Some Vegan Memorial Day Recipes

Some Vegan Memorial Day Recipes

Happy Memorial Day! It occurred to me recently that I’ve never done a recipe round-up post, so I thought I’d take this holiday opportunity to do one. So here are some Vegan Memorial Day Recipes to bring to a BBQ!

Also, dog parents, be sure to watch your little ones during fire works if they aren’t fanss of them (Millie flips out and tries to hide).

Let me know if you try any of these Vegan Memorial Day recipes and let me know whatcha thing! HMU on insta or twitter.

1. Black Rice Beet Veggie Burgers

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With rich umami flavors from black rice, sweetened up with beets, these veggie burgers are an eye-catching main dish.

2. Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Delicious Easy Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

My favorite side ever. Serve with guac, hummus, or almond butter!

Continue reading “Some Vegan Memorial Day Recipes”

Columbia Mailman Orientation +Vegan Eats in NYC

Columbia Mailman Orientation +Vegan Eats in NYC

Oy! It was orientation week. I thought I’d blog through a wee bit of the past week for ya, in case any of you are interested.

Saturday + Sunday

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I flew into NYC early Saturday morning, and got straight to apartment hunting. Apartment hunting in New York City is among the worst activities one can put oneself through on earth. Anyone who has done it can vouch – it is literally the most ridiculous, stressful, and upsetting processes of all times.

I ran around the city all day, ate a bunch of snacks (apples, bananas, nuts, nut butter packets, chocolate covered nuts, etc) and eventually grabbed Just Salads for dinner. I have a weird obsession with Just Salad.

 

Everyone I know prefers sweetgreens. But I’m a Just Salads gal FO LYFE. I got kale + romaine mixed, double roasted sweet potatoes, apples, chickpeas, organic roasted tofu, beets, and jicama, with a side of each spicy avocado dressing and agave mustard dressing. And bread, because bread.

I passed out, and did the whole damn exact same thing the next day. And repeated dinner. Good times.

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Monday

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Monday was day one of orientation. Lunch was a buffet style of yummy food. The quinoa salad had chickpeas, cranberries, herbs, and a lemony (I think?) dressing. Wrap was white bean dip and grilled veggies. P impressive.

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Swag:

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There was also a reception that night with lots of appetizers and snacks. I made a plate of fruit, crackers, nutty bread, guac, hummus, and nuts. Yum.  I was pretty impressed by the food selection at Mailman. They did a good job of providing healthy, yummy, filling options. Bravo!

I had a bad day that day for personal reasons. Really bad day. My anxiety is out of frickin’ control. I found out some icky stuff about my mom’s health issues, and was rejected from an apartment, because as a student in NYC, you need a guarantor who makes 64-80 times the annual rent to co-sign your lease. My mom was rejected, because she can’t provide proof of employment (since she doesn’t work since she is disabled). I found this frustrating; I understand that renters want to be sure rent will be paid, but I find this is also somewhat discriminatory. So if you aren’t wealthy or know someone who is, you can’t get a place? #annoying.

I ended up at my friend’s place in Brooklyn late that night, where I ate a banana with peanut butter and some of his leftover kale salad. And a bunch of chocolate. And went to bed.

Tuesday

Tuesday was day 2 of orientation. I’m bad at orientations. We got boxed lunches (I went with that day’s vegan option), and then we had a long 5 hour small group discussion thing on diversity and privilege. Tough conversations, etc. I was having another bad day with anxiety, and probably came off as emotionally unstable to other people since I was being overly emotional. Oh well. Just gotta move on and not obsess.

Bathroom signs at Mailman:

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For dinner, I stopped at Whole Foods out of fatigue and convenience. I got a salad with roasted sweet potatoes, lemon roasted tofu, and some vegan dumplings. I also got a ‘power’ bagel (whole wheat with cranberries and seeds) on the side because my body wanted CARBS baby. Eaten with a vegan cookie. Noms.

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Wednesday

Wednesday was another day of orientation. I had some errands to run in the morning, then headed up to Mailman. I had a hummus wrap and grapes and chips for lunch, but didn’t snap a photo. After orientation, my friend Raag made us some yummy Indian food for dinner.

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He also taught me some cooking tips. Apparently, many Indian dishes are prepared by first browning onions and tomatoes together. This was new to me. Usually, I add tomatoes much later. This was a fun new tip! He also taught me I should rinse my rice before I cook it. I was happy to learn his tips. He’s so kind, and an awesome cook!

Thursday

Thursday I ran some errands around the city and sat around like a crazy anxious person waiting to hear back about an apartment and catastrophizing my life in every way imaginable. At some point, I stopped and enjoyed an organic peach in Bryant Park.

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I swear my anxiety has been peaking this week. I have really been struggling to get through normal daily activities. I know I have to get it under control, but this week has been so busy I haven’t had time to deal with myself. I am VERY thankful to my supportive friends and aunt for being there for me this week.

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A bit later I once hit up Whole Foods for lunch. I got a Justin’s almond butter packet (on sale for $0.50 WHAT UP), another bagel (because I really enjoyed the last one, and for $1.00, it’s a lot of filling carby goodness), a banana, and some salad and hummus from the salad bar. I think the cashier rang up my order wrong, because this lunch ended up costing me $2.77 which I didn’t even notice until I looked at the receipt while eating? Okay. I’ll take it.

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My friend Caty let me come over and sit on her bed and watch dumb videos on my laptop while she went on a run with a friend. I had been pinning out at coffee shops all day but needed to like, not be sitting in real pants around humans. THANK U CATY.

We grabbed a late dinner at Peacefood, which is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC/the world. We split the Asian greens salad (with greens, jicama, tempeh, carrots, and a yummy spicy peanut dressing), and the vegan cheeseburger. Pardon the crapy pics; that place has dim *~*trendy romantic*~* lighting.

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This cheeseburger. You guys. It is my FAVORITE vegan cheeseburger on earth (and I’ve had a lot of veggie burgers in my 17+ meat-free years). It’s a house-made vegan patty with cheese, guac, pickled peppers, caramelized onions, and some sauce or something on homemade focaccia. It is messy and hearty and flavorful and delicious. LOVE.

After dinner, the Van Leeuwen truck was parked right by Peacefood. Van Leeuwen makes the most delicious, rich craft ice cream I have ever had. Their vegan base is a blend of coconut, cocoa butter, cashews, and extra virgin coconut oil. It is OUTSTANDING.

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I ended up with “one scoop” of vegan strawberry jam, and one scoop of vegan cookie dough.

One scoop ended up being more like a pint. And I ate it all because it was FRICKIN’ delicious. I was really glad I sampled the strawberry jam, because it was honestly one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had! And not something I would normally think to order (I tend to be a chocolate/nut ice cream over fruit kinda gal).

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But it had a rich base with swirls of housemate strawberry jam and pieces of biscuit that were like crunchy and sort of soft simultaneously. And the vegan cookie dough was obviously amazing, with big chunks of vegan cookie dough. My fav flavor there is vegan banana nut, which tastes likes straight up banana bread, but they didn’t have it at the truck. Which probably turned out for the better, since I tried the strawberry!

We ate in Union Square Park, then headed back to BK. I went to bed at my friend’s apartment, and she went out with some friends.

Regarding the large amount of ice cream…I DEFINITELY ate past the point of fullness. In fact, I felt a little TOO full about 30 minutes later. I inhaled it because I think I really needed a good meal after so much walking the previous few days, but the stuff is soooo rich I think I overate beyond my needs. Yes, I was a bit uncomfortably full. But you know what? You live and you learn. Yup, I probably inhaled like, a day’s worth of calories in the form of vegan ice cream in like, 2 minutes, but it is NOT worth obsessing over. I went to bed with a very full tummy and decided to slow down on my ice cream inhalation next time (also, usually they don’t give me THAT much, even when I order two scoops instead of one…I think the guy just was feeling generous).

Friday

Friday I woke up early, went on a run (hadn’t exercised besides walking all week and figured it may do my anxiety some good), showered, and got brunch with Caty and one of her friends.


She called me around 10:40am asking if I wanted to go to Champs, which is a vegan diner. I was bummed I had LITERALLY just finished a bagel with nut butter and banana and wasn’t super hungry but decided to go anyway. I’m glad I did.

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Since I wasn’t super hungry I got a pancake with berries. And syrup. Champs was fun. It’s like an old school diner with classic diner entrees, but all vegan. And with fun art.

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The pancake was yummy. Tasted like a straight up diner pancake, if that makes sense. Like that unique, griddle-cooked taste.

After that, I spontaneously booked a plane ticket for that night and decided to head home for the long weekend, since I learned the apartment I was approved for wouldn’t let me move in until Thursday, and I was quite frankly in need of some real sleep on a bed (not a couch) and some alone time.

I’m quite the introvert, and not having any personal space, especially during an orientation week, makes me feel anxious and overwhelmed. I literally often feel like I need to be alone and calm down to get back to baseline when I’m overwhelmed with anxiety, and having no place to just sit and be by myself has increased my stress, anxiety, and panic.

Also, I MISSED MY FRICKIN’ DOG who has been in Wisconsin until I’m settled with a place.

Thanks for reading! Sorry I’ve been absent this week. Haven’t been in the headspace to blog. But feel much calmer home and with my doggo and with a good night’s sleep in me.

Can any introverts out there relate to feeling super overwhelmed when you don’t have your own space? Any tips for crippling anxiety? Let me know and stay #blessed!

Long Weekend in Colorado

Long Weekend in Colorado

This weekend I went to visit my sister in Denver, Colorado! She’s doing a dental residency program there so she and her husband moved there last June.

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While I was recovering from my mini toe-surgery I spent a lot of time online looking at flights and ended up booking a roundtrip long weekend for $69 (okay actually each way was $69, but I had points to use so I only paid for one way). So Denver it was!

Thursday:

My flight left at 5:35am on Thursday and I landed in Denver around 6:45am local time. Then I hopped on the light rail and my sister’s husband picked me up from a stop nearby their place. I spent a bit of time showering, settling in, and taking a break to relax and snack with the pups.

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I had a haircut scheduled with the lady who did my hair all of middle/high school at 11:30am so then I went and did that. It took 2 hours. She did a great job. It’s much too short for my taste though, and honestly I don’t really feel like myself and would like it about 2 inches longer. But I guess I just gotta wait it out.

I spent a bit of time walking around, getting coffee, and headed back to my sister’s place around 3:30pm. I ate a late lunch snack thing and rested for a while. My sister came home a little bit later and her husband made us an awesome dinner of homemade veggie burgers, TJ’s sweet potato fries, and salad with chickpeas, quinoa, nuts, and dried cranberries. He’s an awesome cook. He’s a vegetarian, and my sister also eats mostly vegetarian, so meals with them are often plant-based. Nom.

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The veggie burger patties were based on this recipe, and were truly outstanding. Served with avocado, tomato, lettuce, onion, and cucumbers, and some random hummus sauce that tasted nice. Also ketchup + hot sauce + BBQ sauce because we like condiments in our fam.

(Speaking of condiments, this tweet from Ed Sheerean is everything to me):

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Then we went to ice cream at Little Man’s. The experience was fun and filled with laughs. The vegan ice cream tasted okay but the texture was very gummy and unpleasant. Still an awesome time and nice evening.

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Friday:

The next day I drove my sister to work, and then explored the city a bit. I camped out at Denver Central Market for a bit to do some work, then went to Babette’s to get the most amazing bread ever period.

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After that I headed back to her place to make some lunch and shower. For lunch I had the leftover salad with added greens and cashews, and a ton of Babette’s bread. It was perfect. My appetite was a bit lower than usual, probably because it always takes me a little bit to adjust to altitude, so I was craving something not-too-heavy and fresh. This did the trick.

 

I did a bunch of work outside (it was so beautiful) until it started to rain. I came inside and ate more cashews (okay honestly Trader Joe’s organic cashews are somehow the best cashews ever period) and by that time it was almost time to get Jenn from work. I had intended to go shopping this day, but wasn’t in the mood.

We grabbed Jenn from work and brought the dogs, and planned on a walk, but it started to rain (hard) almost the minute we pulled up to the park. We headed back to my sister’s place, and by that time the rain had cleared (lol). But we got ready and headed to dinner.

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For dinner we went to Watercourse Foods, which is an all-vegan place. We ordered the MOST AMAZING cauliflower wings and a huge (much bigger than we anticipated) plate of nachos to start. I was very much infatuated by the wings.

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The nachos were good too, but I’m not a huge nacho person (I eat them and like them, but don’t crave for them, if that makes sense).

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After appetizers, we were basically full (lol) but our food came out anyways. I had ordered a vegan caesar salad with added miso-glazed tofu. I think my appetite was still adjusting cause I just didn’t have the giant appetite I usually do. This was a perfect entree following the apps.

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We were stuffed and passed on dessert (shocking, I know), and headed back to Jenn’s place where we walked the dogs.

Saturday:

Saturday started bright and early. I got up around 4:50am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Jenn got up at 5:30, and we had a breakfast of Babette’s bread with peanut butter and banana.

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Next we hit up yoga at Red Rocks at 7:00am, which was pretty damn awesome. The sun was shining, and the weather was great.

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The walk up to Red Rocks was probably the most strenuous part lol.

 

After that + an hour of yoga we were ready for iced coffee and some chill time.

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Here is the best selfie I took all trip:

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Back to hotel Jackson we went for some down time. Jenn napped, I chilled. We also ate a papaya at some point. I also had a banana + more bread + pb as a snack before we headed out for the park a little after noon.

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We spent a solid amount of time in the park with the dogs. The weather was so nice all weekend so we really soaked it all in.

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After our walk we headed to TJ’s to grab some stuff to make a corn and bean salad for a party later. I got some yummy Healthade Pink Lady Apple Booch + some slaw for the party (which was on demo and SO good) + some chocolate.

 

Look how cute the doggo stuff was!

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Then it was home for a late lunch and some more down time. I had leftover salad + miso glazed tofu (from last night) and more bread. Because bread.

That night, we headed out to one of my sister + Tyler’s friends party. On the way, we stopped for beer at a rando liquor store which just so happened to be next door to Beet Box!

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Beet Box is a vegan bakery I sought out last time I was in town. SUPER yummy all-vegan bakery and cafe. While Tyler was grabbing booze, I grabbed some sweet carby snacks.

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I got us a vanilla coconut doughnut, an apple cinnamon walnut doughnut, and a giant cinnamon roll to share. The vanilla coconut doughnut was a bit sweet for me, but the other two were EXCELLENT. LOVED the cinnamon roll.

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We headed to the party where we hung out for several hours. It was a grill out and the hosts were sweet enough to grill Tyler and I some mushroom caps. I made a sandwich thing with a mushroom cap + a grilled peach + avo + tomato + onion + lettuce + slaw + hummus + had some more slaw + bean salad on the side. Not pictured: veggies + more hummus + chips + more guac. It looks really gross in the following pic:

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I headed back to the Jackson’s in an uber around 10:30 cause I was pooped from my inability to nap during the tow opportunties available to me that day.

Except then I couldn’t really sleep well because the doggos kept barking. I think their neighbors were having a party or something. Anyways, I didn’t get to sleep until around 12:30am. Blah.

Sunday

Sunday I slept in til 7:30am, which is pretty darn late for me. I spent the morning hours outside on their deck reading and drinking coffee in the sun. My sister got up around 9:30am and we got ready for a day of adventures.

First we swung by Denver Central Market to hit up Babette’s for another loaf for me to take home. We also grabbed some coffee from Boxcar. Love that place.

 

We piled into the car and got on the road. St. Mary’s Glacier was on our agenda.

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My sister and her husband took me here in January, but it was SO cold and windy (like 20 degrees and super gusty) and I had Millie in my arms who was so pissed about the whole thing I spent all of my energy clutching her in my arms and carrying her up the glacier gloveless (I had a good grip and she was so swirmy I didn’t wanna bother) that I barely remember much except making sure Millie was okay. I had really thought she would have liked the hike but didn’t realize it was that freezing that day in the mountains. Oh well.

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See? Look how PISSED she looks lol.

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Anyways, it was nice to be able to see the glacier but like actually see and enjoy it.

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We hiked up, took some pics, and felt anxious watching people ski down the glacier. Then we hiked up the glacier a bit more and had a snack break: apples + TJ’s Walnut Fig Date Nut Bar. I LOVE this bar.

 

After some water, views, and snacks, we headed back down to the car and got back on our way. We stopped in Idaho Springs for more water from a gas station and decided to go up to Mount Evans to try to see some mountain goats.

 

Back on the road we went. The road was the highest road in America. I freaked the fuck out and made us stop. Holy cow did that road scare me. And I’m not even afraid of heights. Anyways, we stopped on the road and took in more views and snapped some more pics before I made us turn back around and head home.

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We returned to the Jackson’s around 3:30pm and had some snacks + all of the water + chill time. Altitude takes a lot out of me.

Around 6 we headed to dinner at Vital Root.

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I ordered a grilled beet arugula salad with candied walnuts + their avocado toast.

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Can we talk about this avo toast for a minute? Hands down the BEST I’ve ever had. It had glazed nuts, crispy chickpeas, microgreens, radish strips, and balsamic glaze on top. And it came with a side of this really yummy spicy green stuff.

The sunflower seed bread it was served on was SUPER thick and like tasted French toasted somehow. I don’t know how they did it, but holy cow. This was so.good. I could have eaten 4 of them.

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Post-din din we went on an ice cream adventure. I got black sesame, pb fudge and berry chip from Frozen Matter. Yes, it was excessive. I also added Oreos which I regretted. I should have gotten cocoa nibs but the girl kinda talked me out of those. Boo. Oh well. Still really good, especially the black sesame. It tasted like blue moon.

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I managed to inhale this entire 3 scoop concoction with impressive speed. It was around 8:15 at that point, so back home it was. Jenn and I watched the Simple Life and she did some work while I chilled.

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Monday:

I was super tired Monday and my tummy was a bit off so I chilled in the morning. I went to a nearby coffee shop to get some work done, and then headed back around 2 to pack up. My flight got delayed about 90 times and I ended up being around long enough for dinner.

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We went to Biju’s Little Curry Shop, which is kind of like a Chipotle of Indian Food. It was also randomly on Triple D recently. Anyways, I got a reallllyyyy spicy curry with rice, lentils, cabbage, green beans, potatoes and slaw. And more hot sauce.

Biju’s is some of the only Indian-type food I like. Most curry tastes muddy and greasy to me. This tastes fresh and flavorful and doesn’t make me poop my pants. Score.

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Then we grabbed a quick cider sampler drink and after that I hopped on the lightrail to the airport for what ended up being a super duper late flight back to MKE. I got back around 2:00am, ate some chocolate, brushed my teeth, and went to bed with my Millie (it was SO good to see her little face!!!)

That’s all for this Denver trip. Can’t wait for the next!

What’s your fav place to travel?

Black Rice Black Bean Beet Burgers

[Disclosure:  “I received a gift card to purchase the rice used in the development of the recipe in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by USA Rice Federation and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”]

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Lately I’ve been HUNGRY. Long days make a girl want to eat eat eat until the cows come home. Actually what keeps happening is I won’t think I’m hungry until I actually sit down and start eating. Then once I’ve finished a normal amount of food my body goes, “omg. i’m starving. keep feeding me plz.” and so I oblige and munch the night away.

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So on nights like those nights – after a long work day or maybe a day I went on a run (which hasn’t been in a while but whatevs), I want something to fill me up for more than 10 minutes, which isn’t always an easy task. I tend to be a nibbler and grazer as apposed to what biology refers to as a “bulk eater” but every so often I just need a burger, ya feel me? And since I don’t eat meat and/or dairy, the word “burger” has a slightly different meaning than it may to another human being.

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To me, burger means a (meatless) hearty, spicy, nourishing and satisfying tasty savory thing that tastes good with hot sauce and ketchup. Those are my only requirements. Other than that I’m pretty open to many different types of veggie burgers. I grew up eating lots of frozen veggie burgers and always loved them for taste and convenience reasons, and recently, I’ve been more and more curious about experimenting with making my own.

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I think one of the keys to a good veggie burger is the addition of some grains of goodness. And y’all know by now that black rice is one of my FAVORITE grains of all times. I love Black Rice Salads, like the Rainbow Black Rice Salad and this Autumn Black Rice Salad, as well as in pudding, so today, I decided to put it in a burger.

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Black rice is not only full of protein and fiber, it is naturally gluten free, convenient, and has been shown to lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease when part of a healthy diet. It’s no secret that I adore healthy carbohydrate sources, and black rice is such a powerhouse I can fully endorse others to Think Rice when looking for a nourishing grain option. I especially love black rice for it’s unique nutty taste and al dente texture, and gorgeous purply hue. In fact, this huge inspired me to pair it with beets to make a 50 shades-of-purple-type burger, and rounded out the root veggies and rice with some hearty black beans for an added boost of protein, fiber, and flavor. I used U.S. grown rice for this recipe.

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The result? A delicious, hearty, healthy veggie burger that is sweet, spicy, and satisfying. The recipe makes about 6 veggie patties, making it the perfect meal to make for dinner one night and have leftover lunches ready to go for the next few days. That is, if you can prevent yourself from eating all 6 at once.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour (includes cooking rice and baking burgers)
Level: easy

makes about 6 burgers, serving 3-6 depending on hunger level 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked US-grown black rice (approximately 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked beets
  • 1/2 onion or 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, almonds, or pecans (or other nut, I used walnut)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (reduce or omit if you don’t like spice!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (reduce or omit if you don’t like spice!)
  • 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot sauce based on personal spice level preference

Directions:

1. Cook black rice according to package. I usually use a 2:1 ratio of water:rice and cook for about 30 minutes until al dente. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Chop onion or scallion and rinse and drain beans. Cook beets if needed as desires (can be cubed and roasted at 425 for about 25-35 minutes and/or boiled whole for 45-60 minutes). Peel beets. Personally I just used a steamed peeled package from Trader Joe’s. Canned would also work). Once beets are cooked, process in a food processor or blender into fine pieces.

3. In a food processor or blender pulse walnuts into a crumbly meal. Stop before it becomes the consistency of a nut butter.

3. In a large bowl combine cooked rice, beet shreds, beans, onion, flax, walnut meal, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and Sriracha. Mash slightly (I like my beans a little chunky in the burgers still, but it’s up to you!) with a potato masher and/or whisk and mix together until well combine.

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4. Using your hands, take about 1/4th to 1/3rd cup mixture at a time and shape into a patty, about 1/4th inch thick. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with rest of mixture.

5. Bake on a middle rack for 30-40 minutes until crisped lightly on edges. Remove from oven and enjoy on a delicious bun with toppings of your choice, or as is.

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For more Recipes to Inspire you to Think Rice, click around below: