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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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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! 

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

When I get eggplant, it heads straight to the oven. Forget stir-fry. Forget sautés. Forget the grill. Forget anything else you’d ever do with the purple beauts.

Like wine is made for sharing, eggplant’s made for roasting.

This applies 95% of the time in my kitchen. Nothing beats a soft and caramelized, creamy bite of eggplant. And nothing’s worse than an undercooked bite, either.  This happens all too often in stir fry, often with restaurants that don’t know what they’re doing.  Stick with baking and give yourself ample time, and you’ll be golden. Your eggplant too.

Heirloom eggplant

Baba ganoush is a classic, Middle Eastern dip. It’s similar to hummus, but swaps the chickpeas for roasted eggplant. It’s creamy, cumin-y, and the perfect smearer for a slightly toasted pita. Try it out while you can because the summer season’s quickly coming to an end, and along with it, farm-to-table eggplant.

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Arugula, Apple and Tempeh Bacon Sandwich with Caramelized Onions

Arugula, Apple and Tempeh Bacon Sandwich

Most times of the year, when I go to the grocery store, 75% of my basket is filled with fruit and vedge. However, lately I’ve been swimming in honeycrisps and butternuts and greens from the farmer’s market where I work. My grocery trips have been minimized, and my produce budget even more so.

Now when I go to the store, I end up with a basket that looks nothing like myself.

tempeh_apple (3 of 3)

I am a people-watcher. I love the art of observing others. So when going stir-crazy in the Whole Foods check-out line, I’m watching. I’m analyzing what the people in front of me plan to make for dinner. I’m picking out recipes for them in my mind, and I’m judging — er, I mean guessing — their lifestyle and personality traits. All from the items cruising their way to the cash register.

I, of course, am also seeking out my future husband. I’m scanning the lines in search of the handsome guy who’s buying figs and sweet potatoes, brazil nuts and oatmeal, and ingredients you can actually cook with. If you need to find me, I’ll be in that line. And hopefully exiting it with dinner plans. Just kidding.

Lately, however, trips to the grocery store have been scarce, and the farmer’s market is my new best friend. From it, I was able to pick up the fresh fall arugula and apples that compose this meal. Complimented by the rich flavors of caramelized onion, curry and parsley, this creates a surprising and satisfying sandwich. I love adding a sweet crunch in unexpected places, and here the apples carry this out beautifully. Choose your favorite eating variety, and make sure to thinly slice.

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