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!

EpicOrganic.net

Kale and Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

If you would have asked me to eat a “root vegetable” last year, I’d have gagged and said no way, even though I had no idea what root vegetables were. Roots? Just sounds bad. It turns out, though, that I really like the root veggies that I’ve tried since going organic! (For the record, the root veggies in question for this recipe are onions, carrots, garlic, and sweet potatoes). Yum!

The “firsts” for me in this vegan-friendly recipe include:

  • First time I’ve cooked with or eaten kale
  • First time I’ve made beans from dried and not from a can
  • First time I’ve made soup from scratch
  • First time I’ve worn my new Asics GT 2150 running shoes

OK, so the shoes are probably irrelevant to the recipe, but they sure are comfy! And hopefully, they’ll not cause blisters the way my old gym shoes did.

The recipe below comes from Emily’s blog – The Front Burner. Check out her recap – she takes much better food photos than I do, and explains every step in detail. This soup covers a slew of nutritional bases – it’s a good source of Vitamin B6, Folate and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese. It’s low fat, with no saturated fat and no cholesterol.

On with the cooking!

First, I should explain that I did not use canned beans for this recipe. As part of this week’s homework in the GNOWFGLINS e-course on traditional food preparation, we were to make beans from scratch. I bought some dried navy beans at Whole Foods yesterday, so to prepare for this recipe, I soaked 2/3 cup of dry beans in water with a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar. I soaked the beans overnight, then this morning, rinsed them and put them in the crock pot to cook on high for an hour then on low for 6 more hours. I added a thumb-sized chunk of kombu (a sea vegetable) to the crock pot during cooking to tenderize the beans and break down some of the sugars in them that tend to make them… gassy. Kombu also imparts some mineral goodness. By the time I was ready to cook dinner, the beans were ready to go.

The next step was to chop up carrots and a sweet potato and stick ’em in the oven to roast. They didn’t look very exciting so I didn’t take a picture.

Up next: the stranger in my fridge, Kale. (No, not Kato). Here’s what it looked like, fresh from the bunch:

kaleThe recipe instructed me to pull the leaves from the stems. I wondered all the while if I was doing it right….

Peeling kale leaves from stemsI sure had a lot of kale…. the leaves reminded me of a cross between broccoli and seaweed. (Maybe I just had seaweed on the brain from my recent trip to Whole Foods).

Next I chopped up an onion and minced some garlic and sauteed them for a few minutes before throwing in the roasted carrots and sweet potato.

Roasted veggies awaiting kaleThen, in went the vegetable broth, and then the kale. The kale was huge and fluffy in the pot! I feared I was messing the whole thing up, but I took Emily’s word for it that the kale would wilt. I covered the pot and let it simmer for 10 minutes. At the 5 minute mark, I was still pretty nervous – the kale was huge! I think I might have had a little too much kale to begin with, so I added 1 cup of water. That helped, because by the end of 10 minutes, I could stir the kale into the mix and it was starting to look like soup.

I added the seasonings and simmered for 5 more minutes (ready to jump out of my new shoes because it smelled SO GOOD!)

When the soup was done, I ladled it into a bowl and topped it with a dollop of homemade guacamole that I had in the fridge. (Emily recommends topping with chunks of avocado). I slathered some Earth Balance spread onto a slice of my homemade sourdough bread, and…

Dinner!

Kale soupAll I can say is… this soup was AWESOME!! So tasty! My first impression of kale: thumbs up! Kale is a form of cabbage, a relative of cauliflower and broccoli. It’s a highly nutritious, dark leafy green, and has good anti-inflammatory properties and is believed to have potent anti-cancer properties as well. In this soup, it tasted mild – almost sweet. It’s a hearty green – good for chewing!

For all of its nutrition, a big ol’ bowl of this soup clocks in around 235 calories. I can’t wait for the leftovers! 100% delish.

[recipe-show recipe=kale-soup]

EpicOrganic.net

Pasta and Bolognese Sauce

Tonight, after checking out the Hadley Valley Preserve trail for the first time (it’s nice! A 2.5 mile looping trail through prairie), I tried out another one of Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious recipes: Pasta and Bolognese Sauce (with Stealth Ninja Sweet Potatoes). This one is healthy all around, with a bunch of carrots in there, too!

I suffered a false start on this one, as I got the onion and carrots all chopped up and in the skillet, then minced a couple garlic cloves right into the pot – only to find that my garlic had gone bad while I was away last week. Oh well. Tossed it all out and started over!

Instead of garlic cloves (I didn’t trust what I had left), I used 1 tsp of Garlic Earth Italian garlic salt – an organic seasoning that my friend Becky makes.

Score another winner for the Stealth Ninja Vegetable Experiment, and another winner for all organic ingredients! This one was so tasty I very nearly licked my plate clean. Highly recommended, and easy to throw together.

The recipe serves 8, so I immediately froze half of the sauce after dinner, then portioned the remaining 3 portions in the fridge for leftovers. I love a recipe that I can get some mileage out of!

[recipe-show recipe=pasta-bolognese]

EpicOrganic.net