Butternut Squash Burgers (and Fries)

burger

 

Butternut Squash Burger
• 1/2 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups)
• 1/2 can or 1/2 cup black beans
• 3 T white onion, diced
• 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
• 1 T dried chives
• 1 tsp each: thyme, garlic, sage, chili powder, pepper

1. Peel butternut squash. For these burgers, I just used the top half of a butternut squash and ended up with 7 medium-sized burgers, but you can use more or less. Cut squash into cubes and steam (I use a steamer basket) until soft.

2. In a wide, flat bowl, mash cubes with fork. Add onions and spices, then bread crumbs and continue to mash. Add black beans and lightly stir.

3. Roll into ball and flatten.

4. Sauté in vegetable oil over medium high heat. Burgers are fragile, so allow to sit for a while before flipping, checking, or manipulating. Resist the urge to constantly flip! They are finished when quite dark on both sides.

5. Serve on their own (they are delicious and don’t need dressing up) or as a meat substitute on a bun with onion, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles, other sauces… anything you like :)

French Fries

• 2 – 4 potatoes
• 1/2 cup flour
• 2 T chili powder
• 1 T pepper
• 1 T mixture of thyme, garlic, and fine sea salt
• water and oil

1. Slice edge of potato lengthwise to create a rectangle with round ends. Cut off ends. Slice lengthwise to create about 5 slices. Flip and repeat to make long, thin, squared fries. Slice the ends and edges too.

2. Immerse completely in warm water. Soak for a half hour.

3. Drain and rinse. Dry with kitchen towel, then squeeze with paper towel for complete dryness.

4. Mix flour with spices (whichever spices you like and however much you like) in a gallon-sized storage bag. Add fries, zip closed, and mix to coat completely.

5. Roast at 450 degrees for half hour.

6. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Fill a pot or saucepan with a couple inches of vegetable oil and heat over medium high.

7. When water sprinkled into the oil sizzles, it is hot enough. Add potatoes and fry for 5 – 10 minutes until crisp.

8. Season with pepper, sea salt, and spices.

Vegetarian Meatballs

meataball

These are incredibly satisfying, and, despite the lengthy list of steps, are pretty easy to prepare. The process is comparable to regular meatballs, just with more veggie cutting and less gross meat smell.

The recipe is adapted from the NYT, which specifies half hour waiting periods between stages, allowing the ingredients to cool. I adhered to this the first time, but was more casual about it the second, waiting for everything to cool rather than waiting for a full half hour. Cooking the veggies and lentils at the same time saves a lot of time, as they can cool next to one another, which is better than staggering cool times.  The final cooling step, where you put the entire mix into the fridge, might not be necessary either, but is useful as it allows time to review the recipe and clean up a but before they’re rolled.

« 400 ° // 30 – 45m per pan »

•  1 1/2  c  lentils
•  1/4 c olive oil
•  1 large onion
•  2 carrots
•  2 celery stalks
•  1 garlic clove
•  1 T thyme leaves
•  2 tsp salt
•  3 T tomato paste
•  8 oz mushrooms
•  3 eggs
•  1/2 c Parmesan cheese
•  1/2 c bread crumbs
•  1/3 c parsley
•  1/4 c mixture of basil & oregano

1.  Cook lentils: Combine with a little under 2qt water in stockpot and boil. Reduce to low and simmer 25m. When lentils are soft, drain and allow to cool.

2.  Dice onion, carrots, celery, and chop mushrooms. They will reduce in size slightly while cooking, but they will not be mashed up, and so will retain their basic size & shape of your cut. Mushrooms are most impacted by heat and so can be a bit bigger. Mince garlic.

3.  Cook vegetables: Add 1/4 c olive oil to pan and sauté onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and salt. Stir frequently until veggies begin to brown.

4. Add tomato paste and continue to sauté for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

5. Add mushrooms and stir frequently for 10 minutes.

6. Transfer to large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

7. When cool, add lentils to vegetable mix. Then add eggs, Parmesan, bread crumbs, and spices. Mix until everything seems uniformly combined. I used a wooden spoon, but feel free to use your hand and smoosh as you go.

8. Refrigerate mixture for a half hour. Preheat oven 400 degrees.

9. Coat heavy pan with thin layer of olive or vegetable oil.

10. Roll mixture into meatballs or make patties for veggie burgers. The mixture is pretty soft and delicate, and can’t really be mushed tightly like a regular meatball. If you feel they are too loose, it is possible to add more bread crumbs without impacting flavor. Either way, they will stay solid after they are fully cooked, and become even more stable when cooled.

11. Roast for 30 – 45 minutes, flipping at least once. You’ll want to use a spatula or tongs for the first flip, then just jostle them until they’re nice and golden brown.

12. Serve whole with pasta, break up for lasagna, meat sauce, or ravioli, or freeze for later use.

Leek & Bean Cassoulet

cassoulet

Cassoulet is a meat-intensive French bean dish, a stew of remainders. This adaptation from Veganomicon by Moskowitz & Romero has the spirit and comfort of chicken pot pie. (They also include a seitan pot pie recipe that looks very good)

Most of the time invested in this recipe is dedicated to prep, so it may help to dice and cube and mince everything beforehand. Its probably possible to prepare the vegetable mixture in advance, because the finished casserole keeps fantastically for days.

• 2 potatoes
• 2 leeks
• 1 1/2c carrots
• 3/4c frozen peas
• 1 small onion
• 1 [15oz] navy or white beans, drained & rinsed
• 1 T fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
• black pepper, 1/2tsp salt
• 2 cloves minced garlic
• 2T olive oil
• 3c vegetable stock
• 3T cornstarch

Biscuits:
• 3/4c plain soy milk
• 1tsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 1/2c flour
• 2tsp baking powder
• 1/4tsp salt
• 1/4c (vegan) shortening

1. Boil potatoes for 10 minutes or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from water and allow to cool.
2. Slice the leeks into thin disks and dice the onions and carrots. Over medium heat, sauté together until soft and just beginning to brown (about 10 minutes).
3. At this point, start mixing the biscuits. First, add vinegar to the soy milk and set aside to curdle. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. Add garlic, thyme, s&p to the cooking vegetables. Cut potatoes into cubes and add along with frozen peas. Add cornstarch to vegetable stock and pour over all vegetables. Raise heat slightly and allow to simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add shortening to the biscuit flour mixture. Combine with fork so there are large clumps. Add soy milk and mix until it is moistened. ‘Knead’ with fork until dough holds together nicely and isn’t extremely sticky. (More flour can be added if necessary)
6. The vegetable mixture should be slightly thickened. Add to casserole dish(es), leaving an inch or so to accomodate for biscuits. Gently roll and flatten into biscuits or fun shapes and place over mixture.
7. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes in order to slightly brown biscuits. Sprinkle with thyme and serve.