by Dymetra Pernell, ND
“Variety is the spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavor” – William Cowper.
This quote always seemed cliche to me, until I became a victim of boredom due to my routines and habits in dining. It’s very easy to get caught up in a routine after all, we are all creatures of habit. Well, it’s time we switch things up a bit and add a bit of spice, wouldn’t you agree? So, let’s start by switching up our weekly menu and go with a Meatless Meal! I know, I know, you’re saying, Dee-Dee, what on EARTH is a meal without meat? And to that question I say, it’s a meal free of cholesterol; it’s a meal your heart will love, and a meal that could help boost your overall health.
Before I became vegan, burgers were probably among my favorite go-to meals. The challenge I ran into was finding something quick and easy I could turn to that reminded me of a burger. Most of the veggie burgers I had tried were either too dry, void of flavor, or full of soy and other things I just did not want to put in my body. This forced me to come up with my own recipe for burgers, so I will share with you :).
Now before I share, let’s talk about the pink elephant in the room, PROTEIN! The most frequently asked question I get is, “Where do you get your protein from?” It’s a fair question since we have been taught that protein sources are meat, dairy, eggs, and other forms of animal products. The truth is, everything that grows from the ground contains protein. In fact, pound for pound, broccoli has almost as much protein than beef. Other high protein vegetables include spinach, asparagus, peas, sprouts, artichokes, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, kale and corn. Other excellent sources of protein include all nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes.
Understanding that life can be extremely busy, I have decided to include a few quick and easy fixes for you to enjoy. As a vegan, I’ve learned lots of shortcuts in life. Being a naturopathic physician requires a lot of hours on the clock because the conditions I generally help people work through are chronic, and can require lots of time to help educate them on how to make better lifestyle choices.
Now, back to that burger. I have found that the key to any food is flavor. After all, few of us are very likely to eat food that is not pleasing to our palettes, so I include lots of spices to make things interesting and tasty. A couple of shortcuts to consider it to use canned beans. You can roast your beets as your rice cooks, and you can use your food processor to do your dicing. Here’s a very simple black bean burger that I call the Smoke House Burger. It, along with over 100 other recipes can be found in my cookbook Modern Vegan Cuisine. This burger is packed with protein fiber, iron, and many other vital nutrients to optimal health. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Smoke House Burger
2 cups cooked black beans, drained
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1 small beet, roasted *optional
1/3 cup red onion, minced
8 dried figs, chopped *optional
5 dried prunes, chopped *optional
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus more of cooking burgers)
2 tbsp bbq sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
2/3 cup oat flour
1. In a food processor add roasted beet, red onion, figs, prunes, bbq sauce, extra virgin olive oil, and pulse until fully incorporated.
2. In a large bowl, combine beans, rice, and oat flour. Once fully incorporated, add half the mixture to a food processor and process mixture until most of the product has been broken down.
3. Reincorporate mixture into the bowl and thoroughly combine.
4. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a cast iron skillet or other non stick pan over medium-high heat. Use ice cream scooper to scoop out black bean mixture. Flatten ball into a patty and pan fry for 2-3 minutes per side.
5. Add to toasted bun, top with chili, lettuce tomatoes, onions, and mustard and enjoy.
*note – the optional items add depth of flavor, color, and nutrition to your burger. It will be really tasty without these items, but I strongly encourage you to try them. For those of you who are not big fans of beets or any other optional ingredient, let me put your mind at ease, you do not taste them. I know, strange, but true :).
Dymetra Pernell, ND; Naturopath, published author (Modern Vegan Cuisine), and board certified Health Coach through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, graduated from the largest nutrition school in the world, IIN. Dymetra is a certified Colon Hygienist through IACH, and holds a certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University. She specializes in women’s health and natural weight management. Dymetra founded The Plant-Based Princess in 2012. She uses her website as a platform to share health tips, and delicious vegan recipes with the masses.