A Twist on Baked Beans

It’s grilling season! What’s the one thing you always find at a summertime cookout? Baked beans.

I just tried baked beans for the first time this summer. I know – all these years, you’d think they’d have been one of my favorite foods – so sweet and smoky. But no. I thought they looked weird. Strange color. Mushy. So I never tried them. But when I finally did (since this is the Year of Trying New Foods), whaddya know – I loved ’em. Doggone it.

So last night when I dug through my produce drawers in the fridge to see what had to be used up, imagine my glee when I found a couple corn on the cob! (Corns on the cob? Corn on the cobs? Whatever!) I’ll take any excuse these days to throw veggies on the grill.

What goes great with grilled corn on the cob? A grilled veggie burger or veggie dog, of course! (I went veggie burger, to have an excuse to try out a new jar of pickles I got at the Lockport Farmers’ Market – a spicy dill pickle). And… baked beans!

I was feeling creative as I dug through the pantry, so instead of whipping up traditional baked beans, I went with a new twist on an old favorite: BBQ baked lentils.

These took a little while to prepare, as the lentils take a half hour to cook, and then the baking process takes another hour – but really, I only spent 5 minutes or so actually tending to the prep. The rest of the time was unattended cook time. So, they’re easy! If you plan ahead just a bit to fit them into your schedule, they’re well worth the wait.

Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein (third highest behind soybeans and hemp). When not going with the traditional cookout meal, I could see having these lentils on top of a salad or in a wrap (hmmm that may have to be my lunch today!) They’d even be good mixed with some brown rice and a side of greens for a complete protein and some vitamin C to help with the absorption of all that good iron in the lentils.

Behold: a typical summertime meal!

bbq baked lentils

[recipe-show recipe=bbq-baked-lentils]

Garden Lentil Burgers

Who needs meat when the lentil burgers taste this good?!

I’m sitting out of the GNOWFGLINS e-course this week, as they’re covering chicken and I’m now 3 weeks into eating vegetarian, but I still did some cooking in the traditional vein. I made a recipe from the GNOWFGLINS web site – garden lentil patties – which I made into garden lentil burgers! They turned out incredibly flavorful and filling. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

First, I soaked dried lentils overnight with some raw apple cider vinegar. (This helps to neutralize the phytic acid in them and improves the absorption of the lentils’ nutrients). I’m new to lentils – to my knowledge, I’ve never had them before, so I had no idea what to expect.

lentils soakingThen I drained and rinsed the lentils and put them on the stove with some fresh water to simmer. While they simmered, I prepped the veggies: carrots, celery, red pepper, and… dang it, I forgot the onion. Oh well. It made for a very colorful bowl of yum, though!

prepped veggiesOnce the lentils were done, I added the rest of the ingredients – some oats, some Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, tomato paste, extra virgin olive oil – and mixed it all up. My hands were way too messy to get any pictures!

I tried my best to mash the mix into patties, but I wasn’t having very good luck. Most of my patties fell apart on the baking sheet. I guess I’m not a very strong patty-maker. Maybe a little more oats would have helped hold them together? I’m not sure. Here’s what they looked like after their first half of time in the oven:

Lentil burgers cookingI then flipped them over, and only a few survived the flip. I had mostly lentil crumbles instead of lentil patties! A couple did stick together pretty well. Not sure what my magic trick was on those ones!

The recipe made 13 patties – I probably should have cut it in half, since I’m only feeding moi. I put one of the better-looking patties on an organic whole wheat bun (Rudi’s ftw!) and added a little veganaise and onion seasoning on top (since I forgot the onions). Served it with some organic spring greens with a little organic caesar dressing, and voila: dinner!

lentil burgersThey may not look pretty, but this burger was delicious! It will definitely make it into regular rotation in my kitchen.

Each patty has about 200 calories (assuming you get 13 out of your recipe, like I did), 6g fat, 29g carbs (8g fiber), 9g protein, and a boatload of vitamins – 45% of your daily Vitamin A, 32% Vitamin C, and 15% of your Iron, amongst others. Yum!