It's almost burger season and who doesn't like a good burger? Most people fry or grill up the same thing over and over and over again. It's usually loaded with fat and fillers. You essentially use up a whole day's worth of fat and calories on one simple burger.
If you are trying to transition to a healthy lifestyle, you might think you have to pass on having a burger. But you don't. Let me introduce you to the veggie burger. Veggie burgers have come a long way. Don't discount them just because you had one 10 years ago that tasted like cardboard. Some of my favorite store bought brands which are vegan and gluten-free are Beyond Meat's Beast Burger, Gardein's Chipotle Black Bean Burger, and Sol Cuisine's Original Burger.
Here's an interesting nutritional comparison I did between these brands and a beef burger:
Crazy, right? Even if you take the highest fat, cholesterol, and protein veggie burger (the Beast Burger) and compare it to the meat burger, the veggie is half the fat, none of the cholesterol, and almost the same amount of protein as the angus burger. And with no saturated fat or cholesterol, that tells you the high amount of fat in the Beyond Meat Beast Burger is heart healthy fat. Yes, it is much higher in sodium, so keep that in mind if you have health issues related to blood pressure. However, it is obvious that all the veggie burgers I looked at are a much healthier option for your summer grilling season.
If you want to try your hand at making your own veggie burger, there are a ton of recipes out there for you to try. Vegan and gluten-free makes it tricky. Let's just say that I have never met a homemade vegan and gluten-free burger that didn't fall apart. It's just how it is. I created these Thai sprouted lentil quinoa burgers to go with my Asian slaw recipe I posted on last week's blog. They go perfect together. And I know you were wondering what else you were going to do with the sprouted lentils I showed you how to make a few weeks ago. Well, here you go.
First, start your sprouted lentils a good 4 days before you want to make the burgers. Follow the directions from the link above. They don't have to sprout for the full 4-5 days to reap the nutritional benefits of sprouting.
Bring your sprouted lentils to a boil and reduce to cook for about 30 minutes. Then strain and let them cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, wring out the excess water and place in a bowl.
Add cooked quinoa and shred one carrot into the bowl as well.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the black beans.
Next, in your food processor, pulse your rinsed and drained black beans a few times.
I use a standard Cuisinart food processor I have had for years. Here is a link to mine:
Add the bowl mixture and pulse a few more times just to combine.
Form into patties and place in the refrigerator for an hour to set. 20 minutes before you are ready to eat, heat a few tablespoons of oil (I like to use coconut oil for mine) in a large skillet. Place patties in the oiled skillet and cook on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes on each side, carefully flipping to avoid crumbling. These are a soft burger, so you are really just trying to crisp the outside some to heat them up and hold things together. You could also try baking these for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.
Serve on a bun, or better yet, wrap in a large collard or chard leaf and top with my Asian slaw. I prefer wrapping my burgers in lettuce and saving my carbs intake for dessert.
Whether you buy a few frozen veggie burgers to try or decide to make your own, you are going to be pleasantly surprised at how tasty veggie burgers can be. They are a great heart healthy and weight loss option to any backyard barbecue.
Time: 45 minutes to make, 1 hour in refrigerator
2 c. raw sprouted lentils
1 1/2 c. cooked quinoa
1 15 oz. can black beans, strained, rinsed
1 shredded carrot
1 tbsp. canned green curry paste
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. tamari sauce
zest from 1 lime
2 tbsp. oil of choice for frying (I like coconut for these)
Place sprouted lentils in pan with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook 30 minutes. Stain and let cool in strainer. Once cool, with clean hands wring out the lentils to remove water.
Cook quinoa per box/container instructions.
In a bowl, mix all your ingredients except the black beans. Set aside.
In your food processor, pulse your strained and rinsed black beans. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides. Don’t process too much. You don’t want this to turn into a paste, but just to combine.
Form into patties and refrigerate for an hour.
In a large skillet, add your oil and bring temperature up before adding burger patties. Fry approximately 5-7 minutes on each side, being careful when flipping to keep them together.
Top with my asian slaw and wrap in a large collard or chard leaf or on a burger bun.
Makes 6 servings.