Monday, March 31, 2014

Black Bean Patties

Even though I am vegetarian, sometimes I just get the hankering for a good "burger." I haven't eaten a real burger in several years, but I have tried many black bean burger recipes. Some have been better than others, but none have been terrible. I decided to give it another go last week, and while my creation was not a "burger," it was a bean patty to be proud of. I may tweak this recipe when I make it again (more on that later), but its pretty good just the way it is. Here's how I did it:

Black Bean Patties


  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 c bread crumbs and a heaping 1/2 c Panko
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder (more or less according to taste-I used 1/2  tsp)
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 3 Tbsp sweet chili sauce (I use Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere's 
  • Extra Tony Chachere's for sprinkling 

How To

In a bowl, mash your beans. There is really no magical way to do this. You can pulse them in a food processor to the desired consistency, or you can mash 1 can and leave 1 can whole, or you can fork or hand mash both cans like I did. Next time, I may try the food processor (less mess :)

Once your beans are the consistency you want, mix all other ingredients together (except the extra Tony Chachere's). Your mixture will be wet, but still manageable. If it's too wet for you, simply add some more bread crumbs. See review below for other ideas.

Patties before cooking

After cooking...nice and brown

Separate into 6 balls and flatten into patties. Then sit them in the fridge separated by wax paper or parchment. This lets the flavors meld and helps patties to form and firm up. I made my bean mixture in the morning and cooked them at dinner time. I sprayed my griddle with nonstick spray, sprinkled the patties with extra Tony Chachere's, and cooked the patties over md heat till browned on one side. Then I flipped them over and cooked them till brown on the other side. They browned beautifully and stuck together well. Serve and eat. Yum.


On a bun as a burger
While these were great patties, they were not "burgers." They were crisp on the outside, but softer on the inside...tasty, but not the burger consistency I was hoping for. DH was skeptical because he doesn't like the general consistency of black bean patties, but he said they were good. He didn't love them, but they were better than he expected them to be. For him it is a total consistency issue. 

On a tortilla with  melted cheese
and light  sour cream
I thought they were really tasty and versatile. I ate them 3 ways over the course of a week: on a bun, as a "burger," crumbled on a salad with corn, salsa, and ranch, aka taco salad (no photo), and crumbled on a whole wheat tortilla with sour cream and melted cheese and rolled up like a burrito.

Rolled up to eat like a burrito
I am wondering if mixing some Boca crumbles in it will help to make the consistency more burger like. I don't know. Or perhaps a grain like rice or quinoa. I will definitely keep working on this.  I think this will also help keep the mixture from being just a tad too wet.

These froze and reheated well.

Enjoy! This recipe get 3 1/2 spoons. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Vegetable Soup Yum Yum

Last week I made a big pot of vegetarian vegetable soup. I say vegetarian because it had no meat in it. I don't have a problem with chicken and beef flavored broths, but if you do just use the vegetable broth and it will still be delicious.

I eat soups all year round, even in the summer. As long as I'm cool, soup is good for me. I don't always like cooking it in the summer though. Turning the stove on just makes the house hot and in the desert you really want no part of that. 

I always make good vegetable soup, but this time around it was extra specially delicious... Not sure why.  I rarely follow my own recipe exactly, but I do have a basic recipe that I go by and it is petty good. I am a "put some spice in and taste it" kind of girl so my spice measurements are a guideline. Below is my recipe. It is delish and doesn't take all day to make. It's great to make on the weekend so you can enjoy it all week long.You can use whatever veggies you and your family like, but the ones I use ( roasted corn, baby limas, peas, and greenbeans) are my go to vegetable soup veggies.

DH also noticed that this batch of soup was particularly good. The only thing I did differently was subbed Pinot Noir (Little Black Dress brand, but any will do) instead of red cooking wine since I had run out. I'm not sure if that little switch alone was enough to elevate this soup, but it must have because that was the only difference. 


Vegetable Soup 

In a soup pot, put a little water. Add the following ingredients:
  • 3/4 c diced onion
  • 1 1/2 stalks chopped celery
  • 2 sliced carrots
  • 1 1/2 tsp bottled minced garlic (or 3 cloves, minced)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a good sprinkling of Spike Seasoning over all

Water saute till veggies are soft. 

Next add
  • 8 c low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 c water
  • 1/2 -1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c low sodium V8 or a 12 oz bottle
  • 1/8 c red wine
  • 1 Tbsp each oregano and basil
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • A pinch or two of sage
  • 2 1/2 tsp beef bouillon
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed*

 *sometimes I use beans and sometimes I used barely...I like the beans better because as they break down they add a starchy texture and flavor to the soup that makes it taste heartier since it has no meat in it.

Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Taste the broth and re season to taste. This is where I add extra oregano usually and sometimes more sage and bouillon if needed. Another spice that I used to put in was thyme, but I didn't use it this time and I didn't miss it. I suggest you use whatever vegetable soup spices you and your family enjoy.

Next add 

  • 1 large chopped potato (this also gives good starch breakdown.)
  • 2 c of frozen veggies (usually baby limas, peas, Trader Joe's frozen  fire roasted corn, and green beans)

Bring the soup back to a boil, then simmer 15-20 minutes more. Taste broth again and re season if needed. Turn off heat, lid it, and let soup sit in post till it cools slightly before you put it away. This extra "wait time" really helps the flavors to meld. I do my soup like this because I generally make it in the morning, then store it in the fridge, and DH and I warm up bowls of it in the microwave whenever we want it. If I were going to make it later in the day and serve it for dinner, I would still want some "wait time," 30 minutes at least. And don't forget to remove the bay leaf!

I have also used fresh sliced zucchini in the past. If you use zucchini or yellow squash just make sure to add those with about 5 minutes left of cooking or they will get too mushy.

This is a 5 spooner soup. Enjoy!