Protein Packed Zucchini Black Bean Burgers

zucchini black bean burgers

Whenever I encourage my clients to eat more plant based foods, the most popular response is, “but what about the protein?” That’s where awesomely magical ingredients like chia seeds come in handy. Nature’s miraculous formula of essential fatty acids, protein, and fiber give chia seeds the unique ability to act like a binder similar to an egg, helping to hold these burgers together, while also provide a complete protein, in addition to the protein found in the beans and the zucchini. When a plant provides a complete protein, it means it delivers all the essential amino acids that your body can’t produce and therefore need to be consumed in meals. So, whip up a batch of these babies and take them on your next summer picnic!

chia infused zucchini black bean burgers

2 cups grated zucchini
2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. grated onion
6 tbsp. partially ground chia seeds
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2- 1 tsp. salt (depending on your taste) Read More


Hazelnut Pesto for Lazy Afternoons

hazelnut pesto

Basil, basil, and more basil! When a basil plant decides to take hold it really pumps it out. So, I schedule a few minutes each day to go out and cut the flowering basil tops, to keep the plant going all summer long. Which winds me up with a lot of extra basil hanging around the kitchen. Here is a great sweet-meets-savory idea for a lazy afternoon salad, with vegan hazelnut pesto as the star of the show. You can also do a non vegan version of this by using parmesan or another hard aged cheese in place of the nutritional yeast. Enjoy!

vegan hazelnut pesto with mango & avocado slices

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 fresh mango, split, peeled and cut into slices
1 fresh avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into slices Read More


Red Lentil Pasta Salad for Healthy Sunny Days

red lentil pasta

I am enjoying the new red lentil pasta varieties that have been popping up at the store. If you are going to have pasta, these are a good way to go, with just lentils, quinoa and water as ingredients, and packed with protein and other nutrients.

This recipe is a cold salad twist on linguine with tomato, basil & garlic. And it takes the nutrition density even a step further by eliminating the refined oil and instead getting it from whole foods like avocado. You can add other veggies to the asparagus or eliminate the asparagus for a more traditional version of a tomato, basil, garlic “TBG” pasta salad.

oil free red lentil pasta salad t.b.g.a.

1 box Pow red lentil linguine (8 oz.)
2 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 cups), cut into 1/4 inch pieces, seeds and juice included
2-3 cloves garlic (depending on how much garlic you like)
1/4 cup fresh julienned basil
1 fresh lime, juiced
1 avocado, diced
3 tbsp. hulled hemp hearts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast Read More


Spaghetti Squash Burger Fix

We have a bunch of volunteer spaghetti squash growing out of our compost pile. It is relentlessly giving us more spaghetti squash than we would normally eat. So, I am exploring its various wonderful (and not so wonderful) uses. These patties are kind of a cross between falafel and a veggie burger, with some global spice infusion. They hold together well, so they can be enjoyed on a bun or just stand alone as a vegan entree or side dish.

spaghetti squash-quinoa falafel burgers

2 cups cooked spaghetti squash
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 can (1 3/4  cups) mashed chickpeas
2 chia eggs (or regular eggs)
1/4 cup sprouted oat flour
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. garam masala Read More


Black Bean Rotini Salad

I thought I would squeeze in a 4th of July recipe this morning! Here is a gluten free pasta salad that is packed with summertime garden goodness, contains all the comfort and zesty flavors of the holiday, but won’t leave your body starving for awesome nutrition. I named it “L.A. Summer” because it contains all the stuff that you might find growing in one of L.A.’s back yards or urban farms, like nopales, cucumber, tomatoes, and peppers, and it has some hints of Mexico and the Southwest in it’s flavor profile, two prominent cuisines in the area. Enjoy, and happy Independence Day!

L.A. summer black bean rotini salad

1/ 12-oz. bag of black bean rotini pasta
2 average sized vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1 Japanese or equivalent cucumber, scored and diced
2 cups Prepared Nopalitos
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 ears of corn, not yet shucked
1/c cup loosely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup hulled hempseed Read More


Robata Eggplant Tacos

The Japanese eggplant is going nuts in my garden right now. I have enjoyed Japanese eggplant many different ways. This time, I wanted figure out a way to keep it intact, because the shape is so cool and versatile, while trying something entirely new and different from my typical eggplant concoctions. Robata is a Japanese method of cooking long pieces of food on an open flame, on big skewers. Traditionally, the skewers are placed around the fire by sticking them directly into the sand or earth that surrounds the fire.You don’t have to go to the trouble of building a fire to enjoy something similar. You can grill the eggplant, or just cook it on a stovetop griddle if you don’t have a lot of time. In fact, modern robata restaurants use a charcoal grill, not an open pit fire. The charred eggplant, combined with the slightly spicy miso slaw make for an awesome fusion taco. The sprouted corn tortilla is superior for nutrition and it has a homemade tortilla kind of texture and flavor. I loved the way this came out and will definitely make this a regular.

robata eggplant tacos with miso-sesame coleslaw

for the coleslaw:
2 cups finely shredded cabbage (I used red cabbage), about 1/8-1/4 head of cabbage
2/3 cups grated radish, about 4 or 5 radishes
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
juice of one lime
1tsp. chile garlic sauce or paste
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. miso paste Read More


A Welcome Hug for Figs

Warning: Fig season is here! Which means that I may post more than one recipe with figs over the next week or two. Since figs are one of those fruits that you simply can’t find when they’re out of season, just enjoy and soak it up while you can! I’ll start with this easy mid-week salad that can practically serve as a weeknight meal, a lunch, or a side dish with something off the back yard grill. These figs were given to me by my neighbor, artist Bill Wheeler. The roasted yams and onions seem to give the figs and kale a nice caramelized hug…yes I said hug!! You can even roast the yams on your barbecue if you want, for some extra smoky flavor.

roasted yam salad with kale & figs

2 medium yams, cut into salad sized cubes (peeling optional, I don’t peel mine)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cups fresh kale, julienned very fine
8-10 fresh figs, cut into quarters or eighths
Chia seeds for garnish (optional)
DRESSING:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar Read More


spiced-up grilling simplicity

I love cooking outdoors! One of the highlights of my summer has always been firing up my electric smoker, or using my Texas barrel as a “wood oven.” I have cooked just about everything imaginable outdoors, from pizza to smoked peaches. Grilling, smoking, and barbecuing doesn’t have to be reserved for meat. There are a lot of plant foods that do extremely well on the grill. This recipe for grilled eggplant is my favorite way to just grab an eggplant from my garden and quickly turn it into a featured grill item. If you can mix a few spices together, you can easily prepare this dish. The buttery flavor from the natural oils of the roasted eggplant along with tomato and the tahini is heaven when eaten! You can even prepare this on your stovetop griddle or in a grill pan.

moroccan spiced eggplant & tomato with tahini

Serves 2-4
2 large Japanese eggplant
2 tomatoes
Olive oil for brushing
Prepared tahini
Salt to taste
Moroccan Spice:
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. coriander Read More