Lentil Walnut-Apple Burgers topped with “Almonnaise”

Fourth of July and Canada Day (July 1st) seem to launch summer – the food, the picnics, BBQs, and kids breaking from school. For us, summer essentially started two weeks ago. Our teachers went on strike, so the kids abruptly left school two weeks early. Our girls will be going into grades 8, 5, and kindergarten in September. Our eldest had her grade 7 graduation this year, and our youngest her preschool graduation. Milestones. There’s been a lot going on to wrap up our school year, and I’ve enjoyed some simpler with the girls these past couple of weeks. (Not completely simple as we just got a pup, more on that in another post!) :)

With the kids home unexpectedly early, training a new pup, and also getting ready for the cover shoot for my next book (this Sunday, more on that in another post too), I’ve really enlisted their help with more work around the house, including some of the food prep. The older girls mostly, as it’s far more productive, and they are really curious about ingredients and the process. For instance, one of their favorite lunches is a quinoa bowl. I usually speedily prepare it, but lately I’ve had them take turns. As busy as it can be in the kitchen (we don’t have a ton of counterspace), it’s really enjoyable. Feeling in the moment with them, enjoying the simplicity of preparing easy, tasty, healthy food. That’s been lovely. Mind you, there’s a little competition going on regarding whose quinoa tastes best! Geez! Well, better than squabbling over toys.

We also tried a new burger recipe, discussing what ingredients and flavors might work together well. Eldest girl is quite artistic so she was drawing characters on our recipe plan. That recipe still needs some development. ;) But this burger recipe does not! These Lentil Walnut-Apple Burgers are tucked away in the burgers chapter in LTEV. I wanted to show people in that chapter just how fantastically delicious whole foods vegan burgers can be! Our family loves these, and I think the kids quite enjoy the small bites of sweet apple inside the otherwise very savory burger (as do I). Don’t skip the apple, I promise it works!

Lentil Walnut Burgers with Fresh Apple

Along with the burgers, I’m sharing my recipe “Almonnaise”. It’s a fresh take on mayonnaise, made by blending presoaked almonds with a few essential seasonings. No, it doesn’t taste quite like mayonnaise. Nor like vegennaise. It tastes different, but I think that different is better. With a creamy, rich texture and more-ish flavor that you expect from mayonnaise – just fresher and healthier. Scrumptious on veggie burgers and sandwiches, but also wonderful in green wraps, baked spuds, and wherever you’d like a dollop of creamy/salty/rich sauce. I love it, but then those of you that have LTEV know that I am a little saucy.

These burgers will be a hit year-round, and especially for your Fourth of July and Canada Day BBQs and celebrations. Enjoy! (p.s. If you’re looking for a festive dessert, this pie was a hit for many folks last year.)

Lentil Walnut Burgers with "Almonnaise"

Lentil Walnut Burgers (link to print/share)

These savory burgers will surprise you with little bites of sweetness, courtesy of fresh apple.  Plus, they hold together quite well, without being too starchy or heavy. Makes 9-11 patties.

1 tbsp olive oil or water (for saute, see note for skipping saute and cooking onions/garlic with lentils)

1 1/2 cups onion, chopped

3 medium-large cloves garlic

1/8 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper (generous is good)

2 cups cooked green lentils (will need about ¾ cup dry lentils, see note)

1/2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce (omit for wheat/gluten-free version or use a gluten-free vegan worcestershire)

1 ½ tbsp mild miso (I use Genmai brown rice Miso)

1 tsp dried thyme (or 2-3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves)

3/4 tsp dried sage

½ tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp sea salt

¾ – 1 cup ground steel cut oats (or ¾ – 1 cup rolled or quick oats; see note for firmer burgers) (use gf-certified oats for gluten-free option)

3/4 cup raw walnuts (or can toast to enhance the flavor)

1 cup apple (firm, crisp apple like Gala, Fuji, or Yellow Delicious), peeled and diced (in small cubes) – *toss with a squeeze of lemon juice (see note)

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the water/oil. Add the add onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and let cook 7-8 minutes until onions have softened.  Meanwhile, in a food processor, add the cooked lentils, worcestershire sauce, miso, thyme, sage, basil and salt, and blend through.  When onion mixture is ready, add this to the food processor and puree through again, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the oats and walnuts, and pulse through a few times to break up the walnut (but not fully pulverize, leave in a rough chop).  Transfer mixture to a large bowl.  Add apple and mix through until well combined.  At this point, you can refrigerate mixture until ready to fry in patties (refrigerating for at least 1⁄2 hour will make it firmer and easier to form). Take scoops of the mixture and form into patties with your hands. In a non-skillet over medium-high heat (use a wipe of oil unless you have a very good non-stick pan), add the patties, flatten gently on the pan, and fry for 6-9 minutes on each side, until golden and a crust has developed; flip them over only once or twice (the second side will cook quicker than the first).

Serving Suggestions:  Instead of whole-wheat burger buns, try serving in pitas, or a folded whole-grain tortilla with your favorite fixings!  Try a dollop of “Raw-nch Dressing”, p<>, or a large romaine salad tossed with “Classic Caesar Dressing”, p.<>.

Saute Note: Some days you might want to skip the step of sautéing the onions and garlic.  If you’re having one of those days, simply toss the onion and garlic in with the dry lentils and water (see lentil cooking note below), and cook through while the lentils simmer.  You can omit the oil and salt, and simply add a titch more salt with the puree (lightly round the ¼ tsp salt in the pureed mix).

Leftovers? Use leftover patties in sandwiches, much like a pate, or crumble and add to other fixings in a pita or wrap sandwich.

Oats Note: For ground steel cut oats, simply add steel cut oats to a food processor or blender and process until very fine, like a coarse flour.  If you don’t have steel cut oats, you can substitute quick oats for the ground steel cut oats.  These burgers form patties that will hold together, but are still fairly soft.  For firmer burgers, add another ¼ – 1/3 cup of oats.

Lentils Note: If cooking lentils yourself, use about 3/4 cup dry lentils to about 1 ¾  – 2 cups water.  Add a bay leaf, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer covered for about 35 minutes or longer, until lentils are tender and the water is mostly absorbed.  If the lentils are tender but there is extra water, either drain off the water, or remove cover and simmer until water has evaporated).  Of course, feel free to use canned or packaged cooked lentils in a pinch!

Apple Note: You can also grate the apple for the mixture if you prefer.  Use a large-holed grater, and then toss the grated apple with the lemon juice as per directions. Also, if refrigerating the mix for more than ½ – 1 hour, reserve the apples.  This mixture can be refrigerated up to a day or two in advance, however, the apples will lose their texture and taste if they sit in the mixture that long.  So,  if preparing burgers in advance, you can prepare the entire mixture and refrigerate, and then stir in the chopped apple later, before getting ready to pan-fry the patties.

‘Almonnaise’ (link to print/share)

This thick, rich sauce can easily take the place of mayo for your favorite burgers or in sandwiches.  You might just find yourself topping it on just about everything, from baked spuds to pasta, beans and rice, or just a big ol’ dollop on a raw salad.  Make a double-batch (see note); it is that good! Makes about 1 cup, single-batch.

¾ cup soaked (and drained) raw almonds (see notes)

1 tbsp red wine vinegar or lemon juice

¼ tsp dill seed (or ¼ scant celery seed), or omit either, see note

¼ tsp ground mustard (optional, see note)

¼ + 1/8 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup + 1-3 tbsp water

optional: 1-2 tbsp neutral flavor oil (ex: organic almond, avocado oil – omit for oil-free,  add another splash of water if needed)

Using a blender or immersion blender and deep cup or jar, puree all ingredients (starting with 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp of water) until very, very smooth, scraping down sides as needed.  (A high-powered blender works best to achieve a smooth consistency, but a standard blender or immersion blender can step in, just takes a little longer to smooth.)  If texture is very thick, add another 1-2 tablespoons of water (or more, if needed).  I like this mixture fairly thick, so if you want to thin it out more, go ahead and add more water until you have your desired consistency.

Almonds Note:  Soaking almonds makes them softer for pureeing, and will give a little creamier consistency (plus make the blending easier). If you don’t have time to soak the almonds, go ahead and still use ¾ cup of raw almonds – and just add more water.  You will need to start with ½ cup, and then add another tablespoon or two if needed to get the mixture blended and thinned out a little. I use raw almonds that have the skins intact, so this ‘naise has some flecks of color from the almond skins.  If you don’t want this color, feel free to use blanched almonds, or remove the almond skins after soaking (it’s easy, they slip off)!

Double-Batch Note: The blender has an easier time working through this mixture if you double the batch.  It’s not essential, but if you think you will use it up within 4-5 days, consider a double whammy!

Kid-Friendly:  I love this ‘naise best with the dill seed and also the dried mustard, but our kids like it without the dill (or celery seed) and dried mustard.  Also, our children like the addition of just 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast to this mix – give it a try!

Another shout-out to Emma Potts for these mouthwatering photos!

Do you have any inventive burger toppings? Share your fave toppings and inspire others too! 

Walnut-Pecan Balls – and Reminiscing

My very first recipe for a vegan meatball was in The Everyday Vegan. That recipe isn’t a traditional meatball, more of an asian-fusion with flavors of hoisin, miso, cilantro and paired with a sweet and sour sauce. It’s actually one of my favorite recipes from TEV, though I rarely make them now (new recipe development has its drawbacks)!

Walnut-Pecan Balls from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen

I started writing that book 15 years ago, and I still remember grappling with what to call a vegan ‘meatball’. The recipes in that book didn’t replicate many traditional omnivorous dishes. But, still, when you have a meatball that’s not meat, what do you call it? Many vegan recipes rhyme or use wordplays on the original name. I settled on Sweet and Sour Neatballs, and still like that name. It hints to a different flavor profile, and – hey, it’s easy to say!

Now when I create recipes that take similar forms as many meat-based dishes (ex: meatballs, burgers) I tend to refer to the main ingredients or flavor profiles of the recipes (Mediterranean Bean Burgers, Umami Almond Quinoa Burgers, etc) rather than use wordplays.

So, when I developed this recipe for Let Them Eat Vegan, the recipe naming was simple and obvious – Walnut-Pecan Balls. The walnuts and pecans are just the beginning, however. There are other flavorful and savory elements in these balls that they probably deserve a more glorified name! At the end of the meal, the name is not what counts – it’s all about how it tastes and how it makes you feel. This recipe delivers both great flavor and good nutrition. Pair them traditionally with pasta and tomato sauce – or try some of the other serving suggestions in the recipe (below).

Walnut-Pecan Balls - from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton, plant-poweredkitchen.com

walnut-pecan balls, all photos by: coconutandberries.com

These Walnut-Pecan Balls are also one of my husband’s favorite meals. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary just last week. We were wed in San Diego, California on January 16, 1994. We enjoyed a simple ceremony – sincered and intimate, unfussy and relaxing. We flew out of Los Angeles that evening, just before the 1994 earthquake. I remember hearing the news as we were toasting each other in-flight. We have many lovely memories of our wedding – and have created many more since, especially with our three girls.

paulanddreenawedding

I was feeling particularly emotional about our anniversary. Twenty years is a long time, and we were together several years before we were married. We were just kids, really. Yet, we knew our connection and commitment was real, true, and strong. I took some time to create a playlist of our songs that hubby could listen to commuting to work that day. Songs from when we first met, our long-distance relationship, through marriage, having children, and other milestones. As I listened to these songs over a couple of days, it really hit home how much we’ve been through as individuals, as a couple, and as parents.

Some songs made me feel a little sad. Not just because they reminded me of some of our harder times, but also because it brought me back to those early days, when it was just us. We both work so hard, and are so busy as parents. It’s easy to get caught up in our roles and routines, not taking time to remember that connection… why we first fell in love. After the sadness passed, I felt filled with gratitude and love.

paulanddreenaweddingwalking

When I woke on our anniversary, I had an email waiting from hubby. He had written a letter, reflecting on our years together. It recalled sweet and joyful memories, as well as how we’ve endured more challenging times. He also reminisced about my journey as a cookbook author, saying:

I am so proud of everything you have achieved. That includes your accomplishments in business and your amazing publishing career.  I vividly remember all of your effort into those early proposals and the rejections coming back one by one. Then when you accomplished your goal, what a time that was, just seeing the first book in print, the Toronto tour and Canada AM.

Our eldest daughter was just six months old when we took that trip for the book tour and Canada AM appearance. I recall nursing her in the hotel, toting baby food (she had just started solids), and trying to pull it all together to be on national television!

I also clearly remember writing and mailing those proposals with return envelopes. Knowing that I needed just one “yes”! I believed it would happen, and it did. Now, our eldest is now almost 13, with two younger sisters, I have published 3 more books, one ebook, and working on my 5th cookbook.

Much like how our relationship has grown, changed, and evolved over 20+ year – so has my food knowledge, recipe development, and recipe naming. (Mostly for the better, I think!)

With that story I hope you enjoy this recipe. Maybe it’s one you will love for 20+ years too. ;) Yeah… some things never change. You can always count on me to throw in a good dose of corny.

My thanks again to Emma of Coconut and Berries for these delectable photos! Visit her blog, she shares some incredible recipes and ideas on her site!

Walnut-Pecan Balls from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

Walnut-Pecan Balls gluten-free option, oil-free option

ReciPage link to print/share

These savory balls have a buttery taste from a combination of walnuts, pecans, and sautéed vegetables.  They are delicious topped on pasta with a good quality pasta sauce, but can also be used as finger foods to dip in a warmed marinara sauce, or formed into patties and eaten as plant-strong veggie burgers! Makes about 17- 20 balls.

1 tbsp water or olive oil (to saute – use water for oil-free version)

1 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1¼ tsp dried oregano leaves

½ tsp dried thyme leaves

1/4 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup pecans

3/4 cup walnut

1 cup + 2 tbsp rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for a gf option)

2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce (use gluten-free for wheat/gluten free option)

1 tbsp tamari (can use coconut aminos)

½ tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp blackstrap molasses

1/2 – 1 tbsp olive oil (or less/more as needed for frying), optional (see note for oil-free option)

In a skillet over medium heat, heat the water/oil, onion, celery, dried oregano, thyme, sea salt, and pepper. Cook for 10-14 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions and celery are nicely softened and golden brown (add extra water if needed to prevent sticking). Once onions and celery have softened some, add them to a food processor with the remaining ingredients (except last 1 tbsp of olive oil for frying), and process until the mixture becomes crumbly, and then scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Process again to incorporate any larger pieces, and just as mixture becomes sticky and/or forms a ball, stop processor.  Refrigerate for at least 1⁄2 hour (chilling will make it firmer and easier to form). Take small spoonfuls of the mixture, about 1 tbsp (using a small cookie scoop is helpful, but otherwise form with your hands, rinsing hands when needed to keep mixture from sticking to your palms).  If cooking in a non-stick skillet (see note for oven-baking), heat the oil over medium-high.  Add the balls and fry for 5-7 minutes (reduce heat if burning), shifting the pan to turn sides of balls every minute or two to form a golden crust fairly evenly around the balls.  Remove, and serve.

Serving Suggestions:  Most obvious, serve these warm with tomato sauce and pasta.  But, also try as an hor d’oeurve with a warmed sauce (ex: a marinara or other sauce such as my Raw Tomato Sauce, or Living Caesar Dressing for dipping. Also try adding them to a salad to transform a light salad into a full meal.

Oven-Baking Note:  If you prefer baking these in the oven, place balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, turning once or twice during baking, until golden brown.

Idea: These mixture can also be formed into patties and pan-fried as a burger patty.   Or, it can be placed in a loaf dish and baked.

Leftovers? Refrigerate them and use another day as a sandwich filling, simply mashing and stirring in a sauce or condiment of choice, and chopped veggies if you like.

Please feel free to share your feedback about this recipe, how you liked them and/or how you served them! Thanks for indulging my personal ramblings as well, maybe some of you relate from a relationship or parenting perspective. Have a delicious plant-powered week! xx Dreena

Featured PP15 Recipe: Umami Almond, Quinoa, and Sundried Tomato Burgers (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

 

It’s been couple of months since I released my Plant-Powered 15 ebook, and I’ve been getting emails and FB comments from so many of you about the recipes. (Can I pause a moment to thank you for that? I LOVE hearing your recipe feedback, favorites, suggestions, modifications, etc. Very rewarding and inspires my creativity!)

Plant-Powered 15 ebook

Plant-Powered 15 ebook

There are a few recipes from the PP15 that are getting a LOT of buzz. One of the savory stars are these Umami Sun-Dried Tomato and Almond Burgers. Personally, I also love this recipe. Since it’s the season of grilling and picnics and BBQs, I want to share it with all of you! This burger uses raw almonds and pre-cooked quinoa for the base, along with a number of seasonings that ignite that umami essence. Those flavors, along with the richness of the almonds, are what makes these meat-free burgers irresistible! Top with sliced avocado, or the Wonder Spread from the PP15 ebook.

Enjoy…

Umami Almond, Quinoa, and Sun-Dried Tomato Burger by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree

Umami Almond, Quinoa, and Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free option

RECIpage link to print/share

These have fast become one of my FAVE plant-powered burger recipes! The flavor is full of umami depth from the nuts, tamari, and sun-dried tomatoes. They taste fantastic paired with sliced avocado in burger buns or wrapped in whole-grain tortillas!

2 cups raw almonds

1 small-medium clove garlic, cut in quarters

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp tamari (or coconut aminos for soy-free version)

1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves)

1/4 tsp sea salt

3/4 – 1 cup green onions, sliced

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed; preferably pre-sliced – or, chop before  adding to processor, see note)

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (cooled first; can substitute brown rice)

In a food processor, add almonds, garlic, balsamic, tamari, tomato paste, rosemary, and salt. Puree until the nuts are very finely ground, and becoming a little sticky. Be sure to grind them fine enough so that the almonds release some oils and become a little ‘sticky’, that will help bind the burgers – you don’t want almond butter, but a very fine meal that is becoming clumpy. Then add green onions and sun-dried tomatoes and pulse through until the mixture becomes dense and is starting to hold together. Add quinoa and process/pulse through again until well incorporated. Remove blade, and shape into patties (or refrigerate first for 1/2 hour, helps make easier to shape patties). To cook, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook patties, about 5-7 minutes on first side, and then another 3-5 minutes on second side until golden brown. These patties hold their shape well, but if they are flipped a lot and overcooked they become more crumbly and dry. Serve with fixings of choice.  Makes about 6 patties.

Sun-dried tomato note: Some varieties/brands of sun-dried tomatoes can be very tough and hard, and others quite soft. If the ones you have are soft, go ahead and add them straight – but if they are very hard, it is useful to soak them in boiling water for a few minutes to soften (fully drain and pat dry before adding to processor).

If you have the Plant-Powered 15, please tell us what YOUR favorite recipe is! And, what tops your burgers – any special condiments or topping?

 

Mediterranean Bean Burgers (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

medbeanburgers2

I have been wanting to share this recipe with you for SO long. It’s one of my very favorite burger recipes in Let Them Eat Vegan (as many of you know, there is a full burger chapter) – in fact, it’s one of my very favorite veggie burgers of all time! Only two of the recipes in that chapter are photographed in LTEV – the Pan-Fried Falafels and the Nutty Veggie Burgers. I happen to love both of those very much as well, but the falafels are well, falafels – and the nutty veg burgers are quite dense/hearty with the nuts, but sometimes I want a burger that uses its bean! These top my go-to veg burger recipes, along with the falafels, nutty veg burgers, grilled portobello burgers (LTEV), and the Umami Almond and Sundried Tomato Burgers (in the Plant-Powered 15 ebook). Those are the recipes I make most often (shhh, don’t tell my other burgers)!

These Mediterranean Bean Burgers have been getting really great feedback, and I’ve made them at a couple of cooking demos with rave reviews from the audience. So, I have been determined to get a few decent photos of these plant-powered burgers to share with you… so you can finally enjoy the recipe too!

Here are the ingredients waiting for action in my food processor (and before you ask, I have a Breville Sous Chef… all the scoop here). :) I just LOVE the brilliant colors in this pic, all the nutritional GOODNESS going into these plant-powered burgers!

double-batching!

double-batching!

The Breville has a 16-cup capacity, so it can easily manage a double-batch of this mix. I often make an extra batch to freeze for a later date. This time round, that later date will be so the fam can eat them while I’m away at VVC! (Are you going?!)

medbeanburgers3

I get emails often asking whether my burger recipes can be frozen. Short answer: YES! Long answer: Yes, to do so, prep the batch… shape in patties (do not cook), place in an airtight container, separating the patties with pieces of parchment. To cook, let thaw and you’re in burger business!

When I created these burgers, I had NO idea our girls would like them as much as they do. Bonus! I do have to make a couple of patties sans the olives and red peppers for the younger two girls, but that takes just another minute of prep (directions are in the recipe notes).

Mediterranean Bean Burgers on whole-grain tortilla

Mediterranean Bean Burgers on whole-grain tortilla

Last year I made a cooking video for this recipe. (That’s just HOW long I’ve been wanting to post this, truly need an assistant!) Have a watch… and yeah, laugh with me, not at me, when our daughter cheers for the salt. And, then asks me to “scrape out the red peppers”. Uh-huh. Oh, in the clip I made the burgers miniature/slider size, but I usually make full-size patties. OH! Should mention – because this video was recorded last year, that’s my old processor you see in the clip, not the Breville.

What I love about these burgers is that they are really different from many burger recipes. First, they use kidney beans – which have a beautiful color and creamy texture (similar to cannellini beans). I really enjoy them and use them a lot in our weekly cooking. Second, they have a unique blend of seasonings for a vegetarian burger! How often have you had olives and fresh oregano in a burger?! Don’t skip the balsamic vinegar – or any of the ingredients. It’s flavor synergy!

Have I rambled enough? Yeah, I think so. Time to get to the goods!…

Mediterranean Bean Burgers Link to RECIpage for emailing/printing

Kalamata olives, fresh oregano, and other Mediterranean-inspired seasonings give these healthy meat-free burgers a perky twist!

2 cans (14 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 to 2 medium to large cloves garlic, roughly chopped (use 1 for kid-friendly)

2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 1/2 tablespoon red wine or balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon (little generous) Dijon mustard

3/4 cup green onions, sliced (using mostly green portion, and less white)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

2  tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (fresh is best, but if you don’t have it, substitute about 1 1/2 – 2 tsp dried oregano)

1/2 teaspoon (rounded) sea salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 1/4 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for that option)

1/3 – 1/2 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped (see note)

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (optional, see note)

In a food processor, combine the kidney beans, garlic, tomato paste, vinegar, and mustard. Pulse until pureed. Add the green onions, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste, and process to break up and blend. Add the oats and pulse to begin to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl (or remove the blade) and stir in the olives and red pepper (if using; see note). Refrigerate the mixture for 30 to 45 minutes, then shape into patties with your hands (see note). To cook, wipe a smidgen of oil over a non-stick skillet on medium/medium-high heat. Cook the patties for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Alternatively, bake the patties for about 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping once through cooking. Makes 6-7 patties.

If This Apron Could Talk

If you have family members that don’t care for olives, simply remove a scoop of the mixture before adding the olives and form into a patty or two. And the red peppers add a touch of freshness and texture to the burgers, but can be easily omitted—or, as with the olives, you can make some patties without them before adding the diced peppers.

Refrigerating the mixture is important as it helps the burger mixture firm up. When you first start to pulse in the oats, the mixture will appear somewhat loose. But, the oats absorb moisture as the mixture sits and refrigerates, and once you remove to shape into patties you’ll notice the mixture has firmed up some.

Ingredients 411: If you dislike olives and want to omit them altogether, note that you may want to add another few pinches of salt to season the mixture, as the olives contribute a salty bite.

If you have LTEV, have you made these yet? If so, please share your thoughts, I’d love reads to have some feedback other than mine! And, what are YOUR favorite veggie burgers?

Now Available!: Plant-Powered 15 ebook (vegan, oil-free, gluten-free)

So, the last few months you may have been wondering what I’ve been up to. I’ve been posting plenty of recipes, but haven’t been talking much about personal things or our family. Truth is, I have been swamped since September with both work and mama responsibilities, and it’s been challenging to keep up. (My next post I’m going to talk about just that, the mothering ‘balance’, so I hope you’ll be with me and share your insights too.)

On the work front, I’ve been very busy for a few reasons. First, I had plans to start another cookbook. That plan still exists, and I’m in the final stages of a contract. So, I will have news for you soon about my next big book project!

Then, I got this crazy idea in my head back in December, that I could do an ebook. I love it when I get these crazy notions thinking I can “do it all”. Yeah. Crazy lady. It started like this…

Do any of you remember my holiday cookbook promotion? Well, once people started trying these recipes and I was posting details about the promo on facebook, I received a lot of requests to turn those recipes into an ebook.  HUH! I never even thought of that! Until someone planted the seed, and off I go running.  So, I procrastinated on the idea for a month or so, because I knew it would be a lot of work – with a new learning curve. I just wasn’t sure if I could pull it off (without pulling out my hair)!

PP15cover

Until one day, I get an email from one of my readers, Lynn McLellan. The email subject line reads: Recipe “Feed”back. I open the email nervously, thinking I’ve messed up something in a recipe or two (because that’s what us neurotic cookbook authors think). Was I ever surprised to open the email and see that Lynn had taken photos of EVERY recipe in the Plant-Powered 15 package and shared her feedback on EACH recipe!  I was humbled and teary, that she took the time to put all that together for me to read.  And, it was a sign to get off my behind already and put this ebook together! If you are with me on facebook, you have seen some of this ‘feed’back, as I’ve been posting examples. For instance, Lynn said this about my “Coconutty Cookies”:

Wow! I couldn’t get enough of these. They taste like little coconut pillows! So light and satisfying. In fact, they were so good I made a second batch right away while I still had the ingredients handy. That’s how fast they disappeared! 

Coconut Pillows, eh? Yep, that name stuck!

I asked people on facebook again… should I do this? Do you still want it? Would you buy it? Then THEY told me to get off my behind.  So I did. And here it is!

While I’d love to go on about how clueless I was in the beginning working on this project, I will spare you that dull reading. What I will tell you is that I got lucky. Sometimes people come into your life at certain times, and you have a feeling it’s for a reason. That happened when Nicole Axworthy emailed and said she’d like to help me with the photography for this book. I already knew of Nicole’s talents, because she is the co-author of the Tiny Treats ebook with Lisa Pitman (I sang its praises on FB and mentioned it in this post). I LOVE that ebook. The recipes are insanely creative, and the photos are simply stunning. When I bought that book and opened it on my computer, my jaw dropped. So, needless to say I was pretty stoked that Nicole wanted to work with me on the Plant-Powered 15!

Nicole captured every recipe in the Plant-Powered 15, in a full-size photo. One thing I hear from readers most often is “we want more photos of recipes”. I couldn’t agree more. (And, as a side note, my next book will also have photos of every recipe).

So, what types of recipes are in the Plant-Powered 15? To start, all the recipes are whole-foods vegan recipes. And, all the recipes are made without any added oils. That’s what you have been asking for, with emails and facebook comments and tweets and more… that’s what I’m delivering. You can be sure you aren’t losing flavor, though. Many of us know from a culinary perspective that fat is a flavor carrier. You are NOT losing flavor in these recipes. The flavor stays, and some whole-foods fats are included in certain recipes to ensure texture and taste are not sacrificed! These recipes are all also gluten-free if you are able to eat certified gf oats. Not all recipes use oats, of course, but that is the only ingredient that requires mention for gluten-free readers.

Here are all the recipes included in your Plant-Powered 15! (along with a few sample photos)

  1. Almond Zen Granola
  2. Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars  Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Chip Oat Bars from the Plant-Powered 15 ebook
  3. Creamy House Dressing
  4. Green Goddess Dressing
  5. Orange-Miso Dressing
  6. Wonder Spread  Wonder Spread from the Plant-Powered 15 ebook
  7. Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes
  8. Presto Pistachio Pasta  prestopistachiopesto
  9. “SweetBalls” (yes, I said it!)
  10. Umami Sun-Dried Tomato and Almond Burgers
  11. Sneaky Chickpea Burgers
  12. Mac-nificent  Mac-nificent - from the Plant-Powered 15 ebook
  13. Coconut Pillows
  14. Sticky Almond Blondies  Sticky Almond Blondies from the Plant-Powered 15 ebook
  15. Peanut Butter Munchy Squares

The Plant-Powered 15 is now officially available! You can pick up a copy here:
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And you can also link through to purchase on my “Books” page at anytime.

Please come back and tell me your recipe experiences from this ebook. I’d love to know which recipe caught your eye first, what you tried straight away, and which recipes are your favorites!

Vegan Burgers: Mushroom Pecan Sliders

I had some fun facebook this morning, playing a guessing game with this photo.  And, Dana quickly identified them as my “Mushroom Pecan Burgers, Take II” from LTEV.

Why ‘take II’?  I first created this recipe for my first cookbook, The Everyday Vegan.  They were delicious, but a touch delicate and best suited for stuffing inside a pita then taking their rightful place inside a burger bun.  For LTEV, I decided to reinvent them, making them firmer, more savory, and also giving a wheat free and gluten-free option.

Most recently I made them into ‘sliders’ for Father’s Day.  Hubby loves these burgers, and I usually make them for his birthday or Father’s Day – or both!  Now, some of you very observant readers might think you see some grains of rice in there.  Indeed you do – can’t get anything past you!  I had some leftover brown rice in the fridge, and so decided to substitute some of the oats with about 1 cup of rice, to use up the rice (and also stretch out the mix a little).  It worked beautifully, and I would add it again if on hand.  I wouldn’t replace all the oats with brown rice (as the oats help to absorb moisture), but a partial substitution worked well.

Also, if try my “Almonnaise” as an oil-free substitute to vegan mayonnaise!  It’s on page 55 of LTEV (and I hope to upload a YouTube clip for it soon).

Mushroom Pecan Burgers, Take II gluten-free option, oil-free option

1 tbsp olive oil (omit for oil-free version and use just 1 tsp water)

1 lb brown (cremini) mushrooms (ends of stems trimmed), chopped (cremini have more flavor than white button mushrooms, but white mushrooms can also be used)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 ¼ cups onion, diced

couple pinches sea salt

3 – 4 large cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 – 2 ½ tbsps tahini

1 tbsp light miso (ex: brown rice)

½ tsp ground sage

1 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 tbsps balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp tamari

1 ¾ cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for that option)

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce (optional, omit for wheat-free/gluten-free version)

½ cup pecans, lightly toasted (see note)

In a large skillet (as large as you have) over high heat, combine the oil, mushrooms, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have started to brown and shrink down (9 to 10 minutes). Push most of the mushrooms to the outer edges of the skillet (creating a well in the center), turn the heat down to medium or medium-low, and add the onion and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic (adding the garlic later helps prevent it from burning). Stir the mushrooms into the onion mixture and cook for another 6 to 7 minutes, until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar to the pan, stir, and then remove from the heat.  In a food processor, combine about three-quarters of the mushroom mixture with the tahini, miso, sage, oregano, the remaining 11⁄2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and the tamari, oats, fresh parsley, and Worcestershire sauce (if using). Process until it just comes together. Add the pecans, pulse once or twice (to break up but not fully process), and then add the remaining mushroom mixture, pulsing once or twice just to incorporate.  Remove the blade, and shape mounds of the mixture into patties with your hands (yielding six, or five larger patties). The patties can be refrigerated or cooked immediately. To cook, place on a nonstick skillet over medium or medium-high heat and cook the patties for 6 to 8 minutes, then flip and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes until a golden sear has formed on each side, working in batches, if necessary. (To oven-bake, place patties on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 400 degrees, for roughly 10 minutes on one side, then flipping and baking another 10 minutes.) Serve up!  Makes 5 to 6 patties.

Serving Suggestions: Because these burgers take a little more prep than others, pair with the simplest of spuds, such as baked whole sweet or white potatoes. But if you’re up to just a little more prep, try Lemon Dijon Green Beans or Sunshine Fries with Rosemary and Coarse Sea Salt. A green salad will round out the meal and add freshness; try one loaded with raw veggies and drizzled with Walnut Mustard Vinaigrette.

Toasting Nuts:  To toast nuts, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place in oven preheated to 400 degrees, and bake for 7 to 12 minutes, tossing once or twice through the baking process to distribute through evenly during cooking.  Watch carefully as toasting times vary by nut, and they can turn from golden to burned in just seconds.

Thanks to Ricki Heller for including this recipe in her Wellness Weekend round-up!

Link to RECIpage to share/print!

Manly-Man Veggie Burgers for Father’s Day and “hegans”

Post preamble: My father passed away when I was young (I talked about it in this post), so Father’s Day is very meaningful for me.  My children are blessed to have a father that is most loving and selflessly devoted – and I am equally blessed to have him as my husband.  So, celebrate the good dads in your lives, give them a hug and a good meal.

A couple of years ago hubby and I visited a local raw restaurant for our anniversary.  Before leaving the house, I cooked some oven-roasted potatoes and veggie dogs for our babysitter to give the girls.  Once at dinner, we realized this restaurant epitomized how vegan food is perceived: light, airy, “crunchy-granola”, hippity-dippity.  The meals had decent flavor – but there wasn’t much to be eaten!  The portions were small, and because it was primarily raw courses, the burgers had lettuce leaves to sandwich the patties, and the pizza crusts were dehydrated crackers of sort with a scattering of toppings.  I actually enjoy these kinds of meals, because my digestive system does better with moderate portions rather than larger, heavier meals.  [I’m the classic Ayurvedic “vata“. My husband, Paul, on the other hand, is a pitta/kapha blend, and his digestive fire burns strong at lunch and dinner.  While I don’t subscribe to all of the dietary tenets of Ayurveda, elements of this ancient form of alternative medicine are fascinating and insightful.]  But these portions were small (even for me).  After we ate this raw meal snack, we returned headed home and Paul dug into the kids’ potatoes!  *sigh*

So, I “get” those men in your life that want hearty meals.  My husband is not the sprouts-’n-wild greens, wheat-grass-shooting type.  He’ll eat salads and veg, but they had better be next to – or part of – some kind of substantial meal!  So, for Father’s Day I always make one of his favorite manly-man vegan meals.  And, “veggie burger” night is in his top ten recipe ranking.  I rotate the variety of burger, and always serve with some kind of baked spud – either sweet potato fries, chunky yukon gold  taters, red potato “chippers”… if it’s a spud, it wins!

In Let Them Eat Vegan there is a whole chapter on veggie burgers.  I wanted to show people that homemade burgers are far better than storebought, and hearty and delicious enough to satisfy any manly appetite (and can hold their own on any burger bun)!  These Nutty Veggie Burgers are one of our favorites.  They are dense and toothsome, and usually one larger burger (or two smaller) is more than satiating.  So, for the special dad or “hegan” in your life, why not make these burgers for Father’s Day?

Nutty Veggie Burgers, photo by Hannah Kaminsky

Nutty Veggie Burgers (gluten-free option, soy-free option, oil-free)

I came up with these burgers after realizing how fussy children can be with veggie burgers. Many recipes (mine included) are too savory for them, or have onions and other veggies that they feel the need to pick out. Also, sometimes the patties are too delicate for kids eating them on a hamburger bun. I got to work and made this recipe, which is very nutritious and delicious without being too heavy in herbs or spices. Perfect for kids and adults, and, yes, you can serve it with confidence on a burger bun!  And, if you have LTEV, be sure to try the “Almonnaise” and “Sunshine Fries with Rosemary and Coarse Sea Salt” to go with them!

1 1/2 cups raw almonds

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup raw pecans (or more walnuts)

1 small clove garlic, cut in quarters

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp ketchup (can substitute tomato paste)

2 tbsp nutritional yeast (add it! Even my nooch-averse hubby doesn’t know it’s in there!)

1 tbsp tamari (substitute coconut aminos for soy-free version)

1/4 tsp poultry seasoning or 1/8 tsp each of dried thyme and ground sage

1/2 cup finely grated carrot, packed

1/2 cup finely grated zucchini, packed

1/2 – 1 cup rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for gf option)

wipe of oil (for pan-frying, optional – can pan-fry dry or bake, see notes)

In a food processor, combine the almonds, walnuts, pecans, garlic, and salt. Puree until the nuts are finely ground. Then add the ketchup, nutritional yeast, tamari, poultry seasoning or sage/thyme, carrot, and zucchini, and pulse until the mixture becomes dense and is starting to hold together. Pulse in the oats. Remove the blade and shape the mixture into patties. To cook, wipe a nonstick skillet with a smidgen of oil (or omit) over medium heat (see note for oven-baking). Cook the patties for 5 to 7 minutes on the first side, and then another 3 to 5 minutes on second side until golden brown, working in batches, if necessary. Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, and fixings of choice. Makes 5-6 larger patties, or 9-10 ‘sliders’. (RECIpage link to print or share).

If This Apron Could Talk: If you’d like to make this into a loaf, it works pretty well (will be slightly more crumbly than the patties). Press into a lightly oiled and lined (with a strip of parchment paper, for easy removal) loaf pan. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 25 minutes, uncovering for the last 5 to 10 minutes, just to lightly brown the top. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan, and then use the parchment to lift the loaf out of the pan to slice.

Ingredients 411: Using 1⁄2 cup of oats will firm the patties up nicely enough, and you can use up to 1 full cup of oats for even firmer patties.

Oven-baking:  If you use a non-stick skillet, you can pan-fry these without any oil and get a nice golden sear on each side.  If you don’t have a non-stick pan, you can oven-bake.  To do so, place the patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then flip sides, and bake for another 10 minutes.

Other burger suggestions:  Hubby also really loves the Mediterranean Bean Burgers and Mushroom Pecan Burgers Take II from LTEV – definitely try them!  And, for dessert, what about some brownies or cookies? – Or, hit the “Dreena Dazs” chapter in LTEV! :D

p.s. This might be my last post for a couple of weeks.  I am speaking at Vegetarian Summerfest this year, and have a ton to sort before I leave, so ‘momputer’ needs to reboot!  Check out some other great recipe finds on Ricki Heller’s Weekend Wellness!

What are you making for Father’s Day?  Do you have any special Father’s Day memories to share?  I’d love to hear them!

Vote for YOUR favorite Plant-Powered recipe!

Got some fun for you today! :)  I know many of you are anxiously waiting for your copy of Let Them Eat Vegan (if you haven’t ordered yet, check out the special promotion on until the 6th).

So, while you are waiting, I thought I’d give you a little teaser, or rather, a taster!

Hop to my facebook page and vote for one of these six images*:

The recipe that gets the most votes will be published here, on this blog, later this week!  (Please remember to “click” your top pick on facebook, rather than list it here – votes are being tallied on my author page.)

Can’t wait to see which recipe you choose!

All photos by Hannah Kaminsky.

Plant-Powered Foods: Hemp Seeds

We often hear the term “super food”, and often it seems it might be some food that is exotic and too expensive to use.  The term is used to label foods that are particularly nutrient-rich.  So, while some super foods might be more obscure, there are many that have become quite common – for instance leafy greens like kale and chard, chia seeds, quinoa, dark chocolate, and – hemp seeds.

I began experimenting with hemp seeds soon after they broke out in the Canadian market, around ten years ago.  I was writing my second cookbook, Vive le Vegan!, and began using hemp seeds in my recipes for that book.  I learned that hemp seeds are mighty little things, delivering: complete protein, essential fatty acids, chlorophyll, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals, an almost perfect balance of the essential fatty acids!

Fine with the stats.  But how do they taste?.. and what do they look like?  Hemp seeds resemble sesame seeds, but with a rounder shape, greenish tint, and with a much softer texture.  They taste somewhat like sunflower seeds, but with a slight earthier and sweeter flavor.  From hemp seeds, hemp nut butter can be made (just as almond butter is made from almonds).  The nut butter has a distinctive greenish color (from the chlorophyll), and again has a taste somewhat similar to sunflower seed butter.  Hemp oil, flour, and protein powders are also produced from the seeds.  I’m personally not a fan of the protein powder straight up, and haven’t experimented much with hemp flour.  While I have used (and like) hemp seed oil, I prefer consuming hemp in their whole seed form (or as nut butter), since the protein from the seeds is lost in oil form.

Hemp nut butter also makes a simple substitute in nut butter/jam sandwiches, and is particularly helpful for school lunches where nut and peanut allergies are present in schools (hemp has a very low allergenic risk).  Since hemp butter is not as naturally sweet as a nut butter like almond or cashew butter, try stirring a few shakes of cinnamon into your jar of hemp butter as well as a drizzle of maple syrup.  Then, it is already sweetened to add to sandwiches. While I use hemp nut butter occasionally (and also in recipes), I use hemp seeds quite regularly since they can be conveniently added to our daily foods.   Some of the simplest ways you can add hemp seeds directly to your foods include:

  • stir into non-dairy yogurt
  • add to cold cereals and granola
  • stir into warm oatmeal
  • add to batters for pancakes, muffins, quick breads, and even cookies!
  • sprinkle on salads and soups
  • blend into shakes and smoothies
  • toss into cooked grains and/or grain and bean salad mixes
AND, one of my other favorite ways to eat hemp seeds is in – “Spicoli Burgers“.  Have you tried these yet?  I think it’s time!  They’re easy to make, and a definite favorite with my readers.  Give them a try!

From "eat, drink & be vegan"

What is YOUR favorite way to eat hemp seeds?