Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers with Parsnip Fries
Shrimp Skewers from Fish Enterprise, everything from Skandi Smorgasbord, Dad's Cheeseburgers on the Grill, and Milk from the 7-Eleven
Funny how when I think of Sundays growing up, it pretty much revolves around food. Really good food. And the milk? To this day I'm still not sure how we always ran out of milk on Sunday. Mom, my brother and I, sitting in the car on the way home from church while Pop ran inside the 7-Eleven to get milk. I don't even like milk.
When I was 25, I decided to go Vegan. I was living in Santa Barbara at the time, so even back then, grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and tofu were accessible. But I felt horrible! I gained weight, I was tired all the time, and my tongue itched. Turned out I was allergic to soy, nuts and several fruits and vegetables. I couldn't even drink tea.
So, back came the meat, but with it came a new understanding of food, and a taste for foods I would have never given a chance to before, like quinoa. Plus an appreciation for the fact that every meal doesn't need to include meat to leave you feeling satisfied.
Quinoa is actually a seed, and what is often called a complete protein, having 8 essential amino acids. It's low calorie, cooks up like rice, and is a great filler for veggie burgers. And while I'm not the biggest fan of some, this veggie burger is full of unique and sophisticated flavors thanks to the roasted sweet potatoes and onions. Plus a bit of a kick from the crushed red pepper. It can be eaten on a bun, in a pita, or for a less bready meal serve it solo with my corn salsa on top. I prefer to soak my quinoa overnight before I cook it, as it gives a softer texture.
And don't forget the fries! No burger is complete without fries, and once you go parsnips you'll never go back.
Sad to say, I've only recently discovered parsnips, and they've become a family favorite. Parsnips, where have you been all my life? Parsnips are similar to carrots, but offer a sweeter, more mellow flavor, especially when roasted. Just make sure and cut out the long "woody" center, (similar to how you'd cut an apple around it's core) especially in the larger ones. Parsnips can be cut long into fries and roasted, chunked and cooked in soups or alongside your carrots and potatoes with a roast. They can even be grated to use as a replacement for carrots in cakes or muffins.
Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers
2 large sweet potatoes
1 sweet yellow onion
1/2 c. cooked quinoa
6 Tblsp. rolled oats (for gluten-free, check out quinoa flakes, or gluten-free oats if can be tolerated)
15oz can black beans
1 tsp. dried thyme
Sprinkle of crushed red pepper
Kosher Salt & Pepper
Cut potatoes into 1” cubes, and slice the onion into thin half-moons.
Place on baking sheet w/rim and drizzle with olive oil, then salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for about 30 min. until nicely browned and soft.
While veggies are cooking, cook the quinoa according to package directions to yield ½ c. (I soak mine overnight). Drain and rinse black beans, and place in a large mixing bowl. With a fork, mash about ½ of the beans and season with salt, pepper and 1 tsp. thyme (leave the rest whole for texture). Add in cooked quinoa and roasted onion. And using your fork, mash the roasted sweet potatoes (keeping some small chunks).
In a mini food processor, blend the oats until about ½ way to a flour consistency. Add into rest of ingredients and gently fold until blended. Salt & pepper to taste.
Form into 7 patties, and bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping sides halfway in.
For the parsnips, simply cut up as desired and place on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned, flipping once to brown both sides.
*Note: These recipes were inspired by Veganomicon (my favorite vegan cookbook) and Post Punk Kitchen. Isa not only showed me that Vegan cooking can be flavorful, but her beautifully combined flavors inspire creativity in all types of cuisine.