Vegan Minced Mushroom Burger

This is our latest burger. We are always trying new recipes, tweaking, and then trying again. My freezer is sometimes full of things I’ve tried and then I can’t wait to make it again and change one thing. So into the freezer all the tests go. Thankfully I have lots of people who enjoy eating all the attempts. I have one son who says he basically eats experiments every time he’s home.

The first thing you want to do when making these burgers is to cook your rice in the rice cooker. I usually prepare 3 cups of uncooked rice which gives me more than enough. The mushrooms need to be pulsed in small batches through a food processor, you don’t want them to be paste, just minced. The onions need to be finely diced. This was my third attempt with this particular burger and I couldn’t bring myself to make another batch just to dice the onions finer. So in my photo you can see the onion…the burger will hold together better if they are finer.

Summer Savory seems to be a difficult spice to find, so be aware. The light sweet miso is sometimes found on the shelf and I have also found it in the refrigerator section, so just poke around or ask. I use a 1/2 cup measure to form my burgers so they all have the same amount of “meat”. Using the 1/2 cup measure this recipe makes 18-20 burgers. Freeze those leftovers to make for an easy dinner another day.

We eat burgers with 100% whole grain buns, usually some lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, some homemade hummus is always nice as well.

Vegan Minced Mushroom Burger

  • Servings: makes 18 burgers
  • Difficulty: medium.
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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds mushrooms, pulsed
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 16 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. light sweet miso
  • 3 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. summer savory
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 cups vital wheat gluten
  • no salt seasoning (for sprinkling on burgers before baking, if desired)

Directions

  1. Pulse mushrooms in batches and put in a large bowl.
  2. Finely chop onions and add to the mushrooms
  3. Add rice to the mushroom mixture
  4. Mix in tomato paste
  5. Blend in parsley, soy sauce, miso, basil, thyme, summer savory, allspice and garlic. Mix well so that the spices are evenly distributed.
  6. Add in the vital wheat gluten.
  7. Form burgers and place on prepared baking sheet. (line the sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper) Sprinkle with no salt seasoning.
  8. Bake at 350° for 30 min.
  9. Enjoy!

theheartie.kitchen

Homemade Veggie Chili

Homemade Veggie Chili is one of my favorites. It is my go to soup probably once every two weeks, because most of the ingredients I have readily on hand. It also makes a bunch so we have left overs to last us a couple of days and it is perfect to send along for lunch. Don’t let the long ingredient list overwhelm you, just go ahead and pull everything out before you start.

Typically I use minced garlic, just to make life easier than mincing my own. I purchased an electric can opener after about a year of our new way of eating. My wrist was so sore after preparing Christmas the first year that an electric one was the only way to go. I go through and open all the canned items while my fresh veggies are cooking. Get started draining and rinsing the beans. This is important, not only will it have an effect on the color of your soup but I have heard it can elevate some of the gas that sometimes comes with beans. Once rinsed and drained, put all the beans in a large bowl while they wait their turn to go into the soup. I use a small bowl and get all my seasonings ready ahead of time as well. I’m all about making things easy. Enjoy!

Homemade Veggie Chili

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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A Heartie soup, packed with fresh colorful veggies

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 14 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Directions

  1. In a large pot add garlic, onion, all three of the peppers, carrots, and celery, cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften and give up their juices.
  2. Add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Cook and stir for a few more minutes.
  3. Pour in the broth, tomato sauce, and the tomatoes with chiles. Stir and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the beans and the zucchini to the pot. Cover and simmer for 30 more minutes.
  5. In a small bowl whisk together the cornmeal and the warm water, add to the pot and cook for 15 more minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

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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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Veggie Party Tray Season

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I love this!  I picked up this tray from Pier 1 and have been using it as a decorative piece on my coffee table and recently, I looked at it with a new vision.  I started by covering the inside with cute pumpkin cloth napkins to protect the wood detail.  Moving on, I filled two bowls with The Better Chip brand chips from Gordon Food Services(GFS), I have spinach and kale in the red bowl and Jalapeño (Yes, real Jalapeño and they DO kick) in the green bowl, both are whole grain and vegan.  Two types of hummus in the white bowls in the center, roasted red pepper family style from GFS and garlic family style from Costco.  A bowl of guacamole, store-bought from Costco..all three of the containers fit into my one bowl,  and a plate of veggie sushi from my local Kroger.  On the other side a bowl of mixed nuts, a bowl of honey nut clusters (not vegan by all standards), a bowl of olives, and a bowl of dark chocolate covered pretzels.  I filled in with lots of fresh veggies, mushrooms, cauliflower, green cauliflower, orange, yellow and red peppers, and carrots.  The left over holes on one side got filled in with grape tomatoes and the other side was filled in with grapes.  I almost forgot all the Mary’s Gone crackers!  We go through box after box of these over the holidays.  Costco has them in a 20 ounce box with 2 bags of the original flavor, certified vegan. Such a party hit and so much food.  A perfect tray to put out for the holidays!  I served this at home, the tray might be a little hard to take somewhere once you have it filled.  Let this serve as an example of what you can bring when you’re invited to a get together with friends this holiday season.

Plant Based Potato Salad

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My mother in law used to make the most fabulous potato salad, the kind that is so rich and creamy it just melts in your mouth.  But alas, it was far from plant-based with its mayo and eggs.  So this is the substitute, not as creamy but certainly as tasty.  We test made this over the Labor Day holiday weekend, when all my kid’s were home.  They are always good taste testers.  They agreed it passed and could be added in to those family gatherings where we used to enjoy grandmas potato salad.  It’s fairly quick and easy to pull together and best yet, it can sit outside at the family picnic without any worries about whats going on with the mayo sitting in the sunshine.  We chose to leave the skin on the potatoes but you can certainly peel them if you want.  Potato skins are actually quite healthy.  One whole baked potato amazingly has more potassium than a banana. Spuds are also rich in iron, magnesium, and fiber, and fiber my friends is only found in plant food, and is a must have for our bodies to run efficiently.  Enjoy!

Plant Based Potato Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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A flavorful salad, rich with herbs and packed with nutrients

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs medium red potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dill

Directions

  1. Put potatoes in a saucepan full of water.  Bring to a boil and cook 5-8  minutes, until just tender.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Whisk apple sauce, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the hot potatoes and toss to coat.
  3. Add celery, parsley, scallions, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped dill.  Stir.
  4. Serve immediately while still warm or refrigerate to serve chilled.

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Steff’s Mac and Cheese

 

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This past 4th of July my family traveled as we have for many years to my sister’s house on the east side of Cleveland.  Her home is nestled in Ohio wine country and we celebrate yearly at Chalet Debonne Vineyards.  It’s a joy to visit because she prepares scrumptious plant-based dishes too.  This year she prepared a Mac and Cheese, (along with lots of other dishes) that was extra yummy.  My hubby even went back for seconds and he was never a Mac and cheese kind of guy before this plant-based adventure.  I was initially a little concerned because following Dr. Esselstyn’s prevent and reverse heart disease lifestyle one is supposed to stay away from nuts.  I have been avoiding them like the plague.  However, at a recent conference, Dr. Esselstyn was asked about nuts and he stated he doesn’t like nuts because no one can stop with just one handful and people end up with nuts in their car, nuts in their desk, nuts in their purse, essentially you can’t stop with just one.  So I made the executive decision that I can use them occasionally within a recipe and just keep them out of sight and hidden in my house so they don’t become a go to snack.  Over Labor Day weekend I prepared Steff’s Mac and Cheese for the first time.   My sister assured me it was super easy.  Just toss everything in the Vita-mix.  I’m told if you have a Vita-mix you don’t need to soak your raw cashews, however the ones I had were lightly salted so I soaked and rinsed them just to get rid of the added salt.  I had to text her photos of my progress several times during the process because I was expecting the sauce in my Vita-mix to be much thicker than it was.  She assured me it was perfect.  Sticking with Esselstyn I used 100% whole grain elbow macaroni.

Steff's Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Difficulty: easy
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A yummy substitute for the traditional blue box, approved by one their most avid fans.

Ingredients

  • 2 red peppers
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 -1lb box elbow macaroni

Directions

  1. Place the nuts in a small bowl and cover with water, let sit for approximately  6 hours, then drain and pat dry, this step is not necessary if you are using a Vita-mix.
  2. Prepare pasta and while the pasta is cooking, chunk up red peppers.
  3. Toss red pepper chunks, nutritional yeast, onion powder, water, cashews, salt, nutmeg and turmeric in food processor. Blend until smooth.
  4. Drain pasta and pour back into pan.
  5. Pour sauce over the cooked pasta, stir and place over low heat just until heated through.

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Balsamic Tomatoes

I like to shop at Costco and I usually make a stop there every other Thursday.  One of the items on my repeat list is the 2 pound package of what I call cherry tomatoes.  I don’t think thats what the name is on the outside of the package, but they are the small ones the shape of a cherry…you get what I mean.    I like to roast them in my oven, with a bit of garlic, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and a dash of pepper.  I use a jelly roll pan, thats the one that looks like a cookie sheet with edges.  I put a silicone mat in the bottom to prevent anything from sticking to the pan, since I don’t use any oil when cooking.  The silicone mat makes it easy to just lift the sides and pour them out without any mess.  Once they are finished roasting I like to put some in my food processor and puree them into a tasty, healthy, plant based salad dressing.  I store my balsamic tomato dressing in the refrigerator.  The rest of them I usually pop into a refrigerator container and use them whole on salads, in pastas, as a pizza topping, and in veggie bowls, the possibilities are probably endless.  Let me know what your favorite uses are.

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Balsamic Tomatoes

  • Servings: 2lbs
  • Difficulty: easy
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A tasty addition to salads, pastas, pizzas, and veggie bowls, as well as a delightful pureed salad dressing.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°
  2. Clean and rinse tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and place in a container
  3. Mix together garlic, vinegar, maple syrup and pepper.
  4. Pour mixture over tomatoes
  5. Pour tomato mixture into jelly roll pan (lined with silicone mat if desired) and spread them out.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes and then rotate the pan and cook for another 15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

theheartie.kitchen

 

Yes, you can cruise healthy

I recently had the opportunity to go on a business trip with my husband and that business trip was a cruise! I had heard all about cruises from my family and friends, tales of the 24 hour food selections, drink packages, excursions and beautiful scenery. I must admit I was a little worried about finding food that would fit within our healthy lifestyle and I was worried about being seasick, this being our first cruise. For the seasickness I packed acupressure bands, regular Dramamine and non drowsy Dramamine, I was prepared. We set off for Seattle and our ship, Celebrity Solstice.

First, the acupressure bands worked like a dream, (no Dramamine necessary) and I kept those Velcro bands strapped to my wrists for the entire trip.

Second, the food! All that food! So many different venues, the dining hall, (we only made it to our assigned dining time one evening), the 5 specialty restaurants, the buffet (I usually steer clear of those but this was awesome), and my favorite the spa cafe!

Each of the specialty restaurants we dined in went totally out of their way to make sure that our meals were dairy and meat free, they had no qualms with me picking and choosing from all over the menu to put something together. This is a photo of breakfast in Luminae, tortillas, sautéed mushrooms and roasted tomatoes.

The Oceanview cafe offered a vegan buffet at dinner time, which even though they had lots of options all day long it was nice to know you didn’t have to ask about dairy or meat. You could just walk up and know that everything in front of you was perfect! These are some photos from the vegan buffet.

The spa cafe was my all time favorite. I can not even remember how many detox and antioxidant smoothies I ordered. (They are an extra cost if you don’t have the premium drink package) The homemade energy bars were sitting out daily during breakfast. I might have lost count of those too! The best part about the spa cafe is….it’s quiet! It was like my secret oasis that no one else had discovered.

Some side notes, first I learned that there are no irons on board, so iron up before you go. I’m an iron every morning kinda gal so this bothered me at first and then I realized I could get some of my wrinkles under control with my curling iron. On that note, there were three times during the trip when my curling iron would light up but not heat up. Thankfully I didn’t pitch it in the trash the first day because it worked the next day. I talked to a couple other people who experienced the same thing, I won’t even begin to try and understand the mechanics of why, just happy I was able to eventually get it to work. Second, our ship had a fabulous work out facility and an outdoor track.

In conclusion, you CAN cruise healthy on Celebrity Solstice. This was my first cruise so I can’t give any comparisons on size of ship or number of people, but it surpassed all my expectations.

Falafel Burgers

It’s mid June now, and my herb garden is literally overflowing with cilantro and parsley, it seems the more I cut the more it grows.  I don’t want it to go to waste and I can only give away so much, so I was trying to think of something I could whip up.  Way back almost 2 years ago I made this falafel burger recipe for the first time and I remembered that it took  both of herbs, so I searched and found that recipe.  At that time, in the midst of fear and the unknown, starting down this plant-based journey for heart health this recipe seemed very difficult.  I believe at the time I only had a small food processor and not a very good one at that, so perhaps that was my angst.   Regardless I remembered it being a challenge and difficult, so much so apparently that I don’t remember preparing it more than twice.

Yesterday they came together so easily, I am shocked I don’t make them all the time.  Everything popped into my VitaMix and that’s basically it!  I had my 19-year-old son form them into burgers for me, leaving him with green fingers, not I.  He used a 1/3 cup measure to determine the amount of mix needed for each burger, formed it into a ball and then pressed it into a burger shape and placed them on a prepared baking sheet.  I use silicone mats on my baking sheets that I found at Costco (they came in a set of 3 around Christmas time), and they have been wonderful.   Prior to the silicone mats, I lined my baking sheets with parchment paper.  I had to leave before they finished cooking so this is the photo my son sent me when he pulled them out of the oven,  he says they were surprisingly good, even though they are green.

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In some parts of the world cilantro is referred to as coriander, here in the US the leaves are cilantro and the seeds are coriander. Both cilantro and parsley have heart healthy benefits and are part of a Whole Foods plants based lifestyle.

Falafal Burgers

  • Servings: 8 burgers
  • Difficulty: easy
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A full of flavor,healthy, green burger

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup parsley packed, stems off
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, packed, stems on
  • 1/2 cup scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed, liquid reserved
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional if you are avoiding salt)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°
  2. Place garlic, parsley, cilantro and scallions in food processor and process until finely ground, you may need to scrape down the sides several times to get it to mix.
  3. Add all the other ingredients (work in batches if your processor isn’t big enough) and process into a paste.  It should stick together, making it easy to form into patties.  If its too dry add the reserved liquid from the chickpeas 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.
  4. If I have time I like to refrigerate the mixture for approximately 30 minutes, if you are short on time I have gone straight to forming into burgers and baking.
  5. Form into patties using a 1/3 cup measure as a guide. Place on prepared baking sheet (cover with parchment paper or silicone mat).
  6. Place baking sheet in the oven and let cook for 10 minutes.  Flip patties and let them cook for another 10 minutes. They should be slightly browned.
  7. Enjoy with your favorite burger sides.

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