Meatless Monday – Quinoa Black Bean Sliders with Sriracha Aioli


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SliderMania!  Sliders are all the rage, and rightly so!  What could be more delicious than a yummy, messy hand sized slider dripping with delicious sauce? Sliders are the perfect size, not a big commitment but more of an invitation to try something new. There are so many recipes for meatless burgers and I have been tempted to try several but didn’t really act on this impulse until I saw the Quinoa and Black Bean Burger with Sriracha Aioli from The Selfmade Man.  He had me at Sriracha!  The Selfmade Man made nice manly, big burgers but I love appetizers so opted for sliders.  The problem is, you really can’t eat just one!  They are that good.  Sriracha in the burger and a lovely creamy Sriracha sauce on top.  What could be bad?  I also added a layer of balsamic carmelized onions to add a bit of savory sweet and because I love them and thought they would pair nicely with the sriracha sauce. I served them on brioche slider buns. Yum!

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So here is the kitchen confessional First, I am a home cook (not a professional chef), in a real home, feeding real people.  I take photos along the way and then we eat. Sometimes I forget to take the perfect photo and that just has to be okay.  I mean the photo with the bite already taken doesn’t usually work…  Second, you should follow recipes without letting the following get in the way:  1)The 10 people chatting away in your kitchen while you’re trying to cook  2)The 3 other dishes being made in your kitchen around you by other people using your stuff  3)The glass of wine in your hand…  This recipe is brilliant, however, my kitchen was in pandemonium with many cooks and dishes in various states of preparation, and I had a brain freeze added the oil that was meant for cooking to the batter.  I realized right away but couldn’t really take it back.  So I cooked the sliders in a dry cast iron pan and it worked out just fine. They were a bit softer and harder to form, but don’t you want your sliders to be a bit messy?   Next time (and there will be a next time because these are really good) I will cook the sliders with the oil on the outside. Duh!  Sorry Selfmade Man!
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These burgers are delicious and hearty enough to satisfy your carnivore friends and family but they also pack a nutritional punch.   Black beans are loaded with protein and fiber along with several essential vitamins and minerals like B complex vitamins, potassium, magnesium and iron.  Quinoa also has a very high protein content and is a good source of fiber and several vitamins and minerals including B complex vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium.  Quinoa is also gluten-free which makes it a nice option for people who are gluten-intolerant.  Quinoa is a great choice for vegetarians, but also for anyone trying to cut down on refined, processed foods by increasing their consumption of whole grains. So feel free to have two or three!

Quinoa Black Bean Sliders with Carmelized Onions and Sriracha Aioli

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 15 oz can black beans
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or whole grain flour (I used quinoa flour)
1/4 green pepper, finely diced
1/4 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsn Sriracha Sauce
3 Tbsn olive, coconut or avocado oil
10-12 slider buns, or 4-5 regular (I used brioche slider sized buns)

Carmelized Onions
1 large onion
2 Tbsn olive, coconut or avocado oil
1 Tbsn balsamic vinegar

Sriracha Aioli
2/3 cup Mayonaise
3 Tbsn Sriracha
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

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  • Bring the quinoa and a little more than a 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Once water is boiling, reduce the heat to a medium-low and let it simmer for about15 minutes or until water has been absorbed.  While the quinoa is cooking, make the Sriracha Aioli.  Mix minced garlic, mayonnaise, and Sriracha sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

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  • Rinse the black beans in a strainer and add them to a large mixing bowl. Add cooked quinoa to the bowl. Mash or blend the black bean-quinoa mixture into a paste.

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  • Mix in bread crumbs, bell pepper, onion, garlic, egg, cumin, salt, pepper, and Sriracha sauce, and stir with wooden spoon until completely mixed.

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Form the mixture into about 10 small or four to five large round patties.

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  • If using carmelized onions, slice onion and cook on medium high heat with oil 4 or 5 minutes, until browned and softened.  Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and cook until liquid has absorbed.  Remove from heat.

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  • Using a brush or spoon, spread olive oil onto the surfaces of the patties. Cook black bean patties on a grill set at medium heat or pan fry in a heavy pan.

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  • Cook each side for about 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.

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  • Slice open the bun and place a burger on the bottom and top it with a generous spoonful of onions.  Spread the top half with sriracha aioli.

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Meatless Monday – Pizza with Cauliflower Crust


Cauliflower Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Mushrooms and Carmelized Onions

Yes, a pizza crust made with cauliflower!  Much to my carb fearing husband’s dismay, I really like pizza.  He actually likes it too but not what it does to his waistline.  I, however, can’t resist.  I love deep dish, thin crust, thick crust, flat bread, you name it.  So I was very excited to stumble upon this recipe for pizza made with a flour free crust in the “Vegetarian Everyday” cookbook (by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl).  The recipe calls for cauliflower which sounds completely crazy but I couldn’t wait to try it out. I was not disappointed.  The crust also includes ground almonds, which I have learned can be used for half of the flour in most baking and cooking recipes.  Almond flour and almond meal are interchangeable in recipes.  Almond flour is made from peeled, blanched almonds while almond meal includes the skin. I used almond meal that I found easily at Trader Joes.  “It is gluten free.  Half a cup of ground almonds contains 10 grams of carbohydrates, 6 of which are fiber, for a net carb count of 4.  That half cup also contains 10 grams of protein, 23 grams of fat and 273 calories” (  Compare that with 1/2 cup white flour which has 47.7 grams of carbohydrates, 1.7 grams of fiber, 6.5 grams protein, .61 grams of fat and 228 calories.  Since almond meal is nutrient rich but also calorie dense, combining it with cauliflower makes for a nutritious, low carb and surprisingly yummy pizza.

Pizza Crust
1 head cauliflower
¾ cup ground almonds (almond flour or almond meal)
1Tbsp dried oregano
3 large eggs, beaten
Pizza Toppings
1 medium onion
1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 oz mixed mushrooms (crimini, portobello, etc)
¼ cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup any combination shredded cheeses (mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, asiago, provolone )
  • Chop garlic and place in a small bowl with the olive oil and let sit to blend the flavors while you prepare the crust.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.
  • Roughly chop the cauliflower then blend it in a food processor until it’s a fine rice-like texture.
  • Measure 3 cups of the cauliflower mixture and place in a mixing bowl.  Add the ground almonds, oregano and salt and pepper and mix with your hands.  Make a well in the center and add the eggs.  Use your hands to pull the dry ingredients towards the middle until everything is combined and you can shape it into a ball.  It should be more loose and sticky than traditional pizza dough.
  • Transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet or pizza pan and form into a pizza shape by flattening the dough with your hands.  Make the edges slightly higher.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

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  • While the crust is baking. Slice the onion and saute the slices over medium high heat in 1 Tbsp olive oil mixture until golden, keeping the rings intact.  Flip them like pancakes to cook the other side.  Break the rings apart and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Saute a few more minutes, then remove from pan and reserve
  • Wipe the mushrooms with a damp papertowel and slice. Sautee them over medium high heat in 1 Tbsp olive oil mixture for a few minutes, or until they start to lose their water. Remove from pan and reserve.

Mushrooms and onions

  • Remove the pizza from the oven.  Spoon the remaining olive oil mixture over the pizza crust, spreading evenly. Add most of the cheeses then top with onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
  •  Return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes. Serve immediately. Does not reheat well.

Cauliflower Pizza