Wednesday, September 16, 2015

real veggie burgers + tahini bbq sauce

School is in session! Yikes! The chaos of Oahu life has officially set in, complete with organic chemistry, biology, and sociology.

Amidst the busy schedule, tons of homework, and hardly any time with my wonderful husband, I feel a massive weight lifted off of my shoulders. We did it. We moved to Oahu from Maui; found a place to live, new jobs, and have successfully settled in on a new island. I feel as though I can wipe my hands clean of the daunting move (phew!) and focus on the tasks at hand.

Although school takes up most of my time, I am also working two days a week at an awesome little sandwich shop in Kaimuki called Sprout. Some inspiration for this post came from Sprout's signature vegan patty; the Sproutwich. Black beans, oats, sunflower seeds, carrots, and... oops! I can't tell you anymore, sorry, you'll just have to trust me that it is totally packed with flavor, super filling, and Tom and I are seriously addicted. The iconic Sproutwich is served with bbq sauce, a tahini based cilantro lime aioli, sprouts, butter lettuce, and tomatoes. You have to try one if you are ever in Kaimuki! I am also selling my vegan energy balls at Sprout so make sure you try one of those too ;)

Veggie burgers (not just the Sproutwich) are a staple in our house because they can be batched up and frozen. They are perfect for a quick dinner or something to bring to a bbq. I feel that it is essential that I make my own veggie burgers because store bought ones usually have all sorts of processed soy products, preservatives, and things that I can't pronounce and don't dare look up. I like to eat real food, and I like my veggie burgers to have real veggies in them. I have two other veggie burger recipes in the blog archives that I rotate between so check them out too! broccoli + millet burgers and black bean + beet burgers.

 real veggie burgers
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 3 spring onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp flaxmeal + 1 cup water)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp Bragg's amino acids

Prepare the flax eggs by whisking together 2 Tbsp flax meal with 1 cup of water, set aside. This recipe involves three steps in the food processor, meaning different ingredients are processed at different times to ensure that everything ends up with the desired consistency. Don't bother washing, or even rinsing, the processor in between, it's all going to the same place! Grind the oats and sunflower seeds in a food processor into a fine meal.

Transfer them into a bowl. Now add all the veggies (roughly chopped) to the food processor. 

Process veggies until no large chunks remain, the more you process them, the less detectable they'll be in your burgers, so this part is up to you! Add veggies to the oat and sunflower meal. Now add the garbanzo beans to the food processor and blend. I usually blend to about the same consistency of the veggies. Add blended garbanzos to the bowl along with the flax eggs, italian seasoning, and the Bragg's amino acids. 

Mix all ingredients together, I like to get down and dirty and just use my hands, it seems much more affective. You should have a doughy ball that looks something like this: 

Form into patties and place on a cookie sheet. 

If I am freezing the veggie burgers I will freeze them on a cookie sheet first, then transfer them to a big container so they don't freeze together and I can get a few out at a time. If I am baking them right away, I pop them in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes on each side. If they are frozen, bake 20 minutes on the first side and 15 on the other side. 

Each batch makes about 8 burgers but the recipe is easily doubled. I usually double it to keep extras on hand for a night when I have too much homework to think about dinner! These real veggie burgers are great on whole wheat buns, multi grain ciabatta, or even just on top of a green salad. 

I haven't had bbq sauce in years so I took it upon myself to make a healthier version of a bbq flavored sauce. I discovered two things that are essential to achieving this flavor: smoked paprika and enough sweetener. Of course, the first batch I made with regular paprika and trying to skimp on the sweet. Not worth it my friends. The sweet smokiness is what makes it bbq-- so do it right!

tahini bbq sauce
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 dates
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. This sauce is thick, creamy, sweet, and smoky. It makes for a great burger condiment, sandwich spread, or dip for oven baked potato wedges. Mmmmmm...

Now smother that real veggie burger with tahini bbq sauce and smile, because it feels good and tastes good, to be a vegan!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

creamy beetroot pasta

I could honestly call this a beetroot alfredo sauce. It's so "creamy" that I could have any non-vegan fooled! Mua-ha-haha!

And how frickin gorgeous is it?! Beet is one of my favorite colors. Yes, beet is a color, and so is turmeric. :)

creamy beetroot pasta

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 whole roasted beets
  • 8 oz. firm tofu
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • penne pasta

I have been roasting a load of veggies on Sunday afternoons to have them throughout the week; beets, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, butternut squash, etc. It makes cooking dinner with a busy schedule much more bearable!

For the beets; trim the ends and wrap together in a piece of foil. Place on a cookie/baking sheet in a 400 degree F oven for about an hour. When the beets have cooled a little bit they are easy to peel with your fingers. If you are crunched for time peel the beets before you roast them so you don't have to wait for them to cool. Cut the beets into chunks.

Combine garlic, beets, tofu (also cut into chunks), salt, pepper, italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar, and water in a high speed blender and blend until silky smooth.

Boil water and cook penne pasta as directed. I used about 12 oz dry pasta with this amount of sauce and it was very saucy. I like it saucy. But you could definitely stretch it over 16 oz of pasta.

Transfer your beautiful beetroot sauce into a saucepan and heat until just hot. Drain the pasta and combine it with the sauce. Serve with a parsley garnish and feast your eyes as well as your belly because this dish is stunning!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

earl gray smoothie

I love earl gray tea. Sweet bergamot orange and tangy black tea were simply made for each other. This creamy, caffeinated smoothie is made with just bananas, earl grey tea, and chia seeds. No where for that flavor to hide.

First, a few quick facts about tea. All teas (green, black, white, and oolong) are actually from the same plant; camellia sinensis. All contain flavanoids which act as antioxidants, fighting off free radicals that form in our bodies. Free radicals have been linked to causing cancer so drink your teas!

I like to double up on the tea bags when I am adding teas to a recipe. This concentrates the flavor, making it shine through and compliment the other flavors without watering down the whole thing. Steep the tea bags for about 4 minutes. Don't forget or it will get bitter! Place the brewed tea in the fridge overnight. It's important that the liquid in your smoothie is cold to get an "ice cream like" consistency.

  • 2 frozen bananas 
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups cold earl grey tea
Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Serve with granola topping. I had just made honey + nut buckwheat clusters yesterday so I tried them out with this smoothie! Fantastic.

If you are interested in the honey + nut buckwheat clusters, just check out my chunky chocolate buckwheat granola recipe but use peanut butter instead of tahini, and honey instead of maple syrup.  Or just make the chocolate version because that is amazing too!