Meat-Free Mondays: Quick and Lazy Vegan Chili Burgers

Regular readers know how much I love burgers. They may also be getting an idea of how much I love chili. So I thought I’d combine the two.

Now, all my recipes are vegan, but they’re not typical foodie recipes. I like quick and easy – even lazy – recipes that can be built around canned or dried staples and whatever fresh ingredients we happen to have. I’m not buying 10 different fresh vegetables to make veggie burgers, and I don’t expect you to.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can fat-free refried beans (check the label, but all of these I’ve found have been vegan. The “vegetarian” refried beans simply replace the lard with vegetable oil. Fat free beans just omit the lard altogether).
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 can corn kernels, drained
  • 1 package of chili seasoning (mild, hot, or whatever). Or you can use chili powder and cumin to season it to your taste.
  • 3 cups oatmeal (can be old fashioned or quick oats)
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Mix the refried beans, the pinto beans, and the corn together.
  2. Stir the seasonings in at this point for easiest dispersal. If you forget, you can put them in later with no problem
  3. Thickly coat a large skillet with olive oil and start heating it to medium-high (about 6 out of 10 on my stove)
  4. Slowly mix in the oatmeal, about 1/2 cup at a time. I used just a little less than 3 cups, but you may need more or less. Feel the consistency with your hands. You shouldn’t need to add liquid to this recipe.
  5. Shape into burgers.
  6. Fry up the burgers on the skillet. Give them about 3 minutes on each side to get nice and “seared,” then cover them and turn the heat to low. You can eat them then or keep them on low for up to an hour without any damage.
  7. Serve them on buns or toasted white bread with vegan mayo, ketchup, and Tobasco sauce (if you need extra heat).

This recipe made 8 burgers, about 1 inch thick by 3.5 inches in diameter (I didn’t measure them exactly). This many big burgers would easily take 2.5-3.5 pounds of ground beef, in my experience.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

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. 

Lazy Vegan Recipe: Three Bean Burritos

Wifie made these last night,  and I just had to write about them. 

She started with a three bean version of my black beans with salsa: instead of using the cans of black beans, she used one can of black beans, one can of white beans, and one can of chickpeas.

We used this yummy mix to make burritos. This was my burrito setup, from bottom to top: 

  1. A flour tortilla
  2. Parboiled rice
  3. Three bean and salsa mix
  4. Vegan mayo 
  5. Sriracha
  6. More salsa (cold, for flavor and contrast) 
  7. Freshly diced raw purple onion

We used mild salsa,  so the sriracha was the only hot ingredient.

The hardest part wasn’t getting the burrito to close.  The hardest part was stopping art only three burritos. 🙂

Meat-Free Monday Recipe: Black Beans and Salsa, the Universal Building Blocks

Here’s what you  do: 

  1. Rinse three cans of black beans.
  2. Place in a nonstick skillet 
  3. Add three cups salsa or private
  4. Cook  on medium heat  (a low, slow bubble) 15 minutes or until thickened

So, why should you do this?

It gives you the core entree for several simple yet tasty meals, with minimal effort.

Black beans and rice 

Black bean burritos (with or without rice, veggies, or guac)

Cheeseless quesadillas (grilled and pressed in a skillet, but with no cheese. These beans are moist enough to hold it all together)

And when you’re tired of beans and salsa, you can turn the leftovers into black bean burgers.

What’s not to love?

Recipe: Ma Hubbard’s Quick & Simple Garlicky Artichokes & Cauliflower

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My wife wasn’t feeling good Sunday afternoon, so I decided to make supper. I went to the refrigerator, then to the freezer, and then to the pantry. I was starting to feel a little like old mother Hubbard.

We hadn’t made our big, out of town grocery run in a couple of weeks, so the ingredients I’d instinctively reach for weren’t there. But the cubbard wasn’t bare. I found (among other things) frozen cauliflower, a jar of grilled & marinated artichoke hearts, some quinoa, and our usual seasonings. So I fired up the stove top and went for it.

This time, it actually turned out well. So, now, I present, “Ma Hubbard’s Quick & Simple Garlicky Artichokes & Cauliflower.”

You’ll need:

  • Artichoke Hearts (I used Terra Verde Grilled & Marinated, maybe 1/5th of a jar)
  • Cauliflower (I used frozen, a one-pound bag)
  • Garlic (I used bottled minced garlic, about 2 tablespoons)
  • Tomato sauce (I used a small can we had in our pantry, about 5 ounces)

Optional Ingredients:

  • Oregano to taste
  • Basil to taste
  • Sugar/Splenda/Stevia to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook your cauliflower until it is not quite done. I prefer to steam it in a microwave-safe steaming dish.
  2. Heat a non-stick skillet (or spray a regular skillet with non-stick spray) and add artichoke hearts, cauliflower, tomato sauce, and garlic.
  3. At this point, add any optional ingredients
  4. Stir everything together on medium heat until the artichoke hearts are broken up and everything is coated in the garlic and tomato sauce.
  5. Simmer on low heat until the tomato sauce has thickened down and is no longer liquid. This shouldn’t take long.

This is a savory, garlicky dish that can be too pungent for some people’s tastes. My wife likes it better with basil and sweetener. Either way, it tastes good paired with quinoa. You could also pair it with couscous, pasta, or rice, or just eat it straight out of the pan.

Enjoy!

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.