Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers

These veggie burgers didn't quite come out the way I wanted them to. Taste got a 10. Texture got a 3. Something went wrong somewhere (I have a few ideas), or it's one of those recipes you have to fiddle around with. But again, as far as taste goes, these knocked it out of the park so I feel they are worth another try.

To make up for them being less than stellar, I'm including a brussel sprout-and-radish slaw that I shamelessly stole/copied from Mezon in Danbury, where we went with friends the other night for Tapas. I just made a little, thinking that only Jeeps and I would eat it.  But go figure, Panda kept dipping her spoon in and so did her friend who was over for dinner. These dang kids, you can never figure their tastes out.

Go Figure Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers

  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (I think I screwed up here because instead of measuring 3 cups of raw, cubed sweet potato and then steaming that amount, I measured 3 cups of steamed mashed sweet potato)
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I didn’t screw up here; cook the quinoa first, then measure 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Heaping 1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour, or finely ground rolled oats, or almond flour (I had none of these things but I did have almond meal.  Maybe it contributed to the mushy texture, maybe it didn’t)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce

Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil on the stove.  Add the sweet potatoes and lower the heat to simmering.  Let the potatoes cook for about 20-30 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.  (You can also steam the potatoes in the microwave.)

While your potatoes are cooling preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or non stick foil.

Once your potatoes have cooled use a fork to mash them.  You want them mashed but not creamy.

In a large mixing bowl add half of the black beans and mash them with a fork.

Add the rest of the beans and the remaining ingredients.  Stir until just combined.  Form the mixture into 10 balls.  Each burger should be about 1/2″ thick.  Place each patty on your prepared baking sheet and place in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping the burgers over once halfway through baking.

Remove from the oven and serve.

I made the slaw by running 8 brussels sprouts and 4 radishes through the shredding disk on the food processor. Then I dressed it with lime juice, mayonnaise, and chopped cilantro. Raw brussies are bitter, so after combining all that, I started adding squeezes of honey and tasting until it was the perfect blend of sweet and sour. You'll know when you get it right.

Chana Masala

So over vacation I fell in love with Molly Wizenburg, with Orangette, and with A Homemade Life:  Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table.  I may be late to this party, but so be it.  She is my new girl crush and this book is, as we speak, being shipped to me to keep for my very own because this library copy for 3 weeks just isn't going to cut it.  This is the world's most perfect book.  This book was written for me.  And I'm afraid I'm going to be a bit of a pain in the ass about it, but so be it. Let's dive right in, shallllllll we?

While not a vegetarian herself, Molly confesses to consistently falling in love with them ("My love is for herbivores only"), and now she is married to one.  So her book includes lots and lots of delicious-sounding recipes for salads and meatless meals.  Including her husband Brandon's recipe for chana masala.

For the uninitiated, chana masala is an Indian dish of chick peas and tomatoes, heavily and beautifully seasoned.   It's fantastic by itself with hunks of pita or naan, or served over rice, which is how I did it tonight.

You can read the full post and story here (and please do go to her blog and if you can, get a copy A Homemade Life because she's just a wonderful, wonderful writer).  But if you want to cut to the chase, let's just cook.

Chana Masala, from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenburg

  • Good-quality olive oil or coconut oil (coconut oil in this dish is KILLER)
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (I did not have seeds, I used 1/2 tsp of ground cumin)
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garam masala (you can buy this pre-made in the spice aisle, or make your own)
  • 3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed (I did have these because cardamom is my favoritest spice ever, but you could skip the pods as there is cardamom in the garam masala)
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 Tbs cilantro leaves, roughly torn, plus more for garnish (I had no cilantro and used parsley)
  • A pinch of cayenne, or to taste
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6-8 Tbs plain whole-milk yogurt, optional
  • A few lemon wedges, optional

1.  Heat oil in saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is deeply caramelized and even charred in some spots. Be patient. The more color, the more full-flavored the final dish will be.

2.  Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garam masala, and cardamom pods, and fry them, stirring constantly, until fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup water, and stir to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water has evaporated away completely. Pour in the juice from can of tomatoes, followed by the tomatoes themselves, using your hands to break them apart as you add them; alternatively, add them whole and crush them in the pot with a potato masher. Add the salt.

3.  Raise the heat to medium, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the cilantro and cayenne, and simmer the sauce gently, stirring occasionally, until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Add the chickpeas, stirring well, and cook over low heat for about five minutes. Add 2 Tbs water, and cook for another five minutes. Add another 2 Tbs water, and cook until the water is absorbed, a few minutes more. This process of adding and cooking off water helps to concentrate the sauce’s flavor and makes the chickpeas more tender and toothsome. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

You can stir the yogurt into the chana masala before serving, or leave it out and serve with a squeeze of lemon.  However you serve it, do so with a sprinkle of cilantro/parsley and a pinch or two of the garam masala.

Served over coconut rice, this was pass-out delicious and so easy to make.  Plus your house smells amazing while it's cooking.  Jeeps ate two huge bowls and has called dibs on the leftovers for tomorrow (Molly says it's even better the second or third day).

Hoppin' John

This is not true hoppin' John. One, it has neither bacon nor sausage. Two, it has a host of other ingredients that have no business in authentic hoppin' John, but which I add to make it appeal to the shorter people who live in this house. Still it makes a great side dish or even a main course if you are in a vegetarian state of mind. I served it over rice tonight, along with roasted broccoli and brown-sugar glazed salmon. Along with my apologies and all due respect to the authorities on southern cooking. Think of it as a lighter, keener hoppin' John. Skippin' John. You might even call it Dancin' John, although I don't know if he'd appreciate that.

Hoppin' John

  • 1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn 
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander

Heat olive oil and a pat of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, celery, carrot, and red pepper. Saute another 5 minutes. Add cumin, coriander and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional). Add black-eyed peas and corn, stir to combine. Lower heat, cover, and cook another ten minutes. Before serving, add some chopped scallions and chopped parsley. Serve over white rice.