Black Bean Burgers

I’ve been on the hunt for a vegan burger that mimics the meat version (anyone who’s newly “turned” will know what I’m talking about here). It’s not easy to get the right consistency so that it doesn’t fall apart, and still keeping it moist.

I came across a recipe by Cookie and Kate which I must say produced pretty good results. It uses sweet potato, quinoa and black beans. I experimented with baking the patties and frying them. The baked ones won hands down!

You could substitute the quinoa for bulgur and perhaps even the black beans for another kind of bean you have in your pantry (I haven’t tried it, but if you do please do let me know how it turns out).

Instead of the buns, I wrapped my burgers in lettuce and served them with homemade ketchup.

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So here it is, the exact recipe from Cookie and Kate’s Black Bean Burgers:

Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds sweet potatoes (smaller potatoes cook faster)
  • ⅓ cup uncooked millet or quinoa (or 1 cup cooked)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats if you are avoiding gluten)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups cooked black beans)
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked hot paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional, to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • High quality vegetable oil for cooking burgers (or coconut oil, if you don’t mind the coconut taste, olive oil may burn)
  • 8 whole wheat hamburger buns (optional)
  • your favorite burger fixings (avocado or guacamole, tomato or pico de gallo, lettuce, sprouts, ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, pickles, cheese)
Preparation
  • Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (about 200 degrees Celcius). Slice the sweet potatoes down the center lengthwise. Place the sweet potatoes cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until they yield to a gentle squeeze, 30 to 40 minutes or longer. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin (it should pull off easily) and roughly chop the insides. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Cook the millet: In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Stir in the millet, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender (about 25 minutes). Drain off any remaining liquid and set aside to cool. OR cook the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander, then combine with ⅔ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to boil, then cover and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let the quinoa steam with the lid on for 5 minutes. Then drain off any excess water and set aside to cool.
  • Grind the oats: Use a food processor or blender to grind the oats until the flakes are broken up, but not as fine as flour.
  • Mix the burgers: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cooled sweet potatoes and millet, black beans, onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, chipotle or paprika, cayenne (optional, add to taste for spicier burgers) and salt. Use a potato masher, big mixing spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer to mix really well. It’s ok if the black beans get smashed in the process.
  • Mix in the oats: Sprinkle the ground oats over the mixture and mix well with a big spoon until the mixture holds together when you shape a portion into a patty. If possible, cover and refrigerate the mixture for best results (the patties will hold together better during cooking if they are chilled first).
  • Shape the burgers: Use a measuring cup to measure out ½ cup of the mixture. Gently shape it into a patty about 3½ inches in diameter. Use your hands to gently flatten the burgers and smooth out any jagged edges. Repeat the process for each patty; you should end up with 8. If you would like to toast your hamburger buns, preheat the oven to 350 degrees now.
  • Pan fry the burgers: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, place several burgers in the pan, leaving enough room to flip them. Cook each patty until browned and heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet for each pan of burgers you fry.
  • Toast the buns (optional): Place the buns on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and bake until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Asian Soba Veggie Bowl

I never appreciated Asian food until I moved to Europe. I also never appreciated the Sun shining all year round, and that for 22 years I’d evaded the “winter blues” – a term I thought was exaggerated lol!

Being in the Northern hemisphere has made me realise how much I need warm weather and food bursting with flavour and spice.

As Autumn descends on us and the skies turn a permanent shade of grey, the Asian in me is coming alive. You will find me using generous sprinkles of chilli and squirts of sriracha sauce on EVERYTHING!

Here’s a recipe I came across on Cookie and Kate. It has everything I love – sugar snap peas, soba noodles and sriracha. I adapted it to include soy beans, red pepper and extra sriracha. The sriracha I bought has a decent oomph to it, if yours could do with some then add some extra chilli flakes.

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Serves 8-10

Ingredients
  • A pack of soba noodles
  • Pack of frozen soya beans (you can sub edamame here)
  • Pack of frozen sugar snap peas
  • 8 medium/small carrots, grated
  • 3 Large or 5 small red peppers, diced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh coriander (I couldn’t find fresh, so left them out)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
Ginger-sesame sauce
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • juice of 2 small limes
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup (or any other sweetener)
  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha (plus chilli flakes if desired)
Preparation
  • To make the sauce: whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Bring 2 pots of water to boil. In one cook the soba noodles according to the instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  • In the other pot, cook the soy beans (according to package instructions).Towards the end of the stated cooking time, add the sugar snap peas. Once the peas are warmed through, drain.
  • Toast the sesame seeds in a pan until brown. Be sure to stir them around frequently so they don’t burn.
  • Add the noodles, veggies, beans and peas in a large serving bowl and combine.
  • Add the prepared sauce and toss again.
  • Top with the toasted sesame seeds and coriander.

Enjoy!

Simple Late Summer Salad

I love a good salad. For some reason, this year hasn’t seen very many of them feature on my dinner plate. I remember it being a lunch time staple in my pre-(ve)gan days, and thought I should give it a go again despite the constant craving for hearty meals. This salad was so simple to throw together, I was done 15 minutes, and had my little girl to “help”.

You could throw in any raw veg you have lying around – not much you can do to mess this up.

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Makes about 10-12 servings

Ingredients

  • Lots of leaves – lamb’s lettuce, romaine lettuce, rocket (feel free to use spinach, kale or anything leafy that’s in season). I used the entire bag of lamb’s lettuce and rocket, and half a head of romaine lettuce
  • 5 small carrots, grated or sliced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 small red bell peppers, chopped
  • 500g pack of cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 4 tbsp sultanas (I’m in love with these lately so was very generous in adding them – you can reduce the amount or sub raisins)
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, roasted
  • 2 Tbsp sunflowe, roasted
  •  2 tsp flax or chia seeds
  • Himalayan sea salt (optional – i omitted it)

Prepration

  • Mix the leaves and veggies in a salad bowl
  • Top with raisins and seeds.
  • Serve as is or drizzled with a little olive oil.

Spinach and Black Bean Coconut Curry

For some reason, I find it really hard to source black beans here in Hamburg. I know all the Turkish/Asian stores have them, but I usually have to drive a bit and battle for a parking spot big enough to fit our FRV……for a loooong time, nothing could convince me the effort was worth it. Then, a health store opened up up the road from us! I popped in earlier this week and was thrilled to find a pack of dried black beans!

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So I trolled the Internet to see what I could whip up with these little babies, the pack of frozen spinach and a pack of carrots I had in the fridge. I came across this recipe on Connoiseurus veg (really, how clever is that name?!) and adapted it to make it oil free and used up all the veg I had left.

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Serves: 8-12

 

Ingredients
  • 2 onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 3 green (indian) chilis, minced/sliced (deseed for a milder version)
  • 2 cups dried black beans (or 4 cans of cooked black beans if you can find them), soaked and cooked
  • 500 g pack of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 6 small – medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes chopped or diced (I was hungry so went for chopped!)
  • 4 tbsp. lime juice (I ran out of lime so used a concentrate instead)
  • 2x 400ml cans coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. roasted sambar powder (or garam masala)
  • 1 tbsp thai curry paste of your choice (I used green)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • chili powder (optional or to taste)
  • Pepper to taste
  • optional: 1/2 cup fresh coriander (I had none, so left it out)
Instructions

  • In a pot, add the coconut milk with water. Allow it to heat thoroughly but not boil.
  • Add the thai paste and allow the paste to dissolve.
  • Add the carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, chili. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans and lime juice and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the spices (sambar powder/garam masala, coriander, cardamom and chili powder). Bring to a simmer and lower heat. Allow to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in spinach and cook until heated thoroughly.
  • Season with pepper and add the coriander.

Serve with your grain of choice (I went with spelt).

Chris’s “Magic” Roasted Veggies with Quinoa Tabbouleh

My darling Chris loves to cook! And boy can he whip up a good meal when he’s in the mood! This is one of those magic moments…..and voila magic veggies!

The “magic” (have I said Magic enough already?!) is in the marinade and in using tomatoes to keep the veg moist in the oven so they don’t burn.

Now, he just eyeballs the quantities so I suggest you do the same – trust me, unless you have no eyeballs there’s no way you can go wrong with this.

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Magic Veggies

  • Tomatoes
  • Spring onions
  • Any other veg you fancy

Magic Marinade

Fresh (our balcony grown) basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and lemon thyme (very important) chopped finely and mixed with lemon/lime (or a mix) juice.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Adapted from Oh She Glows “Buckwheat Tabbouleh”
For my version, I used more lemon juice,  added all spice and eliminated the olive oil and salt. I also used enough broth to cook the quinoa in, avoiding having to drain the excess liquid later.

In the photo above, the quinoa is separate from the rest of the Tabbouleh mix. The reason being that my girls tend to pick out the quinoa (amazing what you can do with little fingers!) first and overlook everything else. So we’ve resorted to giving them the “everything else” first and then the quinoa.

  • Quinoa (quantity of your choice)
  • Vegetable broth (for 1 cup of Quinoa, you will need about 2 cups of broth)
  • Flat leaf or Curly Parsley, chopped very finely (for 1 cup of Quinoa, you will need about 4 cups of parsley)
  • Tomatoes (1 cup quinoa – 4 tomatoes) chopped finely
  • Cucumber (1 cup quinoa – 1/2 cucumber) chopped finely
  • Carrot (1 cup quinoa – 1 carrot) chopped finely or shredded
  • Spring onions (1 cup quinoa – about 4 to 6 spring onions) chopped finely
  • Garlic cloves (1 cup quinoa – 2 cloves) minced or crushed
  • Fresh lemon juice ( 1 cup quinoa – 1 cup juice)
  • All spice (1 cup quinoa – 1/2 tsp all spice, I’d start with 1/2 tsp and add more to taste)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • optional toppings: chia seeds and mung bean sprouts

Preparation

  • Preheat the grill to 190 celcius (374 fahrenheit). Toss the veg in the marinade and pop under the grill.
  • Keep turning frequently till the veg are just about cooked.
  • Top with chopped spring onions and roast again for a few more minutes.

To make the Tabbouleh

  • Cook the quinoa in the vegetable broth according to instructions on the quinoa pack.
  • Allow the quinoa to cool.
  • Add all the vegetables, herbs, lemon juice and all spice to the quinoa, mix well and allow to stand for about 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
  • Serve topped with chia seeds and sprouts, if using.

 

 

 

“I can’t believe it’s not Heinz” Ketchup

Last year my daughter (who had turned 4) discovered Ketchup! I know that’s pretty late but we’ve never really bought commercial ketchup…why? well, as a kid I LOVED ketchup on brown bread (you laugh, but I know one other person who did the same!) and I remember always feeling a little sick right after. I don’t know if it was the vingear or the gazillion other ingredients that went into that bottle, but I figured if I didn’t have it around, I would eventually grow out of it……..then I had kids.

Anywayyyyy, my girl wanted ketchup served during her birthday bash (she didn’t care if I topped her chocolate cake off with it) and so began my hunt for homemade ketchup.

I’ve made this recipe a couple of times – only once with honey and the other times without any sweetener; not once has anyone spotted the difference to Heinz ketchup.

So without further ado, the “I can’t believe it’s not Heinz” Ketchup recipe:

Ingredients

One 400g can of tomatoes

125ml (1/2 cup) white wine vinegar

63ml (1/4 cup) water

¼ tsp clove powder

1/2 tsp cayenne powder (optional)

Honey  (optional, and to taste)*

salt (optional, or just a pinch)

Preparation

Combine all the ingredients, except the honey (if using). Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (or longer if you want it thicker) stirring frequently. Remove from heat, leave to cool. Stir in the honey and voila!

This makes a little less than 400ml (roughly 1.5 cups) and freezes well.

*to make this vegan, you could sub 1 Tbsp of sugar and add it along with all the other ingredients at the start. I’ve not tried making this with sugar so unsure about results. Maybe the next time I will experiment with molasses.

Adapted from Top Secret Recipes

Sweet Potato Hummus

Weekends are always the days of the week I have no inspiration to cook or try something new. We decided we were going to make things simple and whip up a salad and maybe a dip.

Rummaging through the produce I had left in the kitchen turned up sweet potato and carrots. The dip was initially meant to be a roasted carrot dip, but hubs decided that using the carrots in the salad (as he always prefers) was a better way to go. So that left a sweet potato and voila…the dip below.

Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe this baby. I kid you not, I could NOT stop myself from eating this….long gone were the veggie sticks to dip in and out came the spoon 🙂

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Ingredients

1 Large sweet potato

1 can of Chickpeas (play around with the quantity here. I had a 400g can which I used, but a smaller amount would also work)

2 onions (quartered)

a few cloves of garlic, leave the skin on (this again is a matter of taste. I love garlic so used about 4-6 small pods)

1 fresh red chilli (optional, but highly reommend it)

dried chilli flakes (optional and according to taste)

1/4 tsp of smoked paprika (optional and according to taste)

1/2 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander powder, caraway seeds (ground or whole)

3 Tbsp tahini

1 Tbsp tomato paste (again, adjust the quantities according to preference)

fresh coriander leaves (optional)

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade (that’s about 400F for the non-celcius folks).

Roast the sweet potato till soft (about 45 minutes, depending on your oven).

Place chickpeas, onions (quarterd) and garlic in a roasting tray. Roast till the onions look cooked.

Sqeeze the flesh out of the garlic coats and add everything to a blender with the chilli, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, tahini, and tomato paste.

Whizz away.

Serve on a bed of lettuce or hide away with a bowl and spoon and enjoy (I won’t judge 🙂 )

Vegan, oil-free Irish Stew

Now this is one dish that hit the dinner jackpot! Kids and hubs LOVED it. The smoky flavour of the porcini mushrooms is the secret to this and boy does it make a heart-warming meal. I realise now as I write this that you could probably get away with whipping this up outside the autumn/winter period.

This is super versatile in that you could use ANY veggies you have lying around (pumpkin in the autumn would work well too….mmmmmmmh….yum!).

Vegan Irish stew – stewing!

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Ready to be demolished!

Ingredients

Serves about 6-8

1 can coconut milk

3 medium onions, sliced

6Tablespoons chickpea flour (to thicken)

5 cups vegetable stock

water (if required)

2 bags of frozen veg (this is what I had lying around, feel free to throw in fresh produce)

Half a pack (or more if you fancy) of porcini mushrooms

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

6 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped

4 tsp maple syrup (or more if required)

3 bay leaves

1 tsp each of dried thyme, rosemary and marjoram

Preparation

Add coconut milk and onions to a big pot. Let the onions cook on medium heat until they soften. Add the chickpea flour and mix thouroughly – cook gently for a minute. Add all the other ingredients. Cook for about 20 mins.

Meanwhile, soak the mushrooms in hot water for 10 mins. Chop them up, add to pot with the water they soaked in. Cook for another 5 mins or so.

Serve the stew on it’s on, or with any grain you fancy (fresh bread will work well too).

Double Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Namaste all you chocolate lovers out there!

My girls have been begging me to make ANYTHING with chocolate….and what does a good mum do? I say “hell yes!”

My oldest asked if we could make it vegan so that I could join them whilst they put the cookie monster to shame…(again, who am I to say no!)..bless her 4 year old heart 🙂

So here we go – vegan double chocolate chocolate-chip cookies adapted from Oh She Glows.

Double chocolate chocolate-chip cookies!

Double chocolate chocolate-chip cookies!

This recipe makes about 12 depending on how big you like your cookies. Prep time is kinda hard to estimate because I had the girls help me out and you know how that usually goes down. If it were just you, I think you’re looking at about 15 minutes prep time and 10-13 minutes baking time (this can vary depending on the oven you’re using. Our’s is very eager to burn things so we usually have to reduce the bake time)

Ingredients:

Wet:

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 55 grams or 1/4 cup  virgin coconut oil (do not melt)
  • 65 grams or 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 78 ml or 1/3 cup maple syrup (if you want your cookies sweeter, you could add sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or freshly grated vanilla pod

Dry:

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons dessicated coconut powder
  • 145 grams or 1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats ground into flour
  • 4-5 teaspoons non-dairy milk (I used oat milk because it’s naturally sweet) to moisten the batter
  • 100 grams finely chopped dark chocolate

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 176C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a cup, mix together the flax and water and set aside for a few minutes so it can thicken up. Whisk the mixture again once thickened.
  3. Add all the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl (along with the flax mixture). Beat the ingredients by hand or with an electric mixer until combined and smooth. Check for sweetness here, and add sugar/more syrup accordingly. I prefer my desserts on the less sweeter side so stuck with the amount of maple syrup mentioned above.
  4. Add the dry ingredients one by one. If your dough is a bit dry, add some non-dairy milk and beat the mixture again. The dough should be moist enough to form balls without cracking, but not sticky.
  5. Chop/grate the chocolate (I did a bit of both). Fold the pieces into the batter.
  6. Lick spoon 😉
  7. Shape dough into balls and flatten them between the palms of your hands.
  8. Arrange on the baking sheet and bake for about 12-13 minutes.
  9. Cool cookies on the baking sheet until they harden up a little (if you can wait that long – as you can see, someone (not naming names..ahem) ate half a cookie whilst they were still cooling!)

Dig in!!!