Veggie Burgers and Baked Thick Cut Seasoned Oven Fries

I have been totally meaning to post some pictures from my birthday a few weeks ago, but have dropped the ball – so here they are!  I enjoyed a lovely birthday weekend, with friends the day before, family the day of, and my husband the day after.  Could not have asked for a better 30th birthday celebration. =)

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Now.  Veggie burgers.  I was looking for a way to use up the rest of my bulgur, and I do try to mix up our “rotation” with meatless meals…and I just like to try new things!  There are about 1,000,000 ways you can make vegetarian burgers, and this recipe came from good ol’ Martha Stewart.
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I have to say that they are a little weird.  But I say that kindly.  My husband and I each ate one for dinner on whole wheat buns, and there were 3-4 leftover which we used for lunches.  It is just a strange combination but it actually kind of works.  It has a great and filling heartiness to it, and the Swiss cheese definitely creates a “bite.”  I didn’t have avocado or sprouts, so it was a little lacking in toppings, but the final burger product was a little dry/lackluster, that I don’t think those two things would have helped.  My husband and I used Sweet Baby Ray’s to jazz them up a little which was perfect.

Finally, they were really wet.  They did not make normal burger patties, but also didn’t make veggie patties you can buy at the store or in a restaurant.  I also didn’t like the frying component that much (though baking or grilling would not have worked at all), because I kept having to add more oil to the pan to keep from sticking/burning, and a light cooking oil spray did not work as well as just adding in more actual oil, if that makes sense.
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If you are interested in trying out veggie nights, are vegetarian, or just like trying something new, I do definitely recommend this – maybe more seasoned chefs out there can tweak some of the instructions below to make it come together better.

Also, not too much to say about the fries (baked thick-cut seasoned oven fries by Averie Cooks), except that they are super yummy!!  Honestly, I have a hard time finding recipes for homemade fries that taste as good as store-bought or restaurant fries, and these actually were almost as good!
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Veggie Burgers

serves 5-6

Ingredients:
-1/2cu bulgur
-1 can (15.5oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
-1/2cu grated Swiss cheese
-1/2cu finely grated carrots (from 2 medium carrots)
-1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 egg, lightly beaten
-Coarse salt and ground pepper
-1tbsp olive oil
-whole wheat buns
-Sprouts, for serving
-Avocado slices, for serving

Directions:
-Cook bulgur according to package instructions, drain, and set aside.
-Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse pinto beans until coarsely chopped. Add beans, Swiss cheese,carrots, scallion, and egg to the prepared bulgur. Season with salt and pepper; mix well.
-In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium. Add 1/2 cup bean mixture and press lightly with a spatula to flatten. Make as many patties as the mixture allows (mine made 5-6, I can’t fully remember), and cook until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. If you need to cook in batches, you will need to add extra oil (and even if you don’t cook in batches, you will likely have to add extra oil). Serve burgers on buns with sprouts and avocado slices.

Baked Thick-Cut Seasoned Oven Fries

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2 medium to large potatoes (both russet and sweet will work), washed and sliced into fries
-1tbsp cornstarch
-2tbsp coconut oil (or another oil, i.e. olive, vegetable, canola -> I used olive oil)
-2tsp smoked paprika, or to taste (feel free to be generous with seasoning!)
-2tsp cumin, or to taste
-salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 425. Prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
-Slice potatoes and put into a gallon-sized Ziplock (I used a large Pyrex bowl with lid).
-Sprinkle cornstarch into bag or bowl, seal bag or cover bowl, and toss potatoes to coat.
-Open and add oil, seal, and toss potatoes to coat.
-Open and add smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, bag, and toss potatoes to coat.
-Transfer potatoes to baking tray, arranged in a single flat layer.
-Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and with a tongs, flip potatoes over.
-Return tray to oven and bake for about 15 to 20 more minutes, or until done (keep in mind that baking time may vary, depending on your oven, the size of your fries, etc.)

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