Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers (Gluten-Free and Vegan-Friendly)

Happy Nutrition Month!

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty darn sick of this winter weather and cannot WAIT for spring to arrive!

Spring = sunshine. And warm weather. And patios. But most importantly, BARBECUING.

Need I say more?

If you’re going through BBQ withdrawal and are craving a burger, this is the perfect meatless recipe to satisfy your craving (and your waistline). I started out following a recipe from How Sweet It Is, but it ended up evolving into something a little bit different.

These burgers are hearty, a little bit spicy, and packed with superfoods like sweet potato, quinoa and coconut oil. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A and carotenoids, which help promote healthy skin and vision. Combined with the quinoa, these burgers pack a protein- and fibre-packed punch! Plus they can be easily modified to be vegan and/or gluten-free :) I wish I took some more photos of these tasty morsels, but they looked so good I just couldn’t wait to eat them.

So… while you continue to wait impatiently for spring, at least you won’t go hungry…

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers
Makes 4 patties

Ingredients:
1 medium sweet potato
½ large red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ cup cooked quinoa
¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I used gluten-free oats, pulsed in a food processor)
¼ cup parmesan cheese (use nutritional yeast for a vegan option – I used half of each)
3-4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 egg (for a vegan option, combine 1 tbsp ground flax seed with about 3 tbsp water to make a flax “egg”)
2-3 tbsp sunflower seeds (or other seeds like chia or pumpkin.. whatever you have on hand)
1 tbsp peanut satay sauce or natural peanut butter

sweet potato burger

Directions:

  1. Pierce the sweet potato a few times with a fork and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for about 5 minutes, until tender. Let cool; peel and place flesh in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a medium frying pan, heat half the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the peppers, garlic, chili flakes, and a dash of salt and pepper and stir fry until the peppers are tender. Transfer to the mixing bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well to combine, mashing the sweet potato as you go. Put in the fridge to chill for about 10-15 minutes. *Note: if the mixture seems too wet, add some more breadcrumbs. If it seems too dry, add some water 1 tbsp at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
  4. Heat the remaining coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Form the sweet potato mixture into 4 equally sized patties and fry until golden – about 4-5 minutes each side.
  5. Enjoy on a whole grain bun, or simply on a bed of organic greens topped with your favourite condiments! I just added a few slices of avocado to mine :) Happy eating!

Be Well xo

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Meatless Monday: Stuffed Butternut Squash

I’ve had a mild obsession with butternut squash lately. It’s just SO GOOD, and can be used in so many different ways! I had pinned a recipe on Pinterest a while back for stuffed acorn squash and figured why not try it with a butternut squash? I didn’t really follow a specific recipe for this. I sort of made it up as I went along, throwing a bit of this and that in whenever I saw fit. Here’s the jist of the recipe:

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

1 bottom half of a butternut squash, seeds removed – the squash should be hollowed out like a bowl so it can be easily stuffed

1/4 cup cooked quinoa (you can also substitute any other leftover grains you may have lying around, such as brown rice or bulgur)

1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup mixed vegetables, chopped (I used peppers, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms)

1 green onion, thinly sliced

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

2-3 tbsp feta cheese*, crumbled

1/2 tbsp Parmesan cheese*

*Feel free to omit the cheese to make this recipe vegan-friendly, or substitute with non-dairy cheese.

Directions:

1. Place the butternut squash, cut side down, on a baking tray lined with tinfoil. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until tender.

2. While the squash is roasting, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped vegetables and saute until softened, about 4-5 minutes. You can also add a pinch of chili flakes if you want a bit of heat.

3. Remove the frying pan from the heat. Add the quinoa, black beans, green onion, cilantro, and feta cheese to the vegetables; mix to combine.

4. Carefully turn the squash over so it looks like a bowl. Stuff the squash with the vegetable/quinoa/bean mixture; sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Place the squash back in the oven and broil for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.

5. Eat and enjoy!

This recipe was so tasty and very filling. I plan on making it again very soon!

Happy Meatless Monday :)

Be Well xo

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Quinoa Chili… And Some Highlights from California

I am so very sorry for not posting over the past several weeks! I wish I could say I’ve been hard at work, but in all honesty I was actually in California with my family for a while. My parents had been thinking about going there as we had never been to the west coast. It was quite possibly one of the best family vacations we’ve ever experienced. We landed in LA and did a lot of sight seeing, including walking down Rodeo Drive, Hollywood Blvd, and even making a quick visit to see the Grammy museum. We also were fortunate enough to get tickets to a taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and I was able to see my favourite Friends character in person – Phoebe Buffay, otherwise known as Lisa Kudrow!

After spending a few days soaking up the sun and touring the city, we tackled the drive up the coast towards San Francisco, stopping along the way to snap some photos of the setting sun.

Then we continued on towards Carmel (FYI the most adorable town I’ve ever seen) to spend the night. The next morning we did the infamous 17-mile drive to Monterey Bay, and obviously made a pit stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to see the jellies!

Afterwards we continued on to our final destination on the trip – San Francisco! We did a lot of sight seeing, which was great because the grueling hikes up San Francisco’s many hills helped make me feel better about all the tasty food I had been eating on the trip. We also rode on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Yes, you read correctly. It’s a train that takes you through some of Napa Valley’s wineries. You can kick back, relax, and enjoy a gourmet meal on the train while sipping on delicious local wine. Definitely my kind of train ride! Our final tourist destination was visiting Alcatraz. I highly recommend doing the tour if you ever have the opportunity! Just make sure you purchase tickets well in advance.

Anyways, that was an extremely brief summary of my adventures in California! If you have never been to this part of the United States, I seriously recommend going there. Personally, I would consider moving there if given the opportunity. There’s so much to do and see – the things I mentioned above only begin to scratch the surface!

Moving on.. I hope this week’s Meatless Monday recipe will help you forgive my lengthy period of silence over the past several weeks. It’s yet another gem I found on Pinterest that I was inspired to make to welcome this year’s football season. I only made half of the recipe (thank goodness), but it still made a lot! I had so much leftover that I ended up freezing half of it. I must say though that I will most definitely be making this chili again. It’s hearty, delicious, vegan-friendly, packed with fibre, and gluten-free! I’ve never had quinoa in chili before, but it’s a fantastic way to add a source of complete protein to this vegetarian meal. Enjoy!!

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Original recipe serves 10-12. Half the recipe serves about 5-6.

Click here to see the original recipe, courtesy of Two Peas & Their Pod.

 

Broccoli-Mushroom Quinoa Casserole

I promised yesterday that I would post some tasty recipes soon to make up for my lack of Meatless Monday posts over the past couple of weeks. I found this delicious recipe on Pinterest. It’s originally from the blog Living Well, Eating Thin. The recipe calls for low-sodium cream of broccoli soup, but I used mushroom instead as the grocery store did not have any low-sodium broccoli soup. I also made roasted red pepper and sweet potato soup today, but I’ll save that recipe for later in the week ;)

Enjoy!

… and Be Well xo

 

Chickpea-Quinoa-Spinach Pizza Crust

Yep, you heard right! Chickpea-quinoa-spinach pizza crust. Or more simply, vegan pizza! This beauty was inspired by something I recently pinned on Pinterest. It was a little bit time consuming to make, but SO WORTH IT – and probably one of the healthiest pizza crusts there is. Chickpeas and quinoa?? Talk about a protein/fibre-packed meal!

The original recipe for this wonderful creation can be found on the blog Hobby and More. Since I did not have chard or kale, I used spinach instead. It gave the crust a much greener, but lovely, colour. I also did not have some of the Indian spices, such as Garam masala, so I ended up using some coriander instead.

I could smell the pizza the entire time it was cooking. It was simultaneously torturous and heavenly. Unfortunately I realized just after putting the pizza into the oven that I should have taken the time to make a cilantro pesto sauce instead of using the store-bought sauce I found in the fridge. *face palm* Oh well, next time! And there will definitely be a next time for this recipe! The only thing I will warn you about is that it can be rather delicate. The edges of my pizza got nice and crispy, but the inside was a bit more soft and fell apart a bit easily. I probably could have kept it in the oven a bit longer, but I was impatient! Anyways, enjoy! :)

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