Veggie Burgers, Fries, and Onion Rings, Oh My!

We’ll get to the veggie burger part in a minute here, but first things first, can I just say – Holy Cow!  These onion rings are amazing! I was really not expecting these ingredients to create something that actually tastes like restaurant-quality onion rings (but without all the fat and white flour), but that’s exactly what I got. The recipe is another great one from Appetite for Reduction and is really quite easy. The only change I made was to use stone-ground whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose and it turned out just fine.  You can view the full recipe at the Post Punk Kitchen so I won’t reprint it here, but seriously go make these immediately.

Oh, right, there were other parts of this meal.  Got a little carried away there. I always make my own veggie burgers – it’s really pretty fast, you can control the ingredients, and you can mix and match to whatever flavor you feel like on any given day. My veggie burger philosophy is that they should not really try to taste like meat, but embrace their veggie-ness and really own it – this really makes them much more fun to make and eat. So you start with a bean base (I used black soy beans here but you can use almost any cooked bean) and smash them up with a fork.  Then chop up some veggies – in this case I went with mushrooms, onion, garlic, and celery:

Make sure to chop them relatively fine so they can blend together in the patty.  Sautee the veggies until they are nice and soft, then mix them in with the beans.  Throw in some seasoning – cumin, coriander, curry powder, chili powder – whatever strikes your fancy! In this case I used cumin, turmeric, chili powder, salt and pepper.  At this point you’ll want to check on the consistency of your mix.  You want something you can easily shape into a patty, so if this is too dry or crumbly you can add something liquid, such as soy sauce or vegetable broth, or you can throw it all in the food processor to create a more smooth consistency (that’s what I did this time.)  If it’s too wet, you can add oats or bread crumbs to make it a bit thicker.

Shape the mix into four equally sized patties:

Then you can either grill them or just heat them up in a pan on the stove.  If you grill them, I recommend putting them on some foil so they don’t fall apart on the grill.  If you sautee them, just give them about 4 minutes per side over medium heat, or until they are nicely browned.  Slap ‘em on a whole wheat bun with some mustard, lettuce, tomato or whatever makes your skirt fly up.

Then all you need to complete this ridiculously gluttonous meal is some fries!  I went with butternut squash for these ones for the same reason I make many of my cooking decisions: I had one lying around.  You could also use regular potatoes or sweet potatoes.  Butternut squash was pretty darn good though, so I’ll show you how to do that.  First, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Then take your butternut squash or potatoes, peel it and slice it into fry-like strips.  Here’s the process I used for mine:

Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, cut it in slices, cut those into strips. Simple enough. Then grease a cookie sheet, spread the strips on there in a single layer, and sprinkle with a bit of salt.  Throw it into the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, flipping the fries halfway through. They should turn a nice golden brown, or even get a tiny bit charred, depending on how done you like them.

These weren’t super crispy, more like soft cut fries in texture, but they were very yummy!  So there you have it – a decadent dinner of burger, fries, and onion rings, and yet you haven’t even used more than a teaspoon or two of oil.  Ta Da!

Veggie Burger:

This is the recipe for the one I made in these photos, but remember that you can mix and match almost any of the elements as long as you end up with something you can shape into a patty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz. can black beans
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 6-7 white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric
  • Soy Sauce or Vegetable Broth (optional)
  • Oats or breadcrumbs (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Drain and rinse beans, then put them in a large bowl and mash them with a fork.  Heat onion, garlic, celery and mushrooms in a medium skillet over medium heat until the onions are soft and the mushrooms have lost their moisture. Once vegetables are cooked, mix them together with mashed beans.  Add in cumin, turmeric, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Try to shape this into patties – if it is too dry, add soy sauce, vegetable broth, or blend it in the food processor.  If it is too wet, add oats or breadcrumbs. Divide into four equal parts and shape into patties.  Grease a medium skillet over medium heat and heat patties for approx. four minutes on each side, or until browned and heated through.  Serve on whole wheat buns with your favorite burger toppings.

Butternut Squash French Fries

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (you could also use 2 sweet potatoes or russet potatoes)
  • Olive oil (to grease cookie sheet)
  • Salt (to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Peel squash, remove seeds from inside, and slice into 1/4 inch strips.  Grease a 9×13 cookie sheet and spread fries in a single layer.  Sprinkle with sea salt to taste.  Bake for 10 minutes, then flip fries and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until fries are browned.
 

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