Eating Vegan on the Road:  Moe’s Southwest 

Burrito joints like Qdoba or Izzo’s are usually a good bet for vegans seeking big, filling meals on the road. 

But Sunday, I  got to eat at the king of them all (so far): Moe’s.

Most of the places just have beans as a protein option.  Moe’s also has tofu. Also, both kinds of beans are vegan, and you can get tofu and beans on the same burrito! 

Moe’s offers several different kinds and heat levels of homemade salsa, and they were all great. 

And, to top it off,  they’re very generous with their chips, their guac is good, and they have a wonderful proprietary peach vanilla soda. 

Just what I needed for a long drive home from Florida. 

Meat Free Lagniappe: Panera Bread

Three words: Autumn Squash Soup

It’s vegan.  It has pumpkin seeds on top.   It comes with a toasted baguette (also vegan). It’s AMAZING.

I also had the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich, Anne it was great.  The soup outshone it, but it was still really good. 

They always have several different seasonal iced tea flavors,  like ginger plum hibiscus, and lots of yummy bagels. 

Recipe: Idiot-Proof and Bachelor-Proof Super-Speedy Black Bean Burgers

So I just made these, and they were GREAT. My wife even said they tasted like beef burgers. That’s high praise from a non-vegetarian.

And I didn’t take any pictures because I devoured them too quickly to think about getting a camera, or even my phone.

I know it’s cookout season, but these will NOT hold together on a charcoal grill. These aren’t designed for the cookout, but for the quickout.

You know: you need a meal quickly, or you’re going to order takeout.

Or, as in my case: it’s late, I’m hungry, and I want a burger now! And there are no vegan burgers for sale in Poplarville, Mississippi, especially at this time of night.

These, like every recipe I’m likely to post, are super-easy. There’s nothing raw, dangerous, or delicate in this recipe. If you smell smoke, flip the burgers or take them off the skillet.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 can black beans
  • ½ cup old fashioned oatmeal (quick oats will probably work, too*)
  • Teriyaki sauce (you can use soy if you prefer)
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning (or your favorite seasonings)
  • [Use the low-sodium beans, teriyaki, and seasonings when you can, for the sake of both health and flavor].

Directions:

  1. Rinse the black beans thoroughly
  2. Smoosh together the black beans and the oatmeal. Smooshing is like kneading, but less bread-y.
  3. Spray a pan with non-stick coating, or coat a skillet with olive oil (a thin layer), and set it to medium heat
  4. As you smoosh the beans and oatmeal together, add teriyaki until the consistency seems “right.” It should be moderately juicy, neither wet nor dry. Err on the side of using too little teriyaki.
  5. Smoosh in some Montreal Steak Seasoning, to taste. Err on the side of using too little.
  6. Form into three large patties, between ½ and 1 inch thick
  7. Sprinkle seasoning onto the outside of the patties. Again, just use a little.
  8. Put the patties into the skillet, which should be nice and hot by now
  9. Cook them for 2-5 minutes (it will take less time if you use olive oil) until the bottom side is dark and a little crispy. Then flip them and cook until the other side is dark and a little crispy. The second side won’t take as long as the bottom took. You can eyeball this. You’re really just getting them warm and adding a little texture.
  10. Put the patties on your favorite buns and dress with your favorite condiments (or use whatever bread-like substance and toppings you have on hand). I like mayo (Vegannaise or Just Mayo are preferable), mustard, ketchup, and bread & butter pickles, on a traditional white hamburger bun. Nope, it’s not the healthiest, but it’s tasty. And it’s a whole lot healthier than eating a full pound of hamburgers.

The whole process takes about 15-20 minutes, from opening the can of beans to pulling the burgers off the skillet and onto buns.

It’s a low-skill process. Go easy on the teriyaki and seasonings, so it doesn’t get too salty. If you smell smoke, flip the burgers. There’s nothing raw, dangerous, or delicate in this recipe.

You can use a full cup of oatmeal, if you like, to stretch the burgers and make a larger batch. The burgers will actually hold together a little better this way, too.

Nutritional Information:

In the entire batch: Calories 480 Fat 5 Protein 32 Sugar 7** Fiber 28.

A pound of hamburger meat: Calories 810 Fat 26 Protein 40 Sugar 0 Fiber 0

So, 40% fewer calories and 80% less fat than unseasoned 80% ground chuck. And you get to eat more, since the bean burgers don’t cook down as much. If you use olive oil, you’ll add some fat and calories, but they’re at least the healthy kind.

Here’s the nutritional breakdown of the components:

  • Oatmeal 150 Fat 3 Protein 5 Sugar 1 Fiber 4
  • Beans 385 Fat 2 Protein 24 Sugar 0 Fiber 24
  • Teriyaki 45 Fat 0 Protein 3 Sugar 6 Fiber 0 (for 3 tablespoons, which is way more than you’ll actually use).
  • Seasonings 0 Fat 0 Protein 0 Sugar 0 Fiber 0
  • Olive Oil adds 120 calories and 14 fat per tablespoon absorbed by the burgers.

Notes:

*If you use Apple Cinnamon or Maple Syrup flavored instant oats, you’re braver than I am. Let me know how that turns out, will ya?

**If you’re worried about sugar, use soy sauce instead of teriyaki, and you’re down to 1 gram sugar (and 465 calories) in the whole batch.