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broccoli raab

Black Bean Burgers with Sautéed Broccoli Rabe Topping

Ah, burgers, the edible epitome of America. While you can count me out on the ones gifted in fast food packaging, I too am a sucker for a good, solid burger. A vegetarian one, that is.

There are numerous ways to construct a meat-free burger, but the classic veggie version is probably the black bean. I’ve filled my youthful belly with quite a few of them over the years.  While some places no doubt can really make a mean BB-burger, more often than not, I find myself chewing on a bland patty, within an oversized bun, needing a huge dousing of ketchup to draw to my taste-buds any significant flavor. It tends to be an unforgettable eating experience.

While the frijoles negros pack a powerful punch of  protein, fiber, antioxidants, and even lend a meat-like color, the beans themselves could use some flavor. While beans do all have unique, individual tastes, they are often subtle, making the soft gems great building blocks for a burger.

I set out to create a black bean burger that wouldn’t be lacking taste, one that would be memorable and would appeal to meat-free and meatful eaters alike. After all, a great burger, beef-filled or not, can tend to please nearly any appetite.

I added some spices and my standard veggie mise en place, along with a few other ingredients to shape a burger worthy of such an experience. And if that wasn’t enough, I topped it with broccoli rabe to give it an extra bite. If you’ve ever eaten the broccoli rabe, AKA rapini, I’m sure you’re well aware that the vitamin A packed veggie is by no means deficient in taste.

Click here for recipe…

Broccoli Rabe with Cannellini Beans and Chestnut Lemon-Scented Rice

If you like a little bitter, you’ll probably like a little broccoli rabe. The leafy green vegetable, containing small, flowery heads that resemble broccoli, has a distinct taste, much like that of mustard greens. To compliment its sharp flavor, I always love to add olive oil and garlic. For this meal, I decided to serve the broccoli rabe with a good portion of lemon-scented rice, going along with the lemon which I’d be using to top off the rabe. To the rice, I also added in some chestnuts whose sweetness pairs perfectly with the slightly bitter broccoli rabe. I was left with a vibrant plate packed full of wholesome, healthy flavor. My favorite.

Broccoli Rabe with Cannellini Beans

-1 large bunch broccoli rabe
-5 cloves garlic, (2-1/2 to 3 Tbsp.), finely chopped
-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, or 2 dried chillies, deseeded and diced
-3 Tbsp. olive oil
-1/8 tsp. salt
-1/2 lemon, juiced
-Parmesan, optional

Wash and cut off ends and extra large stems of broccoli rabe. Chop into 2-inch pieces. Steam broccoli rabe for 3 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add garlic and chili flakes. Saute 5 minutes. Stir in beans, and saute an additional 3 minutes. Add blanched broccoli rabe, sautéing until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Squeeze half of lemon on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired. Serve aside or atop Chestnut Lemon-Scented Rice (recipe below).

Chestnut Lemon-Scented Rice

-1 cup rice
-2 cups water
-1 bay leaf
-6 oz. chestnuts, chopped
-Zest of 1 lemon
-Juice of 1/2 lemon
-Pinch of salt

Bring all of the ingredients to a bowl. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and a dash of pepper, and serve.

Also, the winner of the Justin’s Nut Butter Giveaway is Anash. Congrats! Please send me an email with your full name and address.