol, is low in fat, high in vitamins and minerals, and it's gluten-free. I just like it because it looks weird and tastes good.

Anyway, I found the recipe for Quinoa Burgers in the book, Vegan Diner: Classic Comfort Food for the Body & Soul.  I strongly encourage you to give it a try.  The burgers are very, very, flavorful.  Next time I make them I'm going to substitute parsley with mushrooms because I'm not a big parsley fan.  Although, I have to say that the parsley didn't overpower any of the other flavors like I expected it would.  It was a very nice complimentary flavor.  I just happen to like mushrooms better.

Here is the recipe:
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
12 ounces, chickpeas (about 1-1/2 cups) canned or homemade drained
1/2 cup quick oats (not instant)
1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 tsp poultry seasoning or favorite spice blend
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsps Bragg Liquid Aminos (Soy sauce substitute) or soy sauce
2 tbsps chickpea flour (I substituted whole wheat flour)
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Brown rice flour or whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour, for dusting
Olive oil, for cooking
Hamburger buns, for serving
Lettuce or salad greens, for serving
Slice tomato, for serving
Sliced onion, for serving

In bowl of a food processor, add the onion and garlic and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the chickpeas and oats, and pulse until well mixed.  Don't puree the mixture.

Remove the mixture to a large mixing bowl, and stir in the quinoa, parsley, poultry seasoning, smoked paprika, soy sauce, and chickplea flour. Since I couldn't find any chickpea flour, I used whole wheat flour.  Also, I highly recommend you splurge and use smoked paprika ($4.99 for a little bottle in the spice section) and not substitute it with regular paprika. The smoked variety really adds a lot of yummy flavor.

Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed to help the burger mixture stick together. You don't want to make the mixture too moist though.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Thoroughly mix the ingredients well, cover the bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Form the burger mixture into 6 balls, and press into 3-1/2 to 4-inch patties.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and lightly coat or spray with olive oil.  Place the whole wheat flour (The recipe calls for using brown rice flour to dust the patties but I used whole wheat flour) on a small plate and dust the burgers on all sides.  Add the burgers to the frying pan.  Cook patties for about 5 minutes, or until nicely browned and crispy.  Reduce the heat to medium, if necessary, to continue cooking without burning.  Add more olive oil as necessary, to keep the burgers from sticking.  Flip burgers over and cook on the other side.  Repeat with the remaining burgers.

Remove the burgers from the frying pan and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Letting the burgers rest will give them a better texture.

Jen, trying her hand at photographing the burger.

Serve the burgers on a bun with all the fixings; lettuce, tomato, avocado, and onion.  We had ours with sweet potato fries! Yummy! 

For dessert, we had wonderful low fat Banana Chocolate Bread that Jen baked.  She'll post the recipe with photographs on her blog, Well Nourished, sometime soon. You'll have to check it out!



  1. I've made something like this for Mz.Zling, I call it cardboard shitburgers because i'm crass but she loves them. Mushroom, blackbeans, gabanzo flour burgers but now i'm going to give these puppies a try.

  2. looks beautiful AND tasty! great photos.

    i _am_ a fan of the birdseed - black, red, and regular - and so love most recipes with it. something simple like cooked quinoa with a side of fresh romaine lettuce drizzled in goddess dressing is RIDICULOUSLY delicious. *swoon*

    recently, my girlfriend has determined that we should live/eat much healthier lives so this recipe is absolutely on my list. and i'm waiting on those sweet potato fries...