Black Bean Burgers & Veggie Fries
For the longest time, the thought of going vegetarian was never on my radar. It’s not that I’m a huge meat eater, but I do enjoy the odd steak, burger or lamb chop here and there. I also grew up being served chicken probably 5 times a week (my mom can vouch for the amount of complaints she received for making the same boring meal of chicken, potatoes and salad). I had no interest in eating tofu or legumes as my main protein sources, thinking I could never be as satisfied eating those as I would eating meat. Even as I was studying to become a dietitian and was better understanding food sources of different nutrients, and the effects of these nutrients on our health, I did not ever want to become vegetarian. No one in my family or friend group were vegetarian either and Netflix documentaries about vegetarianism weren’t out yet, so there wasn’t much influencing me to eat that way. It wasn’t until I did my masters at McGill where many of my friends were vegetarian or vegan that I began to experiment more with plant-based meals and develop a strong liking towards these foods. We had monthly vegan potlucks, which challenged me to try new recipes and exposed me to vegan foods I had never even heard of. I always left these potlucks feeling surprisingly very full and satisfied.
Then, last year when my dad was away, my mom and I tried being vegetarian (lacto-ovo) for the week (since my dad dislikes vegetarian meals). We got very creative in the kitchen and made many delicious, filling, nutrient-dense meals. We both agreed that we felt great during the week and didn’t miss our typical beef/chicken/fish meals. That being said, we reverted back to our omnivore-like eating patterns once the week was over.
Ever since starting my @nutritious_niks Instagram account, my creativity and risk-taking in the kitchen has greatly improved, and I always strive to make nutritious, easy, aesthetically pleasing meals that appeal to a diverse audience. I noticed that my pictures featuring #vegan, #vegetarian, or #plantbased meals received the most engagement, so tried to make more content like that, especially on #meatlessmonday. Another reason why I wasn’t interested in becoming vegetarian was the perception that meals take much longer to prepare. I have learned that this is definitely not the case; you can easily whip up a plant-based dinner in 10 minutes.
Anyways, the point of all this is that while I still don’t plan on becoming vegetarian at the moment (as I don’t feel that is best for my body, lifestyle, taste preferences, etc.), I do enjoy living a “flexitarian” lifestyle, eating plant-based meals a lot of the time, but also enjoying animal products when I crave them. This recipe for black bean burgers & veggie fries is the perfect example of how delicious and satisfying a meat-free meal can be! My dietitian friend and I enjoyed this meal after a brutal 16km run, and we were definitely adequately re-fueled and well nourished afterwards!
(makes 2 very large for 4 medium-sized burgers)
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup leeks (could also use onion)
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- Seasoning to taste: black pepper, parsley, oregano, chili powder, celery salt
- 2 tbsp hemp hearts (can omit)
- 1/2 cup flour (I used almond flour. May need more/less depending on the consistency of the burger batter).
- 2-4 whole wheat buns (can omit if you want a gluten-free/lower carb meal)
- Toppings I used: sriracha-mayo, beets, goat cheese, sauteed mushrooms, spinach
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 parsnip
- 1 large carrot
- A few tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
- Suggested seasoning: garlic powder, cumin, paprika, chili powder, pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line 2 trays with parchment paper.
- Cut vegetables (I left skin on) into fry-shape. Place them in a freezer bag, add some oil and seasoning and shake until well-coated. Place on baking sheet.
- Combine all burger ingredients except hemp hearts and flour in a food processor. Combine until paste-like consistency.
- Combine burger paste with hemp hearts & flour. Form into patties. Place on baking sheet.
- Place burger and fries in oven for 30 minutes, flipping half way. (Note: I made my burgers large and thick so they took this long to cook- smaller/thinner burgers may take less time). Place bun in oven in the last minute to lightly toast.
- Top burgers with desired toppings. Would recommend dipping fries in sriracha-mayo (I used avocado-oil mayo with sriracha, ratio will depend on how spicy you like it!)