Curbing My “Enthusiasm”

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Sweet Brown VegetarianI realize it’s been a while since we’ve chatted.  I will explain that pause very soon.  Let’s not dwell on that today.   Let’s talk about vegetables.  I like vegetables. I like them a lot. In fact, I will often choose vegetarian and vegan items when I go out to eat or when I’m “cleansing.” When I talk about vegetables,  I definitely don’t mean any processed vegetable products disguised as meat. If I want something that tastes like meat, I’ll just eat the meat, thanks. Hey, I love cooking with chicken stock…and making the occasional roasted chicken. I also love to eat fish and seafood. Once in a while, I want some bacon or pork. Guess what? I really, really love me some lamb and the occasional steak. Rabbit?  Yes, please!  Don’t even get me started about my excitement over sausage and the flavor it lends to tomato sauce or to a tasty pasta and arugula dish.

The short lesson here is that I’m never giving this shizznit up for good. Sure, I can put it in lockdown for a couple of weeks at a time and shove my face with kale and beets to cram my dupa into a size 2 but I really like being open to try new food adventures.  New food adventures could be vegetarian as well, but I basically want to be able to go to a foreign country or out to dinner and get my inner Anthony Bourdain on.  I like to consider myself an “enthusiast” as he does.  A part of me just dies inside when someone tells me they have a dietary restriction because I feel like they’re not going to get me at my delicious, buttery, bacon-wrapped, gluten-laden, cheesy, or sugary best.  You know, like Sweet Brown says, “Vegetarian? Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that!”

In all seriousness, another part of me is challenged in a way that makes me want to come up with something meat-free but equally delicious.  My friend makes black bean and quinoa burgers all the time because she is vegetarian and her boyfriend even eats them.  I have failed homemade black bean burger attempts so I was skeptical but willing to try anything. Her recipe is on the spicy side and can be found here.  I deviated and experimented (as I very often do) and my version is below:

Lady Sensory’s Sorry to Hear You’re Vegetarian But We Can Still Be Friends Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers

Warming up those beans, onions, tomatoes and spices!

Warming up those beans, onions, tomatoes and spices!

  • 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked and I mixed white, red and black quinoa)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (approx. 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup julienned oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (I soaked and cooked dried beans but you could use  1 15 oz can, drained)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp dill (dried is fine)
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you’d like some extra kick!)
Burgers before cooking

Burgers before cooking

Rinse quinoa very well to remove the saponins (it will be bitter/ soapy-tasting if you don’t). Stir together quinoa and 1½ cups water in small saucepan, and season with salt, if desired.  Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. This should result in approximately 1½ cups cooked quinoa.  Warm a skillet on the stove on medium.  Place onion and sun-dried tomatoes in the skillet, and continue to cook over medium heat.  You won’t need oil – there is enough on the tomatoes to sauté with the onion.  Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in ¾ cup black beans, garlic, dried spices and 1½ cups water. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer 9 to 11 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated.  Transfer tomato, bean, and onion mixture to food processor, add ¾ cup cooked quinoa, and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl, and stir in remaining quinoa and black beans. When mixture is slightly cooler, add the grated parmesan cheese, egg and bread crumbs and combine (you don’t want the cheese to melt or the egg to cook).  Preheat oven to 350°F, and place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Generously brush the parchment with olive oil.  I used the Wegmans basting oil for extra flavor – it has garlic and herbs in it. Shape bean mixture into 6 patties and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crispy on top. Flip patties with spatula, and bake 10 minutes more, or until both sides are crispy and brown. Serve on a nice crusty roll with your favorite condiments. I did plain Greek yogurt mixed with some dill, some kale, and used a nice, crusty rosemary-olive oil roll and it was really, really tasty!

Yeah, I do suppose you could have a cold pop with this.  These people should really stay home and make their own black bean and quinoa burgers instead.

Tasty black bean and quinoa burger!

Tasty black bean and quinoa burger!

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