Confession time! Being Greek, I am aware that what I’m about to say may well be perceived as some kind of food treason to my compatriots, but truth is, I’ve come to have serious second thoughts about meat consumption… Other than the fact that animal farming is disastrous for the environment, meat is not exactly conducive to a healthy body either.
So, to substitute meat, I made vegetable burgers for the first time recently and they turned out wonderful! They’re made with ingredients of high nutritional value: red lentils, oats, quinoa and spices. And, more importantly, they’re hormone-free and guilt-free!
Wanna give these burgers a go? You’ll find the easy recipe below!
(Makes 6 large burgers)
1/2 cup quinoa (washed and drained well)
3/4 cup split red lentils (washed and drained well)
1/3 Quaker oats
1 medium red onion (finely chopped)
Parsley (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika or cayenne
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fill the kettle with water and boil it. Put 3 cups of hot water in a pan.
Add the quinoa, lentils and oats and bring to the boil while stirring well to avoid any lumps.
When it starts to boil, add onion and spices and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Monitor it and stir occasionally lest the ingredients will stick to the bottom. At some point, you may want to keep it uncovered and cook in medium heat so you can monitor it better as it’ll start to bubble. If it bubbles too much, add a little hot water. Stir almost continuously at that point.
The mix is ready when the ingredients are soft and there’s no water left. If you pick a little with a spoon, it should fall freely off it – not too runny and a little sticky.
Take it off the heat and add chopped parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper.
Line a baking dish with baking paper, then spread a sprinkle of olive oil on top.
Using a spoon, drop the mixture into the baking dish to form 6 burgers. Try to put them far apart, but it’s okay if they touch a little as they won’t spread further when baked.
Preheat oven at 200 degrees C. Use upper and lower element and put them on the second self from the bottom. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden.
Take them out of the oven and leave them in the baking dish for 10 minutes.
Serve them on a plate with whatever you like… With omelette, fish, cheese, or salad…. french fries, turmeric-scented mash or rice…
Last time, I enjoyed my veggie burger with fish fingers and boiled potatoes. It was a delicious meal.
And here, I’ll tell you a secret. I’ve now prepared the veggie burgers in two different ways…
Being a health nut, I tend to soak quinoa and lentils in water, no matter how I’m going to cook them, for at least eight hours. This ensures the optimal absorption of the nutrients in the body. When I made the veggie burgers last time, I soaked the quinoa and the lentils (separately). The result was the burgers didn’t get crunchy, and underneath they stayed soft, crumbling when I tried to pick them up. This is why in the picture above the burger seems misshapen. But I assure you it was still delicious–not to mention much easier to digest–having been prepared this way. So now that you know the differences, you get to choose your favorite version 🙂
About quinoa: It’s not just delicious but highly nutritious too. I prepare it often and serve it with all sorts of things. I have a basic recipe for it, if you’re interested: 1 cup quinoa (soaked and washed) for 2 people. Boil it in 3 cups of water with salt, pepper, a splash of olive oil, a bay leaf. In the meantime, fry some onion, chopped garlic and chopped pepper with some salt in about 6-8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in medium heat until onion and peppers are soft. When the quinoa is done (all water absorbed), take it off the heat, add half a teaspoon of turmeric and a generous amount of black pepper (the black pepper increases the absorption of the turmeric’s many and miraculous nutrients in the body by 200%!). Stir well. Add the fried mix and chopped parsley, stir again and you’re done.
In the two pictures below you will see two suggested ways to serve quinoa. In the second photo I had boiled about 1/3 teacup red lentils (soaked and washed) separately for 15 minutes and added them to the mix. The green things on the plaice are capers – if it’s not clear in the photo. Oh! And another time, I fried chopped mushrooms and added them to the quinoa mix. That tasted lovely too 🙂
Did you know? By mixing grains with legumes you get complete, high-value protein. In today’s veggie burger recipe, the quinoa, oats and red lentil combo gives you just that! This is the reason why every time I make ‘fakes’ (the traditionally Greek brown lentil soup) these days, I throw in a tablespoon or so of rice, too. Grated carrot as well, for the extra enzymes this gives. Sorted! You will find the traditional recipe for ‘fakes’, here.
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