Monday, February 10, 2014

Russian Olympic Veggie Burgers

Engine 2 Veggie Burgers from Whole Foods
Taste was good, but they didn't microwave too well
We are big fans of veggie burgers and we have tried many of them. Some of the worst have ingredients I wouldn't feed my dog, like soy isolate protein. Others have ingredients I happily feed my dog, like oats and rice and carrots and other healthy ingredients. We got some recently from Costco that had wheat in them, so I stayed away. Our dog did not. She ate one off the counter while they were defrosting. A few days later she grabbed another one off the counter, bun and all. She is quiet, she is sneaky and she never breaks the plates. She deserved a medal, but all she got was the burger.

This is Week 2 of the Engine 2 Diet 28-Day Challenge. I'm doing great, even managing to stay away from chocolate, a minor miracle. My energy level is high, and my jeans are fitting better. I've been trying to put a little pizzazz into our menu and attempting some new dishes. One of those new recipes was to finally make some homemade veggie burgers. I don't know why I never tried before, they were so easy. The Engine 2 Veggie Burger is more of a process than a recipe. The full instructions are at the bottom of this post. It is extremely adaptable and can go in so many different directions.

My version went in a Russian direction. At first I just was going simple with:

cooked brown rice
smashed garbanzo beans
sauteed carrots, celery and onions
Braggs aminos
chopped dill
flax seed

Then at the last bit I decided to go for the gold and add some pickled red cabbage. They did smell a bit strong while they were baking, but they turned out great. They almost tasted like potato pancakes, without the potatoes if that's possible. I can't wait to try these with all kinds of variations: Tex-Mex, Italian, Greek, All-American. And with all this healthy eating, I just may be able to land that Triple Toe Loop.

The pickled red cabbage was a last minute addition to the mix.

Putin the oven. Get it? Putin, Russian Olympic Burgers?

Be artistic with the mustard, it shows your love.

This judge preferred the Costco brand.

Official Engine 2 Veggie Burger Recipe Process
1 Pick your bean/lentil/peas (you will need 2 cups COOKED)
Black Beans
White beans
Kidney beans
Lentils (any color)
Split Peas
(we’re sure any kind of bean you can dream up would work just fine)
2. Pick your starch (1 cup)
Dry Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs or whole grain gluten free bread crumbs
Uncooked Quick Oatmeal
Cooked Quinoa

Cooked Millet

Cooked Amaranth

Cooked Buckwheat
Cooked brown rice. (you can also use a wild rice if you like)
3. Pick a vegetable (or a few vegetables) : dice them! If you pick more than one vegetable, you will want to decrease the amount you use, probably by at least half. So if you use carrots and celery – use 1 rib of celery and 1 carrot stick.
Celery (about 2 ribs)
Carrot (about 2 sticks)
Onion (about 1 small onion)
Mushrooms (about 1 cup)
Jalapeno (1 or 2 depending on how spicy you like things)
4. SPICE! Go to town with spices. Our general rule is just to evenly coat whatever we are making with the spice, or if using fresh herbs/spices start with 1/4 of a teaspoon and go from there. Because we’re not using any ingredients that can kill you like raw eggs or meat, go ahead and taste as you go!
Nutritional Yeast (which will give it a more cheese like flavor)
Black pepper
Curry powder (works well with chickpea burgers)
Turmeric (use a very small amount – a few dashes will do) works great with chickpea burgers.
We know that we did not list every spice (our apologies to the fans of certain spices left out) but really any spice you like will do just fine – get creative! Italian burgers? Mexican burgers? Jamaican-jerk burgers? Whatever you can dream up!
5. Liquid: 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup start with a 1/4 and add as needed.
Low Sodium Vegetable broth
Liquid from cooked beans.
Non dairy unsweetened milk
For a different taste you can try 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree, mashed sweet potato or butternut squash puree. If you opt to add a puree you may need to use less liquid overall.
6. Flax
Ground flax seed – combine 2 tbs of ground flax seed with 3tbs of warm water. Set aside and let it gel a little.
Now to make your burgers.
Pre-heat oven to 350
Have a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper ready to go.
1. Put cooked beans in a big mixing bowl. Mash them up – however you get the job done is the right way, personally we just use our hands.
2. Add your starch. You will want to mix the starch and the bean really well – we also use our hands for this.
3. Add your vegetables (you can cook them first if you like, dice them first and then put them in a pan with a little water or low sodium vegetable broth and cook them till the are done, no need to add any oil)
4. Add spices
5. Add liquid
6. Add flax. (be sure to follow instructions).
7. Mix every thing – you can use a spoon, but we just use our hands, because it’s just easier that way.
8. Form patties (see you were going to have to use your hands anyway).
9. Put patties on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
10. Stick in oven for 15-20  minutes or until they are looking slightly crispy on the top. We generally like flipping them half way through.
11. Do a happy dance around your house while you are waiting for plant-strong burgers to cook. This step is absolutely necessary.
12. Take out, bask in your greatness for a minute.
13. Serve on a nice whole grain bun with all of your favorite burger accessories, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, tomato,hummus, ketchup, mustard, really just go wild. You can also serve it on a nice bed of leafy greens. Also, serve with baked sweet potato fries, it will make for an even happier experience.
This should make 4-5 decent sized burgers or 8-10 smaller burgers. You can freeze them as well.
*Tips: Too crumbly? Add more liquid. Too watery? Add more starch.