Wednesday, October 3, 2018

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: The Perfect Veggie Burger

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  
                                                                     --George Bernard Shaw

I love food that tastes good AND is good for you.  A classic American food is the burger.  How do you make the perfect burger when you don't eat meat? 

It’s easy. 

Below is one of my all-time favorite veggie burger recipes.  I make it at least twice a month.  I have made many different versions of veggie burgers and I always prefer using lentils as the key ingredient.  

Locally grown tomatoes make the flavor on veggie burgers really pop!

3 Seed Burgers starting to cook
Here are 4 reasons why I use lentils:  
  1. Lentils are easy to cook; they are fully cooked in 20-30 minutes.  
  2. They don't need to be soaked in water overnight.  
  3. They are very inexpensive.  
  4. They can be cooked a day or two before making the burger recipe and are just as good as if you cooked them the same day.  
Lentils are in the food group called legumes. Lentils, and other plant foods in the legume family, are one of the healthiest foods on the planet because they are nutrient dense and extremely high in dietary fiber.  The legume group includes lentils (green, red, black, French), beans (i.e., black, garbanzo, adzuki, kidney, lima, fava, soy), peas (snap, green, split and black-eyed), and peanuts.  

Just 1/2 cup of cooked green lentils contains about 9 grams of dietary fiber, which is about one third of what you need to consume in one day.  Eating plenty of foods high in dietary fiber is key if you want to prevent or reverse diabetes. 

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection
  • ·        ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • ·        ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ·        ¼ cup unhulled sesame seeds (or substitute hemp seeds)
  • ·        1 cup cooked green lentils
  • ·        2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • ·        2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ·        ¼ cup diced onions
  • ·        2 tablespoons tahini
  • ·        1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • ·        Pinch of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika         
  • ·        Optional:  Add 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten and/or 1 tablespoon coconut aminos*
Preheat oven to 350.  In food processor, combine all 3 seeds and process until coarsely chopped.  Add remaining ingredients.  Process until mixture is blended.  

Shape mixture into 4 patties. Lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil.  Place patties on sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn and bake another 8 minutes.  If you choose, you can grill burgers in a pan on medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side, or until browned. 

Serve burgers on whole grain buns.  Garnish with avocado, lettuce, tomatoes. 

*For demonstration purposes, Trader Joe's Coconut Aminos were used in the preparation of this recipe in the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen. 

TIP:  Something I like to do is to mix the ingredients on Sunday, place mixture in the fridge overnight so they firm up and are easier to handle, and then prepare the burgers for dinner on Monday night,
With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.