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smoked paprika

Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers-blog4

I’m going to start off with a quick disclaimer. These photos don’t do these burgers justice.

Some days, when the light’s dropping early and your stomach’s rumbling from room-filling aromas, you end up with photos that don’t quite showcase the awesomeness of what lays in front of you.

But stay with me here.

Smoky + sweet + hearty black beans and oats = one killer veggie burger.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Sure, the burgers are vegan. And so as depicted, they are a tad sloppy. But not fall apart-on-you sloppy. These are no sloppy Joe’s. Far from it actually as far as a vegan burger goes.

You could certainly throw in an egg if you’re concerned about this. Or do as I do, and utilized the two-spatula technique when it comes time to flip them in the frying pan during the cooking process. Just give them a little squeeze, and they’ll firm up nicely as they cook.

But let’s get to the important topic of discussion here – the taste.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

This isn’t your bland restaurant veggie burger. I’ve had one too many of those to know better. Rather, these are packed with all the complimentary flavor you’d expect from a recipe worthy of putting on the repeat list. The spice from the chipotle and smokiness from the paprika pairs well with the creamy sweet potato, all of which gets finished off with a little lime. The cumin and beans team up for a little Mexican flare, and the oats bind it all together.

Finish it off with your favorite toppings. I might suggest some guacamole if you have it on hand, but even just a handful of spinach and a dollop of ketchup will do.

Note, these freeze well, so if you have extras or want to double the recipe, go for it!

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Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers

Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers

What do you do with an abundance of beets? Pickle them. Turn your tabbouleh pink. Or your hummus.

Or perhaps your end-of-summer burgers, as Food52 would suggest.

Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers

I spotted this recipe over on Food52, and of course with all things beet-related, was captivated by its color. You could nearly mistake that burger in the picture above for a beef patty. That doesn’t sound all that appetizing to me, but I do find this depiction beautiful, nonetheless. Especially with a creamy cucumber sauce lathered on top. I assure you, this meat-free burger is an abundance of appetizing deliciousness.

It’s one of the most firm, well-held-together veggie burgers I’ve ever made as well.

Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers

Rice acts as the glue that keeps these lentil beet burgers together, and it does a rather efficient job at doing so. You won’t need a million spatulas and utensils and tablespoons of oil to flip them in the pan, which is often the case with homemade veggie burgers.

As the name depicts, slightly sweet (from the beets and raisins), slightly smoky (from the paprika), these burgers are a unique treat. Place them between pita or a bun, or simply atop a bed of greens, and serve with a side of tomatoes and cool cucumber-yogurt sauce.

P.S. These freeze well, too!

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Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

Happy first Monday of 2015! If that doesn’t sound so cheery, happy first FFF recipe of the year instead. Can we raise our spoons to that? This one is one of my favorites, so whether your with me or not, my soup-destined silverware will be flying high.

Please don’t leave me hanging.

Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

This recipe’s actually a simpler rendition of one of my top picks from 2014. A hint of sweetness from the carrots, a touch of not-too-overbearing smokiness from paprika, and a toasty spiciness from the cumin, this velvety soup hits all the right areas. And the tahini on top really seals the deal.

Spicy carrot soup + tahini = heavenly combination. Perhaps the top “omg I need to get healthy” combination of the New Year.

Its tagline? Making resolutions easy, since 2015. Put this Creamy Carrot Soup on your January recipe list, and you’ll soon realize there’s truth in that statement. My recommendation? Pair it with a slice of crusty whole wheat sourdough, and you’re all set. Cheers.

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Smoky Black Bean Burgers With Herb Yogurt Sauce

Smoky Black Bean Burgers With Herb Yogurt Sauce

I’ve been writing a recipe column for Today’s Dietitian, and September’s edition features a somewhat controversial veggie from my childhood days  the beet.

Grated beets

As I wrote in my column, the discord stems primarily from parents with rather differing opinions about the beautiful, but dangerous, late summer vegetable. You see,

“Beets were my mom’s worst nightmare. The juice stained her cutting boards, tie-dyed her kids’ white T-shirts, and left her scrubbing the kitchen counters until her hands turned pink. On the other hand, beets were my dad’s favorite vegetable. They were one of his continuously best-growing crops in the family garden. He loved nothing more than staining his hands as he pulled the beets out of the ground each year, and he had an affinity for their taste that my mom couldn’t match. And unfortunately, my mom had cleaning skills that my dad couldn’t match, so every summer there was a comical bone of contention that surrounded beets.”

This had always left me unsettled about my own opinions for beets. I’ve always enjoyed, but not longed, for their flavor, and I’ve always sort of shied away from the mess they tend to create.

However, in recent years, I’ve developed a newfound love.

Smoky Black Bean Burgers With Herb Yogurt Sauce

After one small one went into this recipe for tabbouleh, I was sold. That color! It’s flavor in the dish was not super memorable, but the hue it lent to the entire bowl certainly was. From then on, I would find ways to employ the beet’s beautiful color, and do so in a way that wouldn’t destroy my counters. And white t-shirts, because unfortunately, mom isn’t buying those anymore.

This recipe for Smoky Black Bean Burgers utilizes the food processor to keep the mess at a bay, while enabling beets to add color to a veggie burger that’s hard to forget. Here, the veggie adds adds a hint of sweetness that goes perfectly with the smoky paprika, as well as the parsley herb sauce that tops it all off. (Note, feel free to use any summer herb that sounds good to you. I vote for basil as an alt.)

Head on over to the digital edition of the mag for the recipe! 

Cauliflower, Kale, and Lentil Ragout

Cauliflower, Kale, and Lentil Ragout

I’m convinced I live in the best neighborhood in Philadelphia.

My apartment is just blocks away from the Mecca for persimmons by the bucket, 2-for-$1 avocados, and unlimited other cheap produce deals. AKA, the Italian Market. It also happens to be a prime destination for people-watching, which my camera and I enjoy quite often.

Cauliflower

Within this special place is Fante’s, a kitchen storefront with every type of gadget, pot, pan, canning material, etc. that you could ever need. You want an “asparagus steamer”? They’ve got it — along with special asparagus tongs, several kinds of asparagus peelers, and a platter to serve it all on. I  try not to frequent Fante’s because I also try not to let my bank account go underwater.  There’s a Whole Foods up the street that I save for that job.

Yes, just a few blocks in the other direction from my apartment lay two grocery stores. Whole Foods is one of them, and here I’m caught far too often fulfilling all my bulk food needs and trying to keep myself away from the hot bar. Sometimes I’ll nerd out with the Whole Foods employees about black rice and kombucha.

Cauliflower, Kale, and Lentil Ragout

In my ‘hood, Bella Vista, (in Italian, meaning “beautiful sight”), there are two wonderful yoga studios within walking distance, several coffee shops — one of which I’m convinced is in the running for the best iced coffee in the city — and an awesome spot to play late night pool.

On top of it all, it’s within biking distance of nearly every other main neighborhood I frequent in the city.

For me, it’s the place to be in the city, and for some reason I feel the need to write about this as the rain keeps me tucked inside my small apartment on its streets.

If I just had all of my friends here, a garden, a mountain, and a lake out my back door, I’d be set for life. Ha. While Bella Vista is awesome, I think “beautiful sight” by my standards might be a bit of an overstretch.

Kale and lentils

What is undoubtedly a beautiful site, however, is this mighty head of cauliflower I snagged yesterday at the market. And also this piece of fabric I picked up in fabric row, just another couple blocks away. A $2 piece of fabric and a $1.50 cauliflower + a priceless meal = beauty.

I whipped up a huge batch of this so I could freeze some of it for later meals. Feel free to cut the recipe in half if that’s not a project you want to do, or you don’t plan to feed a crowd.

The ragout itself is light, yet hearty, which I love. All of the spices make it feel rich, while its staples — cauliflower, kale, and lentils — keep it light. Top it with Parm or nutritional yeast, and it becomes a meal you could eat all week. What you place underneath is up to you, so you choose the grain/pasta that strikes your mood.

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