Tag Archives: dairy free
I think the biggest mistake people make when they approach a veggie burger is assuming that it will taste like meat. This is apparent in a lot of commercial veggie burgers that try to mimic the look, taste and texture – and if you’re looking for that, this might not be the burger recipe for you.
I had wanted to try out Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Quarter Pounder Beet Burgers since I had first seen them on her website, The Post Punk Kitchen (really, the vegan Bible). Shredded beets, lentils and cooked brown rice combine to create a whopping 1/4 veggie burger that wouldn’t look so out of place at a backyard barbecue, but doesn’t even pretend to want to be compared to a beef burger. The texture is fabulous, and this is the first homemade veggie burger recipe I’ve used that stayed dense and compact down to the very last bite – no crumblies here!
I baked my beet burgers to save on calories, but Isa herself recommends lightly frying the patties in a hot cast-iron skillet to create a crunchy char. Even without the frying, though, my burgers came out of the oven with a very pleasant golden-brown crust.
When I was in high school, my first boyfriend’s mom used to make a delicious pilaf with barley and mushrooms that I would eat by the bowlful. I loved it so much that I requested the recipe, but it’s been nearly six years now and I hadn’t made it since. I generally always have mushrooms and carrots on hand, but it seemed strange to buy barley simply for the purpose of making one dish.
The recipe also called for quite a bit of oil, which doesn’t quite fit my current lifestyle, and quite a bit of preparation, including nearly an hour in the oven (not quite doable on our first 80-plus degree day). I was worried that leaving it out would compromise the creaminess of the original version, but if I had known how this revised edition would come out, I would have attempted it a lot sooner.
I love the texture of the Israeli couscous. I had purchased it awhile ago, not really sure what I would turn it into, but eager to try something other than a typical Mediterranean-style salad. This pilaf is savory, nutty and ever-so-slightly creamy – feel free to substitute the couscous with barley or orzo pasta if you don’t have it on hand.
The trick here is to chop and slice all the veggies very finely – the chewy, nutty pearls of couscous contrast nicely with the soft and savory cooked vegetables. A liberal sprinkling of dried cranberries adds some sweetness and color, but any dried fruit will do here – next time I hope to add dried apricots and slivered almonds for a little crunch.
Serve this alongside your favorite tofu dish, or enjoy it as a light springtime lunch.
Israeli Couscous Pilaf
1 cup dry Israeli couscous
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz. button mushroom caps, chopped
1/2 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt + Pepper
1. In a saucepan, cook couscous in 1 1/4 cups boiling water or vegetable broth for about 7-8 minutes. Set aside.
2. Spray a frying pan with non-stick spray and add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and zucchini. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring often, until slightly softened.
3. Add the mushrooms and cranberries to the pan and cook until all ingredients are soft.
4. Add the couscous, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir well. Enjoy hot or cold.
Nutrition per Serving: 208 calories, 1g fat, 46g carbohydrates, 7g protein.