Hemp Burgers

Hemp Burger on a 100% whole wheat bun, fresh baby spinach, tomato and red onion.

These burgers have gotten easier and easier to make with each preparation. The first thing you need to do is cook the rice. You need a total of 3 cups of cooked rice. For some reason this small detail gives me the most problems. I’ve already sauteed my onion and peppers and have them in my food processor and low and behold I have no cooked rice….40 min. later after I pull out my rice cooker and make rice I can continue. These kinds of mistakes do not make me happy. I have also neglected to separate the rice and ended up tossing all 3 cups into the food processor instead of just two. In my infinite wisdom I am trying this novel idea of getting my ingredients prepared ahead of time, with the rice already in two bowls, one containing one cup of rice and one containing two cups of rice. So far it seems to be working well, it seems so elementary, why have I not been doing this all along??

The hemp seeds really make this burger so don’t try and substitute them with something else. Get out there and get a bag, yes they are a bit pricey but you are only using a cup. Keep them in your refrigerator, and you can toss them in salads, smoothies, or even plant based yogurts for a nutrition power punch. They are rich in protein, omega 3 and 6, fiber and iron. No, hemp seeds are not marijuana, and no, these burgers will not cause you to flunk a drug test.

The first time I made these it took forever, that was probably the rice issue time. When I finally got all the ingredients mixed up in the food processor, the consistency and something about the aroma reminded me of the ham salad my grandmother used to make. I have no idea why, because obviously there isn’t any ham in there, but if you used to be a grandma’s ham salad freak then you are in for a treat.

I always use a 1/2 cup measure to make my patties and I cook them in the oven using a silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet. I can usually fit 6 burgers on each tray and for some reason with this recipe sometimes I get 7 and then other times I get 8. Perhaps the difference in sizes of onions or red peppers? They always taste great! However, if you must have 8 patties, I would double the recipe. You will have to make two batches though, because it won’t all fit into a regular sized food processor if you double the ingredients. They freeze and thaw well so you can freeze the ones you don’t need and have a ready made meal for another day.

Hemp Burgers

  • Servings: 7-8 patties
  • Difficulty: easy
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A protein packed burger that's a nice switch from the typical bean burger


Ingredients


• water to sauté
• 1 medium onion, diced
• fresh ground black pepper to taste
• 1 red bell pepper, diced
• 2 cups cooked brown rice
• 1 cup shelled hemp seeds
• 2 tsp minced garlic
• 2 tsp. natural ketchup
• 1 Tbsp. tamari
• 1 tsp. dijon mustard
• 1 tsp. dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
• 1/4 tsp. ground sage
• 1/4 tsp. sea salt
• 1 cup cooked brown rice

Directions

    *Cook Rice First*
  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Sauté onion with black pepper until the onion is softened 3-4 minutes, adding water if necessary to prevent sticking.
  3. Add diced red pepper and sauté for another 5-6 minutes until the onions are translucent, adding water if necessary to prevent sticking.
  4. Add sautéed onion and red pepper to a food processor along with the 2 cups of rice, hemp seeds, garlic, ketchup, tamari, mustard, oregano, thyme, sage, and salt. Puree until fairly smooth, you may need to stop and scrape the container occasionally.
  5. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the remaining 1 cup of rice.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to firm up the mix. Form 1/2 cup patties with your hands and place on a silicone baking mat.
  7. Cook in a 400° oven for 10 minutes, flip burgers and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Freeze left over burgers in a freezer ready container for a quick fix meal another day.


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Veggie Barley Soup

Veggie Barley Soup

This is a soup I have come to love. Before heading down this heart healthy path, I could count on one hand the number of times I had used barley. I think both of those times it was for a soup and I only purchased what I needed for that particular day. Today, barley has become a staple in my pantry. I buy it in bulk and then store it in my own Rubbermaid container.

Last Friday I spent the day making food to take to my college aged son. It makes me feel good to make up healthy little packages for him. I make things for him that are easily frozen and taste good after having been frozen. We discovered vegan macaroni and cheese doesn’t unfreeze well. Veggie Barley soup is perfect for freezing in small containers. I was able to get 4 small containers from this batch of soup. Each container has about 2 1/2 servings of soup.

Freezer ready Veggie Barley soup

I use a homemade vegetable broth when I make this soup. I keep it written in the front of one of my cookbooks because I make it all the time. I usually make up a double batch and keep it in a large spice container in my spice cabinet. This is not my recipe and I cannot remember where it came from but this is a photo. You can always use a store bought vegetable broth if you prefer.

Veggie Broth recipe

Veggie Barley Soup

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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A hearty barley soup packed with veggies.


Ingredients


• splash of water (to sauté)
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 2 carrots, thinly sliced
• 1 large stalk celery, thinly sliced
• 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp. minced garlic)
• 8 cups vegetable broth
• 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 1 can diced tomatoes (I use chili ready diced tomatoes)
• 2 cups frozen cut green beans
• 1 cup pearled barley
• 1 cup frozen corn
• 1 tsp. dried basil
• 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 cup frozen peas
• salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a non-stick large pot over medium heat, add water, onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until veggies are softened, about 5 minutes. Add additional water to prevent sticking if necessary.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high and add mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring constantly.
  4. Add broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, green beans, barley, corn, basil, oregano, and bay leaf.
  5. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
  6. Cook soup until barley is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  7. Mix in peas and cook until tender and hot, 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Remove soup from heat and discard bay leaf. Season with pepper to taste.


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Crispy Tzatziki Chickpea Wraps

I haven’t used my panini press in years. I guess I always thought it would need oil, or at least in the past I always sprayed it with oil. Little did I realize I could get that same crisp outer crust without oil. I have also made this recipe on vacation (because its so easy) and used a skillet to brown the outside and amazingly did not need oil.

This recipe reminds me a bit of my “chicken salad” recipe. Once again the chickpeas all need to be smashed. I am continually trying to find an easy way to smash them. They must be smashed to get the consistency that works best. I was recently asked if the chickpeas need to be peeled….the answer is no just leave those little peels in there. The recipe calls for two cucumbers, one of them is shredded and one of them is diced. The amounts of tomato, red onion, and green pepper are based on my family and can be changed to fit your family preferences.

Along with the tomato, red onion, and green pepper, my family is fond of adding pickles (your choice dill or sweet) , hot peppers, mustard, homemade mayo. Play with the recipe and make it your own.

Crispy Tzatziki Chickpea Wraps

  • Servings: 8
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A fresh, light, plant based, Greek-inspired wrap recipe perfect for dinner or lunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 2 medium cucumbers, one shredded and one diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 3 cups chopped greens
  • 15 ounces plain dairy free yogurt, unsweetened
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 3/4 Tbsp. dried dill
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 8 large 100% whole wheat tortillas
  • pickles, hot pepper, olives, optional

Directions

  1. Drain, rinse and smash chickpeas in a large bowl, set aside
  2. Grate one of the cucumbers, place it in a stainer and squeeze as much water out as you can, let it drain.
  3. Combine the diced cucumber, tomato, red onion and green pepper in a small bowl.
  4. In another bowl combine the dairy free yogurt, grated cucumber, dill, garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Add 1/3 cup of the yogurt sauce to the smashed chickpeas and mix well. Add more or less to get a consistency you like.
  6. Assemble the wraps with a handful of lettuce, smashed chickpeas, mixed diced veggies, and a few dollops of tzatziki. You can toast them in a panini press or in a dry pan. Enjoy!

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Tuesday Tidbit – Quinoa

I have been using a rice cookers for several years and I am currently on my second one.  The one I  have has two setting, one for white rice and one for brown rice.  I have consistently cooked either brown or white rice and nothing else, it does have a steaming basket but I have yet to try it.  A few weeks ago my son purchased a rice cooker for his apartment and read the instruction book, something I had neglected to do since mine only had two buttons and I think I can tell if its brown or white rice.  He informed me that his rice cooker could also cook quinoa and had a button specifically for that purpose.  I curiously went to my stash of instruction manuals and fished out the one for my rice cooker, but there was no mention of quinoa or any other grains that could be cooked in there.  Having  burned quinoa on my stove top before I was anxious to give my rice cooker a try.   Using a 2/1 ratio, 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa, I clicked the white rice button and waited.IMG_5939

Quinoa is a seed related to the beet and chard families that looks and tastes like a grain but packs as much protein as meat. It is versatile and can go almost anywhere a grain can go.   It can replace rice in a stir-fry or couscous in a salad.  You can even eat it in the morning instead of oatmeal. Quinoa is gluten free and easy to digest. Quinoa is native to Andean cultures and the Incas referred to is as “mother of all grains”.

 

The light on my rice cooker clicked from red to green indicating that it was finished.  Tentatively opening the lid I found to my delight that it was fluffy and steamy, and a success.  No longer will I accidentally burn quinoa to the bottom of my pans, my rice cooker has a new purpose.IMG_5943

“Chicken” Salad

This is an amazing vegan substitute for chicken salad. I usually serve it on buns, as a “chicken” salad sandwich, with some lettuce, sliced tomato, mustard, vegan mayo, whatever else your heart desires in a sandwich. It can be served as a dip or spread with whole grain crackers or chips. I have also served it over a bed of spinach, one of my personal favorites .The hardest part of this whole process is the smashing of the chickpeas. Yes, they have to be smashed to give just the right texture. If you toss them in your food processor it will blend them up too much.

I try to keep the whole rinsed chickpeas separate in my bowl from the ones I’ve already smashed. In this photo I doubled the recipe. There is one can of chickpeas that have been smashed on the right side and my second can rinsed, drained and ready to be smashed is on the left side.

This is what your bowl looks like once you have gone through and smashed each and every chickpea. I leave the skins on my chickpeas, as of yet I have never peeled a chickpea.

This is the finished “chicken” salad once you add the rest of the ingredients.

IMG_5851.jpg

Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A lite chicken salad substitute, with a crisp celery crunch. We have eaten this on 100% whole grain buns, as a dip with Marys crackers, or as a salad topping.

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of dill pickles, chopped
  • sprinkling of hemp seeds
  • pepper to taste
  • sea salt, optional

Directions

  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas
  2. In a medium bowl mash chickpeas with a fork or potato masher
  3. Add tahini, mustard, maple syrup, red onion, celery, pickles, hemp seeds, pepper and optional salt. Stir until well mixed
  4. Eat as desired, as a sandwich, as a dip, or as a salad topper

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