Veggie Burgers, FTW

Over the holiday, I made a switch from purchasing canned beans to dried. I like the fact that I’m better able to control the amount of beans I cook. They’re cheaper and I can find a greater variety of beans not in cans. There are alleged health benefits, namely lower sodium, as well. Also, I’ve read that dried beans are less likely to result in gas, and God knows everybody in my house can get on board with that. I’ve been playing with making my own veggie burgers using the base recipe from the Bittman vegan piece in the Times a couple of weeks back. Here are a few things worth noting.

First, Bittman says white beans are better than any other variety. I’ve only been working with black beans and can say that they look more “burgerish” than I can imagine white beans looking.

Second, you can really toss anything into these, and thus pass them off as being unproblematic for your child. This weekend, I made two batches. The first batch included beans, some leftover brown rice from our Madras lentil supper earlier in the week, and onion, oatmeal and some salt, pepper and chili powder. For the second batch, I got a little crazy, throwing in a few carrots with the onion, the oatmeal and curry powder. Once the cast iron skillet got hot, it was really about a half hour’s work to make both batches. I froze half, wrapped the other half in wax paper, put them in a tupperware container and have been taking them for lunch this week.

In terms of flavor, they’re nothing spectacular. I could jazz them up a bit more, I’m sure, but during the week at the office, I’m not looking for a gourmet lunch, just sustenance to see me through to the evening. Still, they have reminded me of the amazing veggie burger that I had at Cool Al’s, right around the corner from my house. They’ve got several on their menu, each with a different array of spices. And theirs are enormous, just like their meat patties are. That’s definitely a model for future burger experiments.

Unrelatedly, I’m flying solo on parenting this weekend, and I’m bound and determined to make sure that we eat well. Planning for weekend meals begins in 3, 2, 1…



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