BEANS•QUINOA•VEGETABLES•FLAX. These healthy veggie burgers are delicious and packed with vitamins, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids (good fats!), and high quality plant-based protein. They are vegan and gluten-free (besides the buns) and have almost 0 saturated fat (unlike normal greasy hamburgers). These are a wholesome, heart-healthy substitute for meat!
I used black beans, kidney beans, and lentils because they are some of my favorite legumes and are at the top of the list of healthiest beans. Everyone should consume legumes daily and reap the benefits of these little superfoods.
Quinoa is a “pseudocereal” (not a grain) grown at the tops of the Andes Mountains of South America for more than 5,000 years, consumed by the Incas as a vital nutritional staple. Known as “mother grain,” quinoa is gluten-free, easily digestible and a complete protein, and also provides iron, fiber, magnesium, riboflavin, and phosphorus. Did you know that 2013 is officially the “International Year of the Quinoa”?
Mushrooms are low in calories and provide some amazing nutritional benefits, including vitamin D, potassium, selenium, and other disease-fighting phytonutrients. Bell pepper is also one of my favorite vegetables because of its abundance of vitamins and phytonutrients. Red bell peppers have more beta-carotene and vitamin C than other colors of bell pepper (2X the vitamin C of oranges), and have a sweeter taste. Garlic and onion not only add flavor, but also have have important health-promoting properties – vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Tahini, a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds, also gives a nutritional boost – in addition to being high in essential fatty acids, it includes B vitamins, calcium, iron, copper, and magnesium.
Ground flaxseed is one of my favorite ingredients- I always add it to baked goods, oatmeal, or anything because of its omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and other beneficial phytonutrients.
As for the cooking oil – extra virgin olive oil is okay for sautéing and does give a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat, but I prefer canola or walnut oil for cooking because they have higher smoke points and higher concentrations of polyunsaturated fats.
There, now you can take a big juicy bite and feel comforted that you are doing your body a favor!
(Makes about 10 patties)
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 cup cooked kidney beans
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- ⅔ cup dry quinoa flakes
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- ½ medium onion (chopped)
- 2 red bell peppers (chopped)
- 1 cup mushrooms (baby bellas or cremini – chopped)
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp rosemary
- ½ tbsp thyme
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed
- Canola oil or walnut oil (for pan)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh avocado
- Sliced tomato
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Fresh baby spinach
- Mustard (I like Annie’s Organic Horseradish Mustard)
- Rainbow chard (I chopped and sautéed it to serve as a side or on top)
Nutrition per patty: 128 calories, 3.3 g fat (mono- and poly-unsaturated), 17.5 g carbs (5.5 g fiber), 7 g protein
1. Prepare the beans, lentils and quinoa: If using canned beans, rinse and drain them. Otherwise, cook according to the instructions. (Note: if you don’t have time to cook quinoa, try using just 2X the quinoa flakes instead – they might also make the burgers drier and firmer)
2. Mince cloves of garlic, chop onion, red bell peppers, and mushroom. In a medium/large saucepan over medium-high heat, add about 1 tsp canola/walnut oil. Add garlic, onion and bell pepper, sauté for 2 minutes, add mushrooms – sauté until tender, season with freshly ground black pepper and remove from heat – allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
3. Add beans, lentils, and sautéed vegetables with tahini, rosemary and thyme in a food processor, pulse to combine. Add mixture into a large bowl, add quinoa, quinoa flakes and flax and stir into a mash.
4. Optional: Place mash in the fridge to chill for 1 hour (Don’t worry about this step if you don’t have the time – it would just make the mash more manageable to make into patties)
5. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 tsp canola/walnut oil. Shape the mash into circular patties and add to the saucepan. Sprinkle on some pepper. Flip when browned on each side. (You can also try bake or broil them)
6. Serve however you would like! I added some fresh spinach leaves, mustard, sliced avocado, tomato, and alfalfa sprouts. I also sautéed some rainbow chard as a side dish or to eat with the patty itself.