Black Bean Burgers

My best friend brought over a ton of black beans—like two Costco cases. So I decided to make some black bean burgers! This is a pretty easy recipe that can be adapted to your own tastes. Unfortunately, I am 31 weeks pregnant and suffering from severe heartburn so these are a very basic recipe. You can add in more spices, grated veggies, and even some peppers. But these still came out delicious and very satisfying.  I also baked these, rather than pan fry them like most other recipes do. If you aren’t suffering from horrible heartburn or counting calories, you can absolutely fry them in a bit of olive or coconut oil.

Did I mentioned these freeze well too? Just wrap them individually in wax paper and store in a freezer bag for up to 2 months.

This recipes makes 4 large or 8 small patties.

Black Bean Burgers
2 cans (30 oz) organic black beans
1/2 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 tbs flaxseed
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1/4 tps salt
1 tps cumin
1 tps smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
Water, as needed
Hamburger buns (I used potato buns)
Condiments and veggies

In a large bowl, mix everything together except the buns and condiments/veggies. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes. This allows the oatmeal to puff up and absorb some of the liquid from the beans. If it is too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time. It should be a little gooey, but still hold a bit of shape.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Shape the black bean mixture into patties. I suggest doing this on the baking sheet with a spoon because the mixture can be very sticky.  I made 4 large patties, but you can always make smaller ones.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Turn up the oven to broil. Bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let them cool for minute or two.

Toast your buns, pop on your burger, and top with your favorite condiments.

I had to keep my condiments simple. Just romaine lettuce, stone ground mustard, and a bit of ketchup. However, I could have loved some vegan pepper jack cheese, Veganaise with some chipotle mixed in, tomatoes, and pickles. And try making my Homemade French Fries or my Sunchoke Fries as a tasty side dish.

Samosa Pizza

I have declared my love for pizza on here before. But I have never professed my loved for samosas. Delicious little fried pastries filled with veggies and spices then dipped in flavorful chutneys. What’s not to love? I am not a big fan of fried foods, but these are something special. I always order them at Indian restaurants and am heartbroken when I have share. So why would I not combine two of my culinary favorites?

This recipe makes 1 pizza.

Samosa Pizza

2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsb vegan butter, divided
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp mango powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 ball of pizza dough, homemade or store bought is fine (try my recipe)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tbs ginger, peeled and minced
4 tbs tamarind chutney (if you don’t happen to have a mother-in-law who makes some, it’s pretty easy to find in stores nowadays
Cilantro chutney (try my recipe)

Fill a large pot with cold water and add the potatoes.

Cover and bring to boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft enough for a fork to be easily inserted.

While that boils, in large skillet melt a little butter.

Add the chopped carrots. Cook until they begin to soften.

Add the frozen peas. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook until heated through, then set aside.

When the potatoes are soft, drain well and set aside for the sec.

Return pot the potatoes boiled in the stove over medium heat, add the remaining butter and let it melt.

Add the cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Toast them for one minute.

Turn off the heat.

Add the potatoes back in and mash/mix in with the butter. Don’t mash until totally smooth, leave some chunks.

Mix in the coriander powder, garam masala, and mango powder.

Stir in the peas and carrots.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Roll out your pizza dough into your desired shaped. Place it in a pizza pan.

Pre-bake the pizza crust into the oven 7-10 minutes, just until they are lightly golden.

Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool a bit.

Spread on the tamarind sauce.

Now glob on potato mixture. Spread it in an even, thick layer.

Next sprinkle on the minced ginger and garlic.

Bake for another 5-7 minutes, until the crust is golden.

Top with the cilantro chutney, and some extra cilantro if desired.

This was soooo good. We devoured the whole pizza pretty quickly. I just realized I need to make this for my soon-to-be son one day because it incorporates two of his heritages–Indian and Italian.

Thanksgiving 2013: Slow Cooker Seitan Roast

As I mentioned in my previous post I was going to make a seitan roast in my crockpot for my work’s Thanksgiving potluck. It came out awesome!!! This is my new favorite way to make seitan. So easy, very little mess, and it was so juicy!

Crockpot Seitan Roast
2 cups vital wheat gluten
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 soy sauce
1 tbs herb de Provence
1 garlic, minced
1 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 large potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 stalks of celery,  cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into quarters

4 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large blow, mix together the vital wheat gluten, 2 cups vegetable broth, soy sauce, herb de Provence, and garlic. It should form a moist—but not sticky-dough.

Knead the dough gently for a minute or two.

(I made my dough the night before and left it in the fridge overnight. I don’t think this changes the flavor or texture, so this step is optional).

Shape the dough into a loaf.

Place in your slow cooker.

Cover the loaf with the cut carrots, potatoes, celery, and onion.

Cover the loaf and veggies with the remaining vegetable broth.

Turn your cooker on medium-low and let it cook for 4-6 hours (I put mine in at 8 AM and it was ready around 12:45).

It’s ready when the seitan firm (but not hard) and no longer chewy….and obviously when vegetables are soft. There should be a little broth left (which should have tons of flavor by now and will make a great thin gravy).

I found a nice platter in the cabinet at work, so I sliced up the seitan and plated everything nicely. The president of the company—who is a big meat eater—took a sliced and liked it! I had to go back to work so I forgot to see if any was left afterwards….so  I am going to imagine it was all gone 🙂

This is a seriously awesome and easy meal, any time of the year.

Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce

In last post, I mentioned that I also got a butternut squash at the pumpkin patch. I bought it randomly without a recipe in mind. Thursday morning I woke up and thought pasta with creamy butternut squash sauce would be amazing for dinner. Then my best friend (the maker of the amazing reception cake) and her boyfriend wanted to come over to carve pumpkins. So I decided to make a nice dinner for everyone.

This is recipe is similar to most other squash sauce recipes out there (except that it’s vegan), but it not based on any particular one. I just put in what I thought sounded good.

This recipe makes 6 servings.

Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce
1 large butternut squash
1 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance), divided
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 tps cinnamon
1/2 tps chili powder
1/2 tps smoked paprika
3 cups plain soy milk
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
6 servings of any kind of pasta (I used strozzapreti)
Basil, to garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 400.

Cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and membrane, and discard them,

Rub 1/2 tbs of the butter on the inside of both halves.

Roast in the oven until the squash is soft, like when a knife can be inserted without any resistance. This takes about 25-30 minutes.

Set the squash aside to cool.

Meanwhile, sautee the chopped onion in the remaining 1/2 tbs butter. Once soft and translucent, add the garlic. Cook for just a minute.

Now add the cinnamon, chili powder, and smoked paprika. Cook another minute.

Add the soy milk and veggie broth. Stir well.

Now, scoop out all the meat from the cooled squash. It should be soft, like mashed potatoes.

Mix and mash together the squash with the liquid. It’s okay if it is still a little lumpy.

Turn off the heat and let the flavors meld.

Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package.

Then add the pasta directly into the sauce.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with some fresh basil and serve.

We paired it with a nice salad and some bread, and it was a lovely meal indeed. Amanda said she could not believe how flavorful it was. Michael said the sauce tasted like Fall. I would just eat the sauce by itself honestly. With flavor like this—plus all fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A—there is no reason not to make this lovely Fall dish!

Thai Pumpkin Curry

I have professed my love for Fall and pumpkins before (check out my pumpkin carving and Pumpkin Waffles posts).  This past weekend Michael and I went back to the Half Moon Bay area to pick pumpkins. We decided to skip the Pumpkin Festival and all the traffic/chaos this year.

We went Arata’s Pumpkin patch, a cute little place just south of Half Moon Bay on Highway 1. It was pretty busy, but not as crowded as the Pumpkin Festival would have been. We picked our pumpkins and smiled at all the cute babies running in the patch and climbing the hay bails. It got us excited to take our little pumpkin next year.

The bump has started to appear

We each got a pumpkin to carve. Plus, we bought an extra little pumpkin and butternut squash to cook with later. I am not sure what to do with the butternut yet, but I knew the little pumpkin was destined for Thai curry. Roasted pumpkin adds another layer of flavor to a creamy and spicy curry. This is variation of my Yellow Vegetable Curry, trying to make it more authentic tasting.  I decided to make it in the crockpot so it could have plenty of time for all the flavors to mend.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Thai Pumpkin Curry
1 small pumpkin
1/2 tbs coconut oil
1 small white onion, chopped
1 half inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves of garlic
1 eggplant, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch of broccolini (normal broccoli is fine), cut into half inch pieces
1 large carrot (or 15 baby carrots), chopped
1/2 cup snap peas
1 can of coconut milk
4 cups water
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbs Sriracha
1/2 tbs tamarind chutney (or paste)
Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime
1 bundle of lemongrass
3 cardamom pods
10 large basil leaves, chopped
6 mint leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Carefully cut the crown off the top of your pumpkin (see my pumpkin carving post for more details).

Now carefully cut the pumpkin in half.

Scoop out all the seeds and membranes.

Lightly spray the insides of the pumpkin halves with cooking spray.

Place skin side down into a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until soft and tender.

Set aside to cool.

Once cool, remove the meat from the skin (I suggest a small knife and just cut away the skin and rind).

Cut it into cubes.

Plug in your crockpot and set to low.

Add the coconut oil.

Once it is melted, add the onions, garlic, ginger. Let is cook for a minute.

Add the chopped eggplant, bell pepper, broccilini, carrots, and snap peas.

Pour in the coconut milk and water. Mix well.

Add all remaining ingredients, except the salt and pepper. Mix well.

Cover and cook until the veggies are soft, about 2 hours. You may need to adjust temperature and time for your crockpot.

Serve over jasmine rice. Garnish with basil, mint, and/or cilantro.

Tons of vitamins and flavor! I lovely fall dish.

Green Chili Stew

I fell asleep on the couch last week (one of the joys of being pregnant) while watching Food Network. As I started to wake up, I heard something about roasting hatch chilies for green chili strew. By the time I actually woke up, the show was over so I have no idea what it was or who was making. It still sounded good so I decided to make it for dinner.

This stew came out FANTASTIC. When Michael walked in the door he said it smelled like his grandma was cooking (he is half Hispanic, his grandparents were of Spanish decent born in New Mexico).  He is not a big soup or stew fan, but he asked for a second bowl!

Sadly, I don’t have hatch chilies right now. And, I did not feel like going to the store to by anaheims or some other chili. So I just used the jalapenos already in my fridge. It still came out AMAZING, but would be even better with hatches if you can get them.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Green Chili Stew
6 jalapenos
3 tbs olive oil
1 block of extra firm tofu, cubed
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 large carrots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbs flour
4 cups water (or vegetable broth)
1 large tomato, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilantro, for garnish

Roast the whole jalapenos. I did this over my gas stove burner. You can also do it in the broiler or over a grill. You want a nice black char on the skins.

Pop the roasted peppers into a zip lock bag and let them cool. The steam will loosen the skins. Once cooled, remove the charred skins and the stems.

Chop the jalapenos.

In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil.

Lightly brown the tofu.

Add the chopped onions and carrots, saute until they start to soften.

Add the garlic and cook saute for a minute.

Add the flour and coat the veggies well.

Add the water and mix together well. Break up all the flour clumps.

Stir in the chopped jalapenos.

Turn the heat down the low and let the broth thicken slightly, about 10-15 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Removed from the heat and add the diced tomatoes.

Garnish with a little cilantro and serve.

A warm tortilla on the side and you have a very tasty dinner!

Huli Huli Seitan

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So….I was so busy and excited during my wedding luau that I forgot to take pictures of food….bad food blogger…

I made Huli Huli Chicken for the meat eaters and Huli Huli Seitan for the vegetarians. I chose Huli Huli because I wanted to give our guests something unique to Hawaii. And it’s easay.

Hul Huli “Chicken”

But I have made Huli Huli “Chicken” and seitan before on this blog. So I essentially combined the two for this recipe. It looks almost exactly like Seitan Ribs, just more sauce and in cutlets.

Seitan ribs

I put the seitan out during the party and just told the vegetarians what it was. Everyone else started eating it too. Some thought the texture was different, but my answer to that is “duh”. I’ve said this before, nothing will ever taste and feel exactly like meat, except meat! But everyone still ate it, despite their comments. So it must be pretty good 🙂

This recipe makes 20 servings. It can easily be cut down for a smaller crowd, but seitan keeps well in the fridge and freezer too.

Huli Huli Seitan
1 carton of vegetable broth
1 package Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten
2 and 2/3 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 gloves of garlic, minced
2 and 1/2 cups of ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1 and 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic

In a large pot, add the carton of veggie broth and fill the pot up to 3/4 of the way full with water. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl add the vita wheat gluten, water, soy sauce and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Mix together until it forms a smooth and elastic dough. If you like, you can knead it together when it starts to get thicker.

Once the dough is ready,  divide into 20 smaller balls. Shape the balls into little cutlets. The dough is elastic so this might take awhile, you can let it rest if need be too.

Now drop the cutlets into boiling water and cook for 1 hour. They will puff up so give them a stir to resubmerge them occasionally.

Remove them from the pot and place in a large Tupperware container.

In a small bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients to make the sauce. Pour over the seitan, coating it well.

Seal up the container and  let it marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Now you can finish cooking it any way you want. I suggest throwing them on the grill until they get some nice grill lines. Or under the broiler just until they start to blacken. Or pan fry until nice and golden.

A lovely chicken substitute to remind you of the islands.

Tofu and Broccoli

I need to say a giant apology for not posting for over a month. I promise I have very good excuse. At the beginning of August I found out I am pregnant! And then a few days later Michael proposed! And we are getting married next weekend in Las Vegas! Told you I had a good excuse.

I am so happy and excited to marry the man I love and start a family with him. But this past month has not been easy. I lost my job, which is probably for the best. It was not a good fit for me and I am not sure how much longer I could have worked due to horrible morning sickness. And do you know how much fun planning a wedding is when you are beyond exhausted all the time? Not at all.  I am so grateful for all love and support from my family and friends. Especially my mom, I could not do this all without you!

I will talk more wedding and baby stuff in later posts…

So, remember that morning sickness I mentioned? Yeah, that phrase is a total misnomer. I have felt nauseous all day and night. Not fun.  Even when I am hungry, my stomach magically cannot hold much food at once. And foods I once loved, I cannot even stand the thought of now. So, as you can imagine I have not done too much cooking lately. However, yesterday I was actually hungry for lunch. So I made up this tasty dish.

I used broccolini, but feel free to us broccoli if you cannot find it. Broccolini is hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli, giving it longer stalks and slightly sweeter flavor. It is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, folate and iron. I love broccolini because the stalks get tender and have an almost asparagus-like flavor.

This recipe makes two servings.

Tofu and Broccoli 
1 block of extra firm tofu, frozen and drained, then cubed
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tps red pepper flakes
1 tps grated ginger
Olive oil
1/2 small white onion, cut into thin strips
1 clove of garlic
1 small head of broccolini (broccoli is fine too), cut into bit-sized pieces
Teriyaki sauce

Check out my previous post about how to freeze and drain tofu.

Cube the tofu and add to small bowl.

Add the soy sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and ginger. Toss together to coat the tofu and let it marinade for at least one hour.

Once the tofu is ready,  heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Add the chopped onions and cook until soften.

Add the garlic, broccolini pieces, and the tofu with the marinade. Cook until the broccolini is softened and the tofu is slightly golden.

Top with some teriyaki sauce before serving.

I had this over brown rice, but noodles would be delicious too. Simple and high in vitamin C, folate, and iron—all the things a growing baby (and mommy) need.

One Pot Pasta

I kept seeing all the pins on Pintrest for One Pot Pasta. Pretty much throw everything into one pot, let it cook for awhile, and you have prefect pasta in a light tomato sauce. Sounded too good not to try! There are a ton of variations of the recipe, but it appears that the “original recipe” (the one that made it popular) is from Martha Stewart. I kept it simple and pretty true to the originally. But I wanted it creamier, so I added some arrow root powder (or starch) to thicken it up without adding a lot of calories.

Arrow root powder is a natural thickener that comes from South America. It’s is similar to corn starch and can substitute for it. I like it better because it is finer and blends better (plus you know, the whole Monsanto King of the Corn thing…) You may notice in the photos that I used spaghetti and fettuccine. I had a half box of each and wanted to use them up. I am big believer is using what you have on hand in order to save money.  I also used organic cherry tomatoes from the veggie box delivery (they are so good, I could eat them by themselves!).

This recipe makes 4 servings.

One Pot Pasta
1/2 small white onion, sliced fine
1 small carton of cherry tomatoes, rinsed and greens removed
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 sprigs of basil, leafs removed and roughly chopped
12 oz  (just shy of one box) of pasta
1 tps red chili flakes
5 cups of water
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbs Arrow Root Powder or Corn Starch

In a large, shallow pot, add all the ingredients except the olive oil, arrow root powder, salt, and pepper.

Cook for 5 minutes, just until the tomatoes bring to break. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Cook for another 5 minutes or so (it will vary based on the directions for the pasta), until  the pasta is cooked.
Remove from the heat. About about 1/4 cup of liquid will remain.

Add the arrow root powder and toss together well. The sauce will get slightly thicker and creamier.

Taste for seasoning, mine need a little more salt.

Now serve it up with some extra basil and enjoy!

A light sauce that is just a tad creamy without all the fat! Filling without being over the top. I am so going to make this again.

In and Out Veggie Burger

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A few months ago a deal came up on Groupon for the Pitbull and Ke$sha concert in Mountain View. I do not really know why, but I LOVE Ke$ha’s music. I find her as a person a bit annoying though. I guess I like her “be yourself, even if you are a freak” musical message. Must be the Oregonian in me. And, how can anyone not love Pitbull? My mom even things he is sexy. I asked Michael to go with me—more as a courtesy though, he knew he was going no matter what. We had a really fun night. We drank some beers, laughed at the 14-year-old’s dressed like hookers, sang, and danced together.

After dancing to Mr. Worldwide for 2 hours, we were starving. And as a Californian now, that usually means In and Out. I normally get a tray of fries and just watch everyone happily eat their burgers. Now, I do not really crave meat ever, but I do love burgers (veggies ones now that is). I had read an article awhile about that In and Out toyed with the idea of doing a veggie patty burger, but, they do not want to deviate too much from the original menu. So, I assumed I would always munch fries in jealousy.

But I was wrong. I knew In and Out had a secret menu. Michael introduced it to me when I was visiting here and he ordered Animal Fries. However, last week we watched an episode of California’s Gold about In and Out, and someone ordered a Veggie Burger. I instantly searched the internet to find if it was true. And it is true….but not quite.

An In and Out Veggie Burger is simply the hamburger with no meat. Just the bun, lettuce, tomato, sauce, and onion or cheese if you want it. Simply order it with no sauce, ketchup/ mustard instead, and no cheese to make it vegan.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “A bun with veggies on it? Seriously? I can make that at home, what’s the point!” I thought the same thing. But Michael really wanted In and Out after the concert, so I thought I would give it a try. IT WAS AMAZING. The spongy bun, the crisp lettuce, the juicy tomato, the slightly tangy onion, and just the right amount of condiments…I want another one right now, it is that good.

Besides wanting to share the delicious discovery, the reason I posted this to show that you can be vegan and eat at normal restaurants. You can live a normal life and not be alienated by your lifestyle choice.

Seriously, try one next time you at In and Out. SO GOOD! It’s like heaven on a bun.