Quinoa Sweet Potato Burgers

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

There’s a small, organic, all-natural food market near my house. Once you sift past the tall aisles filled with pricey protein powder and every vitamin known to mankind, you’ll find a humble food bar in the very back. They sell a range of prepared foods that are all remarkably healthy and tasty. Split pea soup, mushroom quesadillas, strawberry walnut & baby spinach salad, curried quinoa and chickpeas. I’ve tried it all. The next thing is better than the last. My go-to item on the menu is the black bean and sweet potato burger. I’m a carnivore by nature but there are days I just want to skip it. It’s one o’clock at the office and I’m craving something that satisfies, without the heavy regret that usually follows. This burger does the trick: meaty black beans and a sweet potato binder that fill you up in a really good way. You might even lose that three o’clock sugar craving.

In a similar way, this Bon Appetite recipe dubbed the “Stellar Quinoa Burger,” is a lunch game-changer! A chance to make killer meatless burgers at home? Done and done. Topped with a healthy dollop of guacamole atop a toasted english muffin, this burger is a serious rival to its beef counterpart. So much lighter and much less guilt than greasy beef. Rainbow quinoa, zucchini, mushroom and sweet potato come together in a truly colorful, wholesome way. I doubled the recipe and I’ll be enjoying happy desk lunches all week!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Yield: 4 burgers

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 portobello mushroom
  • ½ small zucchini
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (from about ½ uncooked)
  • ¾ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 English muffins, split, toasted
  • Guacamole for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prick sweet potato all over with a fork; rub with 1 Tbsp. oil, then season with salt and pepper. Roast directly on oven rack until tender, 30–45 minutes. Let cool. Remove and discard skin; mash flesh with a fork. Set aside.

  2. Remove stem from mushroom; discard. Pulse cap in a food processor until finely chopped. Coarsely grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater; gather up in a kitchen towel and squeeze out excess liquid.

  3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over low. Cook shallot and red pepper flakes, stirring often, until shallot is soft, about 2 minutes. Add mushroom and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to release their liquid but have not taken on any color, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in quinoa and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

  4. Add breadcrumbs, lemon juice, and about ¼ cup reserved mashed sweet potato to quinoa mixture and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. If mixture is too loose, add more sweet potato to bind.

  5. Divide mixture into 4 portions and form into patties, pressing firmly together with your hands. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over medium and cook 2 patties until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side; season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 2 patties.

  6. Build burgers with patties, toasted English muffins, guacamole, tomato chutney, and sprouts. Do Ahead: Patties can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine (Cafe Pasqual’s, Santa Fe, NM)

 

Warm Grains Arugula Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Nothing makes me happier than feeling satisfied and full after a good meal. I don’t mean that bloated, overly full feeling…I mean the good kind! After a meal that is full of wholesome things that keep hunger at bay. This salad is totally one of those meals. I am a huge arugula fan– even just coated in a little olive oil, it’s peppery and so tasty on it’s own. Coated in this avocado vinaigrette it’s on another level! The warm grains wilt the arugula a little, making each bite full of flavor and packed with protein. And, as I always say, throw on a couple of soft boiled eggs and you’ve got yourself a real meal.

Serves 2

Ingredients for Salad:

1 5 oz package of organic baby arugula

1/2 cup rainbow quinoa (yields about 1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa)

1/4 cup red lentils (yields about 2 cups cooked lentils)

2 eggs

1/8 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Avocado Vinaigrette:

1/2 ripe avocado

1/8 cup white wine vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

4

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

  1. Cook your quinoa to package instructions. Or, as a general guideline, rinse quinoa in a strainer for 2 minutes to get off the natural coating. If you skip rinsing, you risk getting a “soapy” flavor so make sure you rinse! Dry quinoa or toast lightly in a pan to dry. Add quinoa to small pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn down the heat to low and cover for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and leave covered for an extra 5-7 minutes. If you still see some water remaining after this time, put the pot back on low and allow it to soak up the remaining water. Season with a little salt and set aside.
  2. Cook your lentils to package instructions. Or, Add lentils to a pot with 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook covered for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how soft you want them. For salads, I like a little firmness. 10 minutes will do it. Season with a little salt and set aside.
  3. Rinse your arugula and let dry or run through a salad spinner. Set aside.
  4. For the avocado vinaigrette, combine the avocado, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth and incorporated. With the processor running, stream in the olive oil until creamy.
  5. To bring 2 eggs to a soft boil, fill a small pot with a few inches of water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to rapid simmer and gently drop in eggs. Let simmer for 5-7 minutes. 5 minutes for barely set and 7 minutes for a more set yolk. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and run under cool water for 2 minutes. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, add vinaigrette. Add arugula to bowl and stir to coat evenly. While still warm, mix in cooked quinoa and red lentils. Top with graded parmesan cheese. Peel soft boiled eggs and break open over salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!