Update! Guess what appeared on the front page of the NY Times Dining Section the day after this dinner? An article about veggie burgers! This happened a few weeks ago when I was blogging excitedly about the wonders of coconut oil. NYT Dining and I are on the same page lately!
Today is Day 2 of my spring break. Thankfully the weather cooperated today and I was able to plant our asparagus and strawberry plants. Hopefully the weather will continue to cooperate and we will soon have both lovely foods gracing our table and the blog.
Today, I took a few cues from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food” to make veggie burgers for the first grilled meal this year. Confession, I am a vegetarian who has never made her own veggie burgers. In fact, outside of the local favs (Northstar and Luna Burgers), I don’t particularly like veggie burgers. I find that the prepackaged frozen variety are fine, but there are simply so many better things to put on a grill that they never take up space in my freezer. Bittman’s suggestions led me down a curious path, but with excellent results. I now feel quite confident in my ability to mash some beans with herbs, oats, and rice and make many more delectable dinners. Here’s what happened tonight:
Remember those stuffed squash from Day 13? I still had about a cup of leftover rice (remember the apricots, almonds, and spices?) and figured it would go well with leftover garbanzo beans from the falafel dinner on Day 15. I mashed (with a potato masher, but a food processor would work) 2c garbanzo beans, 1/2c old fashioned, gluten-free oats, 1c leftover rice, 2T cashew butter, and 1/4c fresh parsley together. I tasted and decided that I wanted salt and pepper (of course!) and a little smoky heat so I added a good helping of chili powder. The mixture was still a little chunky but sticky enough to form into patties. I divided it into four servings. I refrigerated these until I was ready to cook them, but Bittman promises this isn’t necessary. When I was ready to grill, I brushed both sides with olive oil and placed on my grill. Bittman warns you to only turn the patties once when grilling as they will crumble easily. They cooked quickly, probably in less than 5 minutes per side. In the meantime….
Grilled Veggie Quinoa Salad with Basil
I made a pot of quinoa and placed aside after fluffing. I chopped one medium eggplant, 2 tomatoes, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, and 1 package of baby bella mushrooms into pieces that were large enough not to fall through my grill grate. I tossed them with olive oil and a good helping of dried basil. I threw them on my grill and turned every 2-3 minutes until tender and beautiful. I added the quinoa and veggies together with salt, pepper and one package of fresh basil coarsely chopped. I added a bit more olive oil and served beside my veggie burgers. Yum! Grilled veggies!
As you can see, dinner was lovely. A fresh tomato on top for The Philosopher and a tomato and kosher dill pickle for me. These were no ordinary veggie burgers. These guys were smoky and sweet. Slightly spicy yet mellow. The outside had a nice crunch, yet the inside was almost creamy. We will be eating homemade veggie burgers again soon as these were fabulous. The quinoa side was a hint of the summer freshness to come and I can’t wait!
Dinner was topped off by chunked grilled pineapple tossed with a little agave. Unfortunately, there are no pictures—they were gone too fast. Thankfully, the meal ended with a gathering of dear friends and neighbors, children and doggies enjoying the temperature while watching dark clouds roll in.
I hope you all are also enjoying this weather and your meals. Happy Eating!