Meatless Monday -Vegan Mini Meatloaf

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Vegan meatloaf might not spring to mind as a delicious main course but I’m here to tell you it is….It’s reminiscent of my mother’s traditional meatloaf using Quaker Rolled Oats, onions, ketchup and Beyond Meat ground ‘beef’, cooked to a nice perfection and then topped with barbecue sauce for the last bit of cooking.  It’s pretty delicious.

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I was asked to come up with a vegan main course for a St. Patrick’s Day event where the main course was going to be corned beef.  This was a nice (and perhaps selfish)  challenge for me since even though I have gotten used to eating around the main course or making side dishes into dinner, its always nice to have a dinner option available.  Vegetarians and vegans are often in a pickle at parties where a vegetarian/vegan option isn’t being served.  We don’t want to be perceived as difficult or judgey, but then again we won’t eat the meat option and we are hungry too.  So when someone goes to the trouble to make sure there is something meat free , I am beyond grateful.

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I used to love my Mom’s meatloaf which was based on a Quaker Rolled Oats recipe from the 1960’s.  It was a huge hit in my house and now that there are so many good meat substitutes available, I decided to give meatloaf another whirl but using Beyond Meat ground beef substitute instead of actual ground beef. If you are interested in the health aspects or nutritional information, check out  Beyond Meat. I chose to make mini meatloaves because they are easier to serve than slicing, and they are darned cute.  You can use a mini meatloaf pan or hand form the meatloaves onto a glass baking dish or cooking sheet with a rim.

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You can also make a traditional large meatloaf using a loaf pan or free formed onto a baking dish.  This recipe is makes eight mini meatloaves. You can cut the recipe in half for four servings if you prefer.  Or you can make one large meatloaf.  Form meatloaf mixture with your hands into 10×6-inch loaf on glass baking dish or cooking sheet with a rim. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until meatloaf is firm and has a nice crust. Add barbecue sauce for the last 10 or 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes to ensure easy slicing.

I used real eggs as a binder, compliments of my backyard rescue chickens whom I consider ambassadors for all factory animals. Here’s my sister, Margaret, with Margaret the chicken. Aren’t they cute?  Check out their facebook page Mrs V’s Rescue Chickens.   If you aren’t lucky enough to have access to pasture raised chicken eggs or you don’t use eggs at all, there are really good options beyond making a flax egg (1 Tablespoon flax seeds to 3 Tablespoons water equals 1 egg).  I have had success using Just Egg but there is also Follow Your Heart and Red Hill Egg Replacer neither of which I have tried.

Tips:

Mini meatloaves can be made ahead of time, which is a nice time saver if you are hosting an event.  Uncooked loaves can be covered in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for a few days until you are ready to cook.  Just bring to room temperature before cooking to ensure even cooking.  Cooked meatloaves can be frozen for about three months and microwave well once defrosted.

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VEGAN MEATLOAF

  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 pkgs of @beyondmeat Beyond Burgers  (2 lbs)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs or vegan egg substitute (*see note)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce or gf soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp of Onion Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup barbecue sauce

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  • Saute the chopped onions in olive oil until tender, remove from heat and let cool.

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  • Combine all ingredients except for barbecue sauce in a large bowl.

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  • Mix well using a large wooden spoon (or I prefer to use my hands)

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  • Divide the mixture into eight parts and form them into small loaves and place on an oiled baking sheet, or spoon into oiled mini loaf pans, forming a rounded top on each one.

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  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, spread with barbecue sauce or ketchup and cook another 15 minutes,

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Vegan Mini Meatloaves

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 pkgs of @beyondmeat Beyond Burgers  (2 lbs)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs or egg substitute (*see note)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce or soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp of Onion Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup barbecue sauce or ketchup

 

  1. Saute the chopped onions in olive oil until tender, remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Combine all ingredients except for barbecue sauce in a large bowl.
  3. Mix well using a large wooden spoon (or I prefer to use my hands)
  4. Divide the mixture into eight parts and form them into small loaves and place on an oiled baking sheet, or spoon into oiled mini loaf pans, forming a rounded top on each one.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, spread with barbecue sauce or ketchup and cook another 15 minutes,

 

Meatless Monday-Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Balsamic Drizzle

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Move over portobello mushrooms, Cauliflower Steak is the hot new vegan main course, and rightly so.  Cauliflower is the chameleon of vegetables and can become whatever you want it to be.  In this case, it takes center stage as a beautiful plant based steak with a caramelized crust and drizzled with a balsamic reduction.  Infused with herbs and smoked paprika, it is delicious and surprisingly hearty and done in 30 minutes.  I recommend serving over rice or couscous to soak up the delicious juices.

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When buying cauliflower, choose a head that is firm and heavy.  A lighter head will probably fall apart when you try to cut thick slices.  As it is, I plan on two steaks per head.  Sometimes I get lucky and get two more smaller ones but sometimes its mostly florets, which are still delicious but don’t have the same presentation.  If you are lucky enough to have your outside pieces stay together, cut off the curved edges so both sides can properly caramelize. This recipe serves two to three people but the sauce recipe can easily be doubled using two heads of cauliflower.

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TIP:  The trick to getting the proper caramelization or sear on the cauliflower is by managing the heating element of your oven.  Preheat your oven to a warm 300 and then increase the heat to get the element going again when you put the cauliflower in to roast.  Your baking sheet should be in the bottom third of the oven and close to the element. The key is to keep the element hot as ovens are designed to bake everything and keep the oven at a constant temperature, which means the heat source turns off as the desired heat is achieved, but we definitely want the heat to stay on.  Think of it as broiling in reverse…

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For my nutrition and health conscious friends who want to delve deeper into the goodness of cauliflower, here is an article that lists 8 Amazing Health Benefits of Cauliflower including heart and brain health. One serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, vitamins and anti oxidants. Surprisingly, it is also an anti inflammatory and a good detoxifyer so don’t be surprised if you see cauliflower start showing up in even more foods…  Check my  recipes below that feature cauliflower.

CLICK THROUGH FOR MORE CAULIFLOWER RECIPES:

‘Chicken’ Fried Cauliflower Steaks with Creamy Mash

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

Spice Crusted Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

Cauliflower Leek Soup

Spaghetti with Cauliflower, Capers and Lemon

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ROASTED CAULIFLOWER STEAKS WITH BALSAMIC REDUCTION

  • One head of cauliflower (makes 2 steaks)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh pepper
  • 2 tsp dried Italian herb mix
  • 1 Tbsn fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey or agave nectar (optional)

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  • Preheat your oven to 300°F  . Remove leaves from stem end of cauliflower, leaving the core intact.

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  • Place cauliflower core side down on cutting board and slice in half with a large knife. Carefully slice a one inch thick steak from the center of each half. You will be left with two smaller steaks or possibly some florets.  Slice the rounded edges off for better caramelizing.

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  • Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, herbs, and 2 tsp of the thyme into a bowl.

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  • Spray or brush a baking sheet with olive oil and arrange the cauliflower steaks along with smaller piecesBrush the cauliflower slices generously on both sides with this mixture.

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  • Turn the oven up to 425°F and place the baking sheet in the lower third of the oven near the element.  Roast in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown. Carefully turn over the steaks and spread any remaining olive oil mixture on the top. (optional)

 

  • While the cauliflower is roasting, pour balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan.  Stir in honey, if using, and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat and let cool.

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  • Continue roasting another 8 to 10 minutes to caramelize the other side.  Smaller florets may need to be removed to a platter earlier.  If the heating element on your oven turns off, increase the temperature to 450°F. When the cauliflower steaks are done, remove from oven and transfer onto a serving platter or individual serving plates.

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  • Sprinkle with additional fresh thyme leaves and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

 

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Balsamic

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
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  • One head of cauliflower (makes 2 steaks)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh pepper
  • 2 tsp dried Italian herb mix
  • 1 Tbsn fresh thyme (divided)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey or agave nectar
  1. Preheat your oven to 300°F  . Remove leaves from stem end of cauliflower, leaving the core intact. Place cauliflower core side down on cutting board and slice in half with a large knife.
  2. Carefully slice a one inch thick steak from the center of each half. You will be left with two smaller steaks or possibly some florets.  Slice the rounded edge off for better caramelizing.
  3. Spray or brush a baking sheet with olive oil and arrange the cauliflower steaks along with smaller pieces.
  4. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, herbs, and 2 tsp of the thyme into a bowl.
  5. Brush the cauliflower slices generously on both sides with this mixture.
  6. Turn the oven to 425°F and place the baking sheet in the lower third of the oven near the element.  Roast in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown. Carefully turn over the steaks and spread any remaining olive oil mixture on the top. (optional)
  7. While the cauliflower is roasting, pour balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan.  Stir in honey, if using, and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  8. Continue roasting another 8 to 10 minutes to caramelize the other side.  If the heating element on your oven turns off, increase the temperature to 450°F
  9. When the cauliflower steaks are done, remove from oven and transfer onto individual serving plates. Sprinkle with additional fresh thyme leaves and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Spaghetti with ‘Sausage’, Zucchini and Mushrooms (Vegan)

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This recipe is a re-boot of my family’s favorite pasta.  It’s incredibly flavorful and loaded with sausage, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes.  The difference is that I substituted Beyond Meat Hot Italian Sausage for traditional meat sausage.  I haven’t made this recipe for about five years, since I stopped eating meat, so I was happy when Beyond Meat introduced their wonderful vegan sausages.  Top with freshly grated Vio-Life Vegan Parm for a salty, nutty flavor.  The recipe tastes just the same as it used to, but now its guilt-free.  I guess you really can go back home…

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This is one of the first recipes I started making early in my marriage back in the 80’s.  I had no idea how to cook, so I ordered a subscription to a monthly book series, “Great Meals in Minutes” which is really how I learned to cook.  The format of the books is quite brilliant and shows step by step instructions, but most importantly teaches HOW TO HAVE EVERYTHING DONE AT THE SAME TIME!  which is always the biggest challenge in cooking.  With that in mind, I try to design my recipes incorporating all the steps including a photo of what the dish is supposed to look like.  Call me needy, but I like to know what I’m shooting for.

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This recipe is based on one that originally came from the Pasta Menus book of this series. It quickly became a favorite of ours and then of our kids too, once they were old enough that we didn’t have to separate their food into piles that didn’t touch each other any longer.  Once you’re there, you’re golden.  However, for those parents with young kids, this recipe also worked when we were at that phase of life.  I would fix the kids plates with plain pasta with butter with sauteed zucchini (or defrosted peas) and plain sauteed sausage.  Then I would proceed to make the proper dish for the grown ups. Easy, and I didn’t have to become a short order cook in the process.

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SHORT CUTS & SUBSTITUTIONS: Over the years, I have taken short cuts when necessary.  I think this dish is best when the sausage and veggies are cooked separately and added to the sauce toward the end, as their flavors and textures are retained, however, I have also had good results doing it all in one pot.  Saute the onions and garlic, then add the sausage and cook about five minutes.  Add mushrooms and wine and let evaporate.  Then add tomatoes, herbs, and zucchini.  Simmer while pasta is cooking.  Another short cut is to use diced tomatoes with Italian herbs already included.  If you prefer a smoother sauce, substitute crushed tomatoes.  If it is still tomato season, you can use fresh tomatoes.  Just parboil them for a few minutes in boiling water.  Remove with a slotted spoon and peel when cool enough to handle.  Dice and use as directed in the recipe.  Or go the lazy way and just dice whole.  The skins will mostly disappear into the sauce if you cook them a little longer.

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VEGAN PRODUCTS:I like to share new vegan products as I find ones I like. (FYI, there are many I don’t like and no one pays me to recommend products) BEYOND MEAT offers a Sweet and a Hot Italian Sausage.  I like them both but think the hot has a little better flavor without being too spicy..  The sausage has a pleasing texture too.  You can cook them as you would any meat sausage but not for as long since they aren’t really raw and you don’t want them to dry out.  I also really like the VIO LIFE JUST LIKE PARMESAN.  It comes in a small wedge so you can freshly grate it as needed.  It tastes just like regular parmesan.  Click the underlined product names above for nutritional information on their products.

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PASTA TIPS: Don’t forget to save a cup of pasta water before draining!  It literally is the magic that restaurants use to make a sauce glisten.  Its not the same as adding hot water.  Pasta water contains essential starch that smooths out your sauce and gives it a velvety quality.  You should never rinse pasta after cooking (unless you are making a cold pasta salad) and pasta should remain wet, not dry, because the starch is what helps the sauce stick to the pasta.  Adding oil to your cooked pasta to prevent sticking actually prevents your sauce from sticking to the pasta which may seem counter-intuitive. Instead, add back a little pasta water.  Trust me, pasta water will change your life…

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  SPAGHETTI WITH ‘SAUSAGE’, ZUCCHINI AND MUSHROOMS (VEGAN)

  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil(divided)
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsn fresh chopped basil or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
  • Salt (for pasta water)
  • 1 lb spaghetti or spaghettini
  • 2-3 small zucchini (1 lb)
  • 5-6 mushrooms (criminy or white)
  • 1 lb sweet or spicy Beyond Meat Italian Sausages
  • 3 Tbsn red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated vegan parmesan cheese (optional)

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  • Chop onion and garlic finely. Heat half of the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat and saute onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
  • Set pasta water with salt and a drizzle of olive oil to bring to a boil.

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  • Add tomatoes, basil and thyme to onion mixture and stir to combine. I like to rinse the tomato can out with about a quarter cup of water and add to the pan. Simmer 10 minutes on low.

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  • While sauce is cooking, slice zucchini into 1/8 inch rounds. Wipe mushrooms with damp paper towel, remove tough ends and thinly slice

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  • Heat remaining olive oil in skillet over medium heat and saute zucchini several minutes until lightly browned  Remove zucchini to a plate and set aside

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  • Beyond Meat sausage has no casings to remove.  Just break off small pieces with your fingers. Saute sausage in the same pan, breaking it into a crumble with a wooden spoon.  Add mushrooms and mix gently.  Add wine and let it evaporate.

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  • Add zucchini and sausage mixture into the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Let simmer over low heat while pasta is cooking. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

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  • Cook spaghetti according to directions.  Before draining, remove one cup of pasta water and set aside.  Drain but do not rinse pasta.

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  • Add about a 1/2 cup pasta water to sauce and stir to combine.  Its the magic ingredient that binds everything together!  If it seems too dry or too skimpy, add the rest and simmer until ready to serve.

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  • Spoon sauce on top of pasta or mix all together, depending on your preference. Serve with grated parmesan if desired.

Spaghetti with Vegan Sausage, Zucchini and Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil(divided)
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsn fresh chopped basil or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
  • Salt (for pasta water)
  • 1 lb spaghetti or spaghettini
  • 2-3 small zucchini (1 lb)
  • 5-6 mushrooms (criminy or white)
  • 1 lb sweet or spicy Beyond Meat Italian Sausages
  • 3 Tbsn red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
    1. Chop onion and garlic finely
    2. Heat half of the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat and saute onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
    3. Set pasta water with salt and a drizzle of olive oil to bring to a boil.
    4. Add tomatoes, basil and thyme to onion mixture and stir to combine. I like to rinse the tomato can out with about a quarter cup of water and add to the pan. Simmer 10 to minutes on low.
    5. While sauce is cooking, slice zucchini into 1/8 inch rounds
    6. Wipe mushrooms with damp paper towel, remove tough ends and thinly slice
    7. Beyond Meat sausage has no casings to remove. Just break into small pieces with your fingers.
    8. Heat remaining olive oil in skillet over medium heat and saute zucchini several minutes until lightly browned  Remove zucchini to a plate and set aside
    9. Saute sausage in the same pan, breaking it into a crumble with a wooden spoon.  Add mushrooms and mix gently.  Add wine and let it evaporate.
    10. Add zucchini and sausage mixture into the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Let simmer over low heat while pasta is cooking. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
    11. Cook spaghetti according to directions.  Before draining, remove one cup of pasta water and set aside.  Drain but do not rinse pasta.
    12. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup pasta water to sauce and stir to combine.  Its the magic ingredient!  If it seems too dry or too skimpy, add the rest.
    13. Spoon sauce on top of pasta or mix all together, depending on your preference. Serve with grated parmesan if desired.

Meatless Monday – Beet Veggie Burgers with Pickled Onions

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What is more American than a juicy burger, except for maybe baseball, hot dogs and apple pie, and I would argue about that… Well these burgers may not be traditional in that they are plant based, primarily quinoa and pinto beans and they get their lovely color from raw shredded beets, but they can definitely go head to head with a beef burger.  I thought these were really good, especially with the pickled red onions, butter lettuce, a little avocado, mustard and mayo, boom!  I could eat these once a week!

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I found this recipe in the Hannaford fresh Magazine, May – June 2019 this summer and I’ve been wanting to make them ever since.  I have always liked veggie burgers, not because I miss meat, but because there is something so iconic about eating a burger.  It’s the ultimate comfort food. (Sorry mac and cheese)  I was immediately intrigued by the addition of raw shredded beet in this recipe. You may have tried the increasingly popular Beyond Meat Burger which is entirely plant based and gets its red coloring from beet juice which is what piqued my interest in this recipe.  Beyond Beef is a very good beef replacement but I’m not sure where regular people go about getting pea protein isolate so… that’s where this recipe comes in. These burgers are packed with protein provided by both the pinto beans and quinoa with smoked paprika and other spices to make a really delicious burger which is easy to make.   Plus homemade is best!
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…And the magic ingredient is beets!  In spite of their homely external appearance, once peeled they are beautiful and vibrant jewel tones, proving the old adage that beauty is on the inside. In addition to providing the gorgeous red color in these burgers, beets are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and iron.  One word of caution though, beet juice stains anything porous so use a ceramic cutting board or a plate when peeling.  I used my cuisinart for shredding which worked pretty well although it looked a bit like a bloodbath.
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I like to set up a burger bar so people can make their own.  This time, I set out pickled onion, avocado, dill pickles, butter lettuce and the usual condiments.  The pickled onion is a fun touch but completely optional.  Pickling red onions in half rice wine vinegar and half water softens their texture and sharpness.  It becomes a whole new vegetable!
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TIPS:  This recipe takes under 30 minutes if you are efficient, including quinoa cooking time.  Using leftover quinoa, or making it ahead, is even faster.  It does recommend refrigerating patties for a half hour before cooking to firm them up but this step can be skipped if you are pressed for time. This recipe can be made gluten free by using gluten free panko.  It can be made vegan by using an egg replacer or flaxseed combined with water. Use 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal to 3 tablespoons of water for one egg.  The original recipe called for 1 cup chopped walnuts but I am allergic, so I skipped it altogether.  I don’t feel the recipe needed it but feel free to add walnuts for more heft and protein.
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BEET VEGGIE BURGERS
1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded red beet (1 small beet)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. smoked paprika
4 tsp. olive oil
6 hamburger buns
1/2 -1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional-see Tips above)
PICKLED RED ONION (Optional)
1 small red onion
3/4 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup water
  • Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa according to directions.  Pour into a large bowl to cool.

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  • While quinoa is cooking, thinly slice red onion and place in a bowl with rice vinegar and water. Cover and refrigerate until burgers are ready for serving.

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  • Mash pinto beans with a wooden spoon until mostly broken down but not completely smooth and add to quinoa.

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  • Peel raw beet with a sharp knife on a plate to save your cutting board from staining.  Shred or grate in a food processor, mandolin or box grater. Add to quinoa mixture.

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  • Add breadcrumbs, egg, garlic powder, salt, and paprika and mix until well combined.

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  • Form mixture into six thick patties and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. (You may be able to skip this step if you are in a hurry)

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  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add three patties and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and patties.

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  • Place cooked patties in buns and serve with pickled red onions and your other favorite toppings.

Beet Veggie Burger

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans(drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded red beet (1 small)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. smoked paprika
4 tsp. olive oil
6 hamburger buns
1/2 -1 cup finely chopped walnuts(optional-see Tips)
PICKLED RED ONION (Optional)
1 small red onion
3/4 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup water
  • Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa according to directions.  Pour into a large bowl to cool.
  • While quinoa is cooking, thinly slice red onion and place in a bowl with rice vinegar and water. Cover and refrigerate until burgers are ready for serving.
  • Mash pinto beans with a wooden spoon until mostly broken down but not completely smooth and add to quinoa.
  • Peel raw beet with a sharp knife on a plate to save your cutting board from staining.  Shred or grate in a food processor, mandolin or box grater. Add to quinoa mixture.
  • Add breadcrumbs, egg, garlic powder, salt, and paprika and mix until well combined.
  • Form mixture into six thick patties and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. (You may be able to skip this step if you are in a hurry)
  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add three patties and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and patties.
  • Place cooked patties in buns and serve with pickled red onions and your other favorite toppings.

Meatless Monday – Mediterranean Orzo

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Toss together cooked orzo, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, crumbled feta and fresh herbs with a lemon dressing for a quick, fuss free meal.  I just love a dish that doesn’t need to be babied or involve a lot of prep, no oven and can be ready in 20 minutes, plus cooling time.  This delicious pasta dish is served at room temperature, so you can make it and let it sit until you are ready which makes it perfect for a summer buffet or when you have guests for dinner.  Or better yet, make this the day before and bring to room temperature to serve while you sit back and enjoy a glass of wine…

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I love this combination of flavors and colors. The orzo (which is pasta not rice) absorbs the lemon vinaigrette along with the sun dried tomatoes in oil.  The herbs and onions add a freshness while the olives and feta add a wonderful saltiness as the final touch. I have made this for a large party and tossed with roasted shrimp with great success but I prefer it just like this.  I think I like it better the next day, so feel free to make it ahead. To avoid waiting for the orzo to cool, cook it ahead of time and just toss all ingredients together for a 10 minute meal.

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In purchasing feta, I advise getting a block in water rather than already crumbled.  The quality is better and you can control the size of crumbles.  Often the pre-crumbled feta is very small and would get lost in this dish.

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MEDITERRANEAN STYLE ORZO

  • 3/4 lbs orzo pasta (or gluten free orzo)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup scallions, minced white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced or small dice
  • 8-12 oz feta cheese, large crumble or dice

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  • Cook the orzo according to package instructions, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Do not rinse.

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  • Whisk together the lemon juice,  olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the hot pasta. Mix well.

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  • Stir in the sun dried tomatoes with oil and the olives. Set aside to cool and allow the juice and flavors to absorb.  If it seems too dry, add a bit more olive oil.

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  • While the pasta is cooling, thinly slice the scallions, thinly slice the red onion and cut the slices in half (or finely dice) and chop the parsley.

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  • When pasta is cool, add the scallions, parsley, onion and mix well.

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  • Add the feta and stir gently. Taste and add seasoning as needed. Set aside at room temperature to allow the flavors to blend (the longer the better).

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TIPS:  This recipe can be made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. Just bring it back to room temperature and check seasonings before serving.

Mediterranean Orzo

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 3/4 lbs orzo pasta (or gluten free orzo)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup scallions, minced white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced or small dice
  • 8-12 oz feta cheese, large crumble or dice
  1. Cook the orzo according to package instructions, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Do not rinse.
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice,  olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the hot pasta. Mix well.
  3. Stir in the sun dried tomatoes with oil and the olives. Set aside to cool and allow the juice and flavors to absorb.  If it seems too dry, add a bit more olive oil.
  4. While the pasta is cooling, thinly slice the scallions, thinly slice the red onion and cut the slices in half (or finely dice) and chop the parsley.
  5. When pasta is cool, add the scallions, parsley, onion and mix well.
  6. Add the feta and stir gently. Taste and add seasoning as needed. Set aside at room temperature to allow the flavors to blend (the longer the better).

TIPS:  This recipe can be made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. Just bring it back to room temperature and check seasonings before serving.