[Meatless Monday] DYI veg burgers

It’s a weird day over here in the Bay Area! It was HOT this afternoon and then raining with thunder and lighting when I got home from work. It’s stormy and gloomy without the cold. All of my windows are open, along with the patio door. The smell of rain is filling my apartment (that, and the smell of a musky candle I have burning too). My lemon tree is happy for the drops of rain. It’s a cozy Monday afternoon. Perfect for experimenting in the kitchen!

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Mike and I avoid meat whenever we can. Veg burgers are on regular rotation over here and although there are some good brands out there (Dr. Praegar’s is my favorite!), I love making my own with only a few ingredients. This recipe was super easy with only 2 main ingredients and some spices and condiments. It can easily be a “kitchen sink” recipe by subbing out the Great Northern beans and rice for whatever you have on hand (quinoa and black beans would be great as well).

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Plus you make now and freeze them for later. I actually find that they heat up better this way because they are frozen into place before pan-frying.

If you’re doing this, I suggest doubling the batch to get the most of your time. 🙂

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If freezing, use parchment paper in-between burgers to keep from sticking

 


DIY veg burgers with a grain and a bean

Prep time:  25 minutes – Cook time: 10 minutes – Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup dry rice, cooked according to package
  • 1 can Great Northern Beans
  • 1 TBS Trader Joe’s Onion Salt
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 1 egg

*you can sub the onion salt for other spices and the hot sauce for mustard or ketchup, etc.

Directions:

  • Mash rice, beans, egg, and spices together until gooey
  • Refrigerate for 20 minutes
  • Round into burgers
  • Freeze or pan fry until middle in warm (about 4 minutes each side on a slightly oiled pan)
  • Dress up and serve

 

[HACK] basically no oil roasted veggies

I try to incorporate veg into every meal and while it doesn’t always happen for breakfast, or sometimes lunch, you can bet there are making an appearance for dinner. Every night. Without fail, we have something green to eat (or red or purple or orange, you get it).

I’ve found buying organic frozen vegetables is a very sustainable way to do this. I alternate between broccoli, green beans, asparagus, peas (my favorite!), and sometimes corn.

I also love roasted veggies but don’t love all of the oil needed to get them nice and crispy. Happily, I’ve found the ice/water from the frozen vegetable can drastically reduce the amount of oil you need to roast them.

Another reason to stock up and love on frozen vegetables!

All I do is spray my cooking sheet with an organic Spanish olive oil, pour the veggies on, and roast at 400 degrees for about 20 – 30 minutes, depending on how toasty you like them! (I like mine extra charred so they’re in there for a while.)

Frosty frozen!

Sprinkle with some pink Himalayan sea salt and there you go; all of the nom, way less of the oil.

End note: Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against some good olive oil however, I typically have a generous amount of it at lunch on my salad so prefer to stay away from more at dinner.

Smashed Pea Bruschetta

Have you ever made a recipe that made you want to throw a party just to make it again for all of your friends? That’s what happen to me with this smashed pea bruschetta. Seriously nom and so easy.

Each bite was a perfect combination of creamy (I’m looking at you, ricotta) and crunchy (toasted sourdough, whatsup); not to mention those powerhouse peas (so many vitamins and minerals!) and bits of basil really bringing out the flavor.

This recipe is going into the favorites box, y’all! I love that it is versatile too. It can be a simple, light, delicious dinner on a hot summer night or a lovely start to a dinner party with friends. You can also pair it with grilled shrimp or a big, giant salad for a more hearty meal (or soup in the winter). The ingredients are few but the options are plenty. Double win.

Note: I served this with a side of sautéed spinach and mushrooms to stay in line with my 3 meals in 15 ingredients.

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Smashed Pea Bruschetta

Prep time: 10 minutes* – Cook time: 5minutes – Servings: 2

*I used frozen peas and defrosted them in the refrigerator the night before

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/2 ricotta
  • 5 – 6 basil leaves, chopped finely
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced (optional)
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • S&P to taste

Directions: 

  • While bread is toasting….
  • Smash peas! I used the pestle (from our mortar) to smash them
  • Add ricotta, chopped basil, and S&P
  • Scoop onto toasted bread and top with sliced tomatoes
  • Serve

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#vegvibes

Pea and Parmesan Farro

Have you cooked with farro before? They sell it at Trader Joe’s and it’s great when you want to mix things up.

Farro has a slightly nutty taste and a chewy consistency, almost like gnocchi. I make it with vegetable broth to add more flavor and learned by trail and error not to follow the instructions on the little blue bag (more on that below).

Basically farro is yummy, cheap, and versatile. I made this dish with peas and a side of roasted vegetables, all that came from my list of 15 ingredients! (If you prep and cut your vegetables before, the prep time for this one is basically non-existent. All about that!)

There were plenty of leftovers which can be paired with toast (also on the list) for another easy meal.

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Pea and Parmesan Farro

Prep time: 0 – 5 minutes – Cook time: 15 – 20 minutes – Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 package farro
  • 1 box vegetable broth
  • 1 cup peas (I used frozen)
  • Optional: veggies to roast as a side

Directions: 

  • The bag of farro instructs you to cook the grain like rice, covered and simmering in boiling water. I like to use veg broth because it give it more flavor. I still simmer it but leave the pot without a lid so the steam can evaporate. It you don’t want to do this method, feel free to go by the insturctions listed on the package 🙂
  • When the farro has absorbed all of the broth (~20 minutes), I added my cup of frozen peas and have it a good stir to heat the peas through
  • Plate and top with parm
  • Re. a side, while my farro was simmering, I roasted zucchini and mushrooms, which gave us enough farro for leftovers! Refrigerate to reheat and serve with sourdough toast – on the list of 15 ingredients! – for another quick weeknight meal

 

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#vegvibes

Summer Style Zucchini Lasagna

When I think of lasagna, a few memories rush to mind…

I remember visiting my grandparents on winter breaks and opening their freezer to boxes of Stouffer’s Lasagna. In between breaks from playing Barbies and Briarberry bears (did anyone else play with these?!) I would tear open a red cardboard box and pop that plastic try of noodles, cheese, and marinara sauce in the microwave. A few minutes later, BAM, piping hot lasagna waiting for me to eat before blissfully going back to playing make believe.

I also remember Mike picking me up in the first few months of us dating for dinner in North Beach, the Italian district in San Francisco. We went to a cozy little restaurant and sat at a table for two by the window. I ordered the lasagna and probably broke some dating “rule” by finishing every last bite. Who can resist melty cheese and carbohydrates? Not this girl.

Lastly, I distinctly remember the first time I made my own lasagna and packed it with as many veggies as I could. Carrots in the sauce! Spinach in the ricotta! (Arguably healthier than the Stouffer’s and North Beach variety.) Bless Mike for eating my cooking without complaint!

My point is, I love me some good layered lasagna! But it’s a dish that screams WINTER. I wanted to lighten it up for the warmer months and knew replacing the noddles with lighter zucchini would do the trick!

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pro tip: let a paper towel absorb the water in your zucchini before baking



Summer Style Zucchini Lasagna

Prep time: 20 minutes – Cook time: 40 minutes – Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 – 7 small zucchini sliced in long thin pieces*
  • 4 – 5 small ripe JUICY tomatoes (if you can’t find any, a strained can of fire-roasted tomatoes will do
  • 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup roughly chopped spinach
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

* Important step: after you slice the zucchini, place the stripes on paper towels for ~20 minutes to absorb some of the water *

Directions:

  • Sauté the minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant
  •  Add mushrooms and tomatoes (getting all of the seeds and juice in there to give it more of a sauce consistency)
  • While your sauce is cooking, add chopped spinach to ricotta and mix well
  • After mushrooms and tomatoes are cooked, spread a thin layer on the bottom of a pan (I used a small enough one for two but the size will depend on how much you’re making)
  • Layer zucchini slices on top of sauce and then the spinach and ricotta cheese mixture
  • Top with mushrooms and tomatoes
  • Repeat 3/4 times, depending on how many zucchini you have
  • Top with parmesan cheese
  • Bake at 350 for 40 minutes

#vegvibes

[WWAW] Cali. Quesadillas

When Mike and I celebrated our anniversary in Coronado earlier this year, we had these delicious California Stone Fired Quesadilla that I’ve been wanting to recreate.

They are lighter than a normal quesadilla because the cheese isn’t the leading role. The additions of hummus and veggies give this recipe a lot of volume without all of the fat of a fully cheese stuffed quesadilla. The thin layer of hummus make them creamy and adds protein.

Plus, any dish that takes me back to a vacation-mode is a win in my book!

Note: there aren’t any real measurements for this recipe – just pile on as many ingredients as will fit! Also, get creative and sub things you have on hand 🙂


Cali Quesadillas

Prep time: 10 minutes – Cook time: 15 minutes – Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of lavish bread (feel free to make the whole pack and freeze for later!)
  • hummus
  • sliced mushrooms
  • handful of arugula
  • shredded cheese
  • sliced black olives (optional)
  • salsa verde (to dip)

Directions:

  • Spread a thin layer of hummus on lavish bread while a pan is heating up on medium heat
  • Lightly grease pan and place lavish bread on pan, top with ingredients, fold over
  • I find using another pan or pot as some weight works well to melt the cheese quickly without burning the lavish
  • Flip after 3-4 minutes and cook the other side
  • Serve with various dips (and an optional side of chips)

 

Vegan Potato TACOS!

Tacos are one of my favorite things. Who doesn’t love a taco?

Tacos Tuesdays.

Taco trucks.

The way your head tilts to the side when you’re biting into a taco.

This is all good stuff.

&what’s equally as good? The vegan potato tacos I whipped up the other night. (Sadly I didn’t take pictures of the cooking process but I *promise* the end result was the main attraction anyway. They were so so so good!)


Potato Tacos

Prep time: 15 minutes – Cook time: 15 minutes – Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c onion chopped
  • 1 large potato chopped into cube size pieces
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1/2 Tbs garlic powder
  • 1/4 Tbs paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 corn tortillas

(to top with)

  • 1/2 large tomato chopped
  • guacamole or avocado
  • salsa verde
  • cilantro (I didn’t have any on hand but wish I did!)

Directions:

  • Sauté onions in coconut oil until translucent
  • Add potatoes and spices, mixing well
  • Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally
  • Heat tortillas while potatoes are cooking and build yourself a taco bar with your toppings
  • When potatoes are done, add to tortillas and top

**I served our tacos with pinto beans. A great way to spice up canned beans is to simply add a bit of lime juice and cumin – BAM! All of the flavor.


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