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

Rosemary Quinoa, Bean & Butternut Squash Stew

Happy Holidays!

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the holiday season, staying warm, and eating lots of tasty treats!

“Santa” was kind enough to bring me a juicer for Christmas! I took some time today to test it out and made some green juice (kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon, and green apple), then froze the leftover pulp in an ice cube tray so I can easily throw them into green smoothies. I can’t wait to try making fresh orange juice :)

Green Juice

I had so much fun with it that I wanted to make something else, so I decided to try juicing some veggies to create broth for soup. From there I improvised, throwing whatever I had lying around the kitchen into the pot, until I ended up with this delicious stew! It’s the perfect meal to sit back and relax with after a busy week of holiday celebrations :) It’s also vegan and gluten-free!

Rosemary Quinoa, Bean & Butternut Squash Stew

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

Vegetable Juice
1 tomato
1 small onion
1 red pepper, de-seeded
2 carrots
1 stalk of celery

Stew
Vegetable juice & pulp
500 mL no-salt-added vegetable broth
2 cups chopped butternut squash
1/2 cup quinoa
1 can white cannellini beans
1-2 handfuls each of kale and spinach
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp garlic powder
A couple of pinches of dried sage
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. To make the vegetable juice, put the tomato, onion, pepper, carrots, and celery through a juicer. Pour the juice and pulp into a large stock pot. Add the vegetable broth, squash, quinoa, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and squash is tender. You may need to add some more water as you go, if necessary.

2. Add the beans, kale, and spinach and simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in large bowls and enjoy!

Rosemary Quinoa, Bean & Butternut Squash Stew

Be Well xo

Spaghetti Squash & Spicy Black Bean “Meat”balls

Check out the guest blog I did for the University Health Network earlier today:

Here’s a tasty, and not to mention healthy, twist on a classic Italian dish! If you’re in the mood for pasta but want to aviod eating something starchy, you can try opting for spaghetti squash instead. This lighter, low-calorie substitute amounts to approximately 42 calories per cup and contains several essential nutrients, such as vitamins A, C and B6.

Of course, spaghetti is not spaghetti unless it’s served with meatballs! Being a vegetarian, I decided to try making meat-free meatballs for the first time. I found a simple recipe online and made a few small modifications of my own. I have to admit I was a bit worried that the meatballs wouldn’t stick together well and would just end up crumbling, but this recipe worked out fantastically! The meatballs were firm on the outside and slightly soft on the inside. The added pinch of red pepper flakes gave them a bit of a kick as well.  

With a few minor modifications, this recipe can also be vegan-friendly. Regardless of your dietary preferences, this dish is sure to please your palate :) Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash & Spicy Black Bean “Meat”balls

Makes about 12 “meat”balls (each roughly the size of a golfball). Serves 2-4.

Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half length-wise, seeds scooped out
1 can no-salt added black beans
1 egg (vegan substitute: 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)
1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (vegan substitute: try this vegan-friendly worchestershire sauce recipe)
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (vegan substitute: nutritional yeast)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion power
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Cooking spray
1.5 cups of your favourite low-sodium pasta sauce

spaghettisquash1

Directions:
1. Place the squash, cut side down, in a large pot filled with a couple of inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Allow the squash some time to cool, then scrape a fork across the flesh to separate the strands. Season with a bit of pepper, sea salt, or herbs such as basil and oregano.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
3. Pour the beans into a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher until almost smooth. Mix in the egg, breadcrumbs, worchestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, and seasonings with a fork.
4. Use a tablespoon measure or spoon to form meatball-sized portions, using your hands to roll them into ball shapes.
5. Arrange on the baking sheet, spray with a bit more cooking spray (this will help them develop a bit of a crisp on the outside), and bake for about 20 minutes.
6. Divide the spaghetti squash into bowls. Combine the “meat”balls and pasta sauce in a sauce pan and gently stir until heated through. Divide the warm “meat”balls and sauce over the spaghetti squash. Garnish with some parmesan cheese or freshly chopped basil. Dig in!

spaghettisquash2

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