Recently I had a good friend tell me that she and her husband were making the switch to veganism. They went from being meat eaters to vegan over-night... and all because of having read a book called The China Study. I have not read the book yet. But I've heard about it and have read about others making changes in their diets because of it. (Perhaps it should be on my must-read list?) Then again, maybe there are things that I'd like to stay naive about just a little bit longer... I'm not sure that I could live without ice-cream, yogurt, cheese, and eggs. I've been a non-red meat eater for 16 years. I even dabbled in vegetarianism for about 8 months one year. Even now, I don't eat a lot of meat, but I do enjoy small amounts of poultry, fish, and seafood. And I cook about 2-3 vegetarian (not necessarily vegan) meals a week. Even as a meat eater, it is hard to deny the knowledge that eating "alive" and whole food is simply healthier for your body. It just makes sense. The fruits, vegetables, and greens that we eat are filled with life and nutrients that are given to us directly from the earth itself. It's where we get our natural vitamins. And it's exciting to know that there are sources of protein - something our body does need and crave - that we can get from non-meat sources. So in honor of that, and in honor of this huge life change that my friends are diving headfirst into, I am at least vowing to explore some vegan as well as more vegetarian meals. I almost succeeded in the vegan meal tonight,but couldn't resist slapping a slice of yummy melty sharp cheddar onto my vegan burger. ;0) I'll get there!
The burgers I made tonight were soft, sweet, and yummy. We grilled them in a pan with a little olive oil spray and served them without a roll, along with a side salad. I did stray from the recipe a bit as far as spices. I wanted my 2.5 year old to still enjoy them. You can always kick the spice up a notch if you aren't feeding delicate palates! Follow the link to the original recipe to see what they added, spice wise. I also am upping the amount of quinoa that it calls for. The burger needed a bit more grain to hold the patty together.
Quinoa, Black Bean, and Sweet Potato Burgers
Lightly adapted from fatfreevegan.com
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, finely grated
- 1 can of black beans, washed and drained
- 1/2 of 1 baked sweet potato, flesh scooped out (or 3/4 cup canned)
- 1/2 cup Quinoa (uncooked). Make sure to choose a brand that is pre-rinsed or you will need to sort (for rocks) and rinse off the sour coating on the grain. Try "Ancient Grains"brand for a nice pre-rinsed Quinoa.
- 2/3 cup bread crumbs
- 2 TBSP ketchup
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- An hour before you make the burgers, wrap your sweet potato in aluminum foil and bake for one hour at 400 degrees F. You can use a toaster oven if you have one.
- Place dry quinoa with 1 cup of water into a sauce pan with lid. Bring to a boil, then turn heat back to a low simmer. Simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
- Saute onion and garlic with a little olive oil. If you are using jarred minced garlic instead of fresh, add the garlic at the very end when the onions have turned translucent.
- Add beans to the same pan and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Turn off heat. Lightly mash about half of the beans.
- Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until well-combined. Form into patties. It will make 4-5 patties.
- Lightly spray a skillet with olive oil (and spray top of burger before flipping) and fry until brown on each side.
My little bunny rabbit... liked her veggies and vegan burger.