veg reform

Last spring I traveled to Japan for two weeks, and very unfortunately, got a bad case of the flu. Anyone who’s been sick while on vacation can relate to the horrible feeling of not being in your own bed, and missing out on the things you should be doing on vacation. Lying on a tatami mat writhing in pain is not my first choice of activities. Luckily, I got sick toward the end of the trip, however, after arriving home, it was like the clock reset itself and I was sick all over again for another week. During that time, I decided to power through the Netflix queue and I ended up watching an innumerable amount of food documentaries. 

The result of me mainlining documentaries caused me to reflect on what I consume. The movie that hit home for me is called Forks Over Knives. I recommend watching it if you have ever considered reducing or cutting meat from your diet. Maybe it was me being sick and delusional, but this movie spurred me into action. I convinced my meat-loving husband to participate in a four day a week veggie experiment. Four days a week because I’m realistic. Food is a large part of our social life and I knew it would be way too much to go veggie on the weekends when we typically are trying new restaurants, hosting dinner parties, or experimenting in the kitchen.

Getting into the veggie lifestyle was surprisingly easy for me. My husband, on the other hand, became an irritable, annoying human being. Instead of embracing meatless options and looking at it as a way to play around with new recipes, he became quick to get frustrated and we ended up getting in numerous fights. To save our marriage, he made the decision to revert back to meat, although I will give him credit for trying it for four months and for cooking vegetarian meals for me while preparing a side of meat for himself.

My favorite things to make are veggie burgers. There are so many ways to incorporate various ingredients, and I’ve gotten into making a batch, forming them into individual patties and freezing them. This black bean burger recipe is easy to make and will appeal, even to the staunchest of meat eaters.


My kitchen notes:

I’m into dried beans, so for this recipe I use 1 1/2 cups of dried beans that have been soaked overnight.

If you like a tangy bite, up the amount of jalapenos, or consider using fresh rather than pickled.

The patties will seem really goopy, so the chilling in the refrigerator step is important.

Black Bean Burgers 

1/2 cup white rice

2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed.

1 medium shallot, chopped

5 slices of pickled jalapenos

1 tablespoon bbq sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 large egg white

Salt and ground pepper

Vegetable oil

1. Cook rice. You should have one cup of cooked rice. Let cool.

2. Set aside 1/2 cup of beans. In a food processor, pulse shallot, jalapenos, bbq sauce, chili powder, cumin and remaining beans. Consistency should be a chunky puree.

3. Transfer puree to a medium bowl and mix in egg white, rice and reserved whole beans. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Form mixture into patties, about 1/2″ thick and cover and chill for about an hour. This helps them stay intact while cooking.

5. Heat oil in skillet. Cook patties until browned and crisp, about five minutes per side.

6. Top with your favorite burger toppings. With this flavor profile, I like to use avocado, tomato, lettuce and a mixture of mayo and bbq sauce.




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