Plant-Based Burgers

plant based burger

These plant-based burgers are not meant to mimic a meat-based burger, but they do make a delicious and satisfying alternative between two slices of bread (or lettuce). Plant-based burgers can be made using a variety of ingredients. Below is a template that you can follow to create your own one-of-a-kind burger patty. I think the must-haves include onions, bell peppers, garlic, and mushrooms. But whatever you create, don’t forget the most important part – the seasonings! Your favorite spices can be added for the best flavor to fit your own taste buds.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms, lightly sautéedThis can be any combination that you choose up to about 1/2 cup of ingredients. I think these three make a great base of flavorings for any combination of burger mix you choose.
  • 1 cup of cooked grains – It’s best that the cooked grains are dry and separate, not mushy.
  • 1 1/2 cup of beans – Any bean of your choice or any mixture of beans up to 1 1/2 cups.
  • 1/4 to 1 cup of additional vegetables, finely chopped – I suggest cooking the harder veggies such as root vegetables, but the remaining (such as leafy greens) can be added when raw.
  • Choose 1 binding ingredient your binding ingredient to help hold the mixture together: 1 flax egg, 1 chia egg, or 1 tsp of psyllium husk powder (or 1 TBS psyllium husks)
  • Additional flavorings: Salt, pepper, and any of your favorite spices. Don’t be afraid of adding flavor!

Directions/Notes:

  1. Lightly sauté the bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms in water to avoid added oils.
  2. If using harder additional veggies such as carrots, or beets, it’s perfectly fine to cook those too.
  3. Puree or mash beans, leaving a bit chunky will be good for the texture.
  4. Remember to finely chop any raw vegetables that you intend to add to the mix.
  5. Adding grains will create a firmer texture, but the grains are not necessary. If you decide to omit grains, you may need to cook the burger a bit longer on lower heat. If your burger is not holding together without the grains, add more beans, or be sure to use psyllium husk/powder.
  6. If using a flax or chia egg, prepare this in a bowl. When the “egg” is ready add all the other ingredients and form it into a patty. If using psyllium husk/powder, add the psyllium along with all the other ingredients and mix well.
  7. You can cook the burger patties on a stovetop (a low heat setting is recommended). Or you can place it in the oven between 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the desired firmness is reached. (The goal is to dry out and firm up the burger patties while they are cooking.)

Create a G-BOMB meal by including these burger ingredients: Leafy greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, flaxseeds/chia seeds. For dessert, add a berry sorbet and you have covered all of the G-BOMB requirements.

Plant-Based Burger Template: Click here to download/print.

Chocolate Shake (or Frappuccino)

Chocolate Shake (Frappe)

Here is a treat that’s good for your health. A real food, chocolate shake that’s made using whole, plant-based ingredients, and no refined sugars. Just last week in Podcast Episode 27, Patryce and I were talking about ways to create a healthy relationship with food, and during the podcast, I started the discussion about how to create a healthy shake.

Here is what I came up with after looking around online a bit. I found that many recipes use Dandy Blend Herbal Tea mix in many frappuccino-like drinks that usually contain coffee. And guess what? I just happen to have some on-hand.

I used to make an icecream/coffee drink way before I ever became aware of Star Bucks. Yet, by the time I because aware, I was no longer consuming what they put into their drinks. I have to admit, that I’ve never been a Star Bucks fan (too much dairy and sugar and coffee – coffee makes me very nervous/shaky).

But hey, here is one “shake” that I can handle. Since I couldn’t decide between the flavor of coffee or chocolate, I decided to have them both. But, of course, you can make this your own by choosing one or the other if you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of plant-based milk
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats (Added this particular ingredient because of Chef AJ)
  • 1/2 tsp of flax seeds & 1/2 tsp of chia seeds (or 1 tsp of either)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3-5 drops of Stevia (vanilla flavor) or 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 TBS Dandy Blend Herbal Tea
  • 1 TBS Cacao Powder (or 100% Cocoa Powder)
  • 2 – 3 Mejool dates (or 5/6 Deglet dates)
  • 2 frozen, ripe bananas
  • 1 cup of ice (optional, makes more like a frappuccino)

Directions:

  1. First, I like to blend everything together except for the bananas and ice.
  2. Then once thoroughly blended and smooth, I add the frozen bananas and ice.

Notes:

  1. Using coconut milk/cream will add more calories and fat to this recipe and create a very “rich” shake
  2. The flax seeds and chia seeds add fiber and omega 3s
  3. You can also simply use 2 TB Dandy Blend Herbal Tea or 2 TBS Cacao Powder
  4. Medjool dates have a caramel flavor which I don’t think the deglet date has, but usually, they are a bit smaller so I suggest using a bit extra Deglet dates if those are what you have on-hand.
  5. Instead of using ice, you can freeze some of the plant-based milk in ice cube trays for a bit “stronger” flavored drink.
  6. Uncle Bill D, You can add greens to this shake too. A handful of spinach will be undetectable. (Smile.)

ENJOY! — Shonda

Mixed Berry Sorbet

Cool and refreshing! A nice whole food, plant-based dessert which avoids refined sugars and contains fiber.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of mixed frozen berries
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 fresh, ripe Altaufo mango (peel and remove the seed)

Directions:

  1. Blend in a high-speed blender (using the tamper) and enjoy!

Notes:

  1. You might substitute a regular mango or fresh peaches.
  2. You may need to add 1/4 cup of liquid (plant-based milk or juice or water) if the fresh mango isn’t very ripe/soft.
  3. You can even hide red beets in this recipe.  Try a bit at a time for a “punch” of extra nutrients.

Warm Cinnamon Apple and Almond Butter Smoothie

Cinnamon Apple Almond Smoothie

Cinnamon apples are definitely a fall delight for the tastebuds. So this warm smoothie hits the spot from fall throughout the winter months.

This one takes a little extra prep work to prepare it just like I prefer it. Even though I use a Vitamix blender, I like to do a bit of the cooking on the stovetop. This is because I like to use banana as a sweetener, but I don’t want to blend a banana in the Vitamix until it becomes steamy. If you do not have a Vitamix (or blender that can handle hot liquids), blend the ingredients first and then warm them on the stovetop.

I hope this smoothies provides a great start to your day. Enjoy!

Tips: Using frozen bananas, you can also use these same ingredients to make a cold smoothie.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 – 2 bananas, room temperature – unless you want a cold smoothie (or another sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (or 1/2 cup fresh apples that have been stewed on the stovetop using water)
  • 1 cup of water or use plant-based milk for extra creaminess
  • 1 – 2 TBS Almond Butter
  • Dash of cinnamon spice (or any winter spice you like or a combination of more than one)
  • 1 cup of spinach (optional) – I just like to get leafy greens in any way that I can and spinach is hardly noticeable.
  • 1/2 avocado (optional) – Definitely add avocado if you do not use bananas. This will help to thicken the smoothie. If using avocado, I suggest skipping the spinach or the smoothie will be very green.

DIRECTIONS (For a warm smoothie):

  1. Warm the applesauce (apples) and water (or plant-based milk) on the stovetop until you reach a desirable temperature.
  2. Add the warm ingredients to the Vitamix and blend with the remaining ingredients.

Vegan Cheese Sauce – Upgraded!

CheezeVitaMix

Have you ever heard of “cheese” sauce that is made with “oats”? Here are three reasons why this is a winner in my book:

1 – Much cheaper than cashews (which was the nut of choice for making “cheeze” sauce).

2 – Extremely low-fat. About 1.5 grams for the entire 6 cups!  By today’s standards, that’s really “no-fat”, but we know that all food groups contain some amount of fat, even fruits.

3. It’s delicious!

This is definitely my new “goto”, UPGRADED “cheese” sauce. I am updating this recipe to reflect the additions that I made to the original recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules (or 1 roasted garlic clove – my addition)
  •  2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (my addition)
  • 1 12-oz. jar Roasted Red Bell Peppers in water for the lowest fat possible
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pecan or Apple liquid smoke (optional, I didn’t use this)
  • 4 cups warm water

Note: Make sure to cook the cheese sauce until it’s steamy to create the thickest sauce.

Tip to make this more TEX-MEX: The first time I made this I substituted salsa for some of the roasted red bell peppers. Or you can simply add to the “cheese” sauce once done.

Directions:

  1. Dump all the ingredients into a high-speed blender (that can cook contents).
  2. Blend until steam forms and the machine will sound like it has completed the job. (The sound changes from blending to like it’s just spinning its wheels). This takes about 5 minutes depending on how warm/hot the water is that you start with.
  3. Voila! You are done. Pour into a bowl or jar that you can easily scoop out of. It will thicken even more as it cools.

I used this “cheese” sauce in a Tex-Mex casserole. (See the recipe.)

CheezeyCasserole

I’m not sure how I came across “Jill’s 5-minute Game Changer [Vegan] Cheese Sauce “! I had my doubts for sure, but in her video, she was so confident that I had to give it a try and boy am I glad I did. My video shows TEX-MEX varieties. Adding salsa truly makes this a game-changer cheese sauce.

Cucumber Caesar Salad Dressing

Cucumber Caesar Salad

I made the dressing not knowing what I would use for the salad ingredients, but I’m happy that I found this Cucumber Caesar Salad Dressing combination and I wanted to share it with you right away.

I decided to try this dressing because my daughter likes Caesar salad dressings.

And I enjoy cucumbers, especially when I can find really great tasting ones. That usually means a trip to the Farmers Market though. Yet, sometimes I find that the mini packaged cucumbers taste good too. Yet, the best cucumbers I’ve ever had were those that I grew in my own garden. I wish you the best in finding some good cucumbers for this salad.

Caesar Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/8 cup raw pine nuts, or raw sesame seeds (I didn’t have either, so I used tahini paste.)
  • 3 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp miso paste (I used a mellow white. See note* below.)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp kelp granules (I used powdered kelp.)
  • 1 tsp honey, or liquid sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 cup of water (I added more for a thinner version.)
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil, optional (Omit for oil-free version).

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small food processor or in a blender until smooth.

*Note about miso paste: If miso paste is kept in the freezer it will last for at least a year. It never freezes solid, so it’s easy to measure out what you need as you need it.

Cucumber Caesar Salad

SERVE:  I served over a salad of sliced cucumbers, split cherry tomatoes and chopped celery. I will definitely make this Cucumber Caesar Salad again in the near future (like tomorrow).

It is so YUMMY! It’s quick and easy. I hope you will try it soon.

Click for more salad dressing recipes.

Watch Creamy Cumin Ranch Oil-Free Salad Dressing and a Vegan Tex-Mex Salad on YouTube.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

This dressing has a tangy, burst of flavor. The cashews give it a creamy texture. I used the Vitamix which made it quick and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of filtered water
  • 1 -2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1 -2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup cashews (soaked is preferable)
  • splash of lemon juice (optional, adds more “tang”)
  • dried herbs of your choice (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients except for the dried herbs to a blender and blend.
  2. Add dried herbs if using them.

Other Suggestions:

  1. Use fresh herbs in place of dried herbs. Basil is a nice addition. (Add once blended just to chop a bit, but not to puree the fresh herbs.)
  2. Use 1/8 cup balsamic and 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar.

Not-So Cheese Sauce

I have been sharing this cheese sauce for about 6 years now. I always make it when we are having Tex-Mex food or having a pot-luck type dinner with friends. Everyone is always amazed at how great it tastes. Pairs wonderfully with crunchy tortilla chips. I don’t miss cheese at all. (Side note: I quit cheese about 8 years ago and haven’t had a cold, the flu or even seasonal allergies ever since then. Loving it!)

The original recipe (and also, the name I believe) comes from Vitamix, but I’ve made a few adjustments. I have tried recipes that use steamed potatoes (in place of potato starch) and carrots and even onions, but this one is my favorite. Here is my go-to recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ TBS lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pimentos , canned or jar OR use 1 roasted red pepper, peeled (of course, you can roast a red pepper over an open flame or broil in the oven)
  • ½ cup raw cashews (or almonds)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 2 TBS potato starch (or tapioca starch) mixed with 1/4 cup cold water

Optional Add-ins: Taco seasoning, salsa, jalapenos, etc.

Notes prior to getting started:

1 – I suggest soaking the cashews and definitely the almonds if you do not think that your blender can thoroughly blend the nuts without leaving crunchy bits in the mixture. I always remove the brown hull/skin when using almonds, or I buy them already removed (blanched almonds).

2 – As an alternative to raw cashews and raw almonds, you could try raw nut nutters. ( I haven’t personally tried this option, just a suggestion.

3 – I have been successful with substituting almond flour in place of using almonds and substituting cashew flour in place of cashews – in both instances, I was satisfied with the outcome.

4 – I sometimes substitute green chiles for pimentos. This allows the cheese sauce to appear more creamy white instead of being tinted red by the pimentos.

Vitamix Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients except for the boiling water and potato starch mixture into the Vitamix.
  2. Set machine to 1, turn on quickly increasing speed to 10, and then to High.
  3. Blend for 3 – 7 minutes until steam forms and you can see it coming from the lid’s vent.
  4. Meanwhile, boil water on the stove-top
  5. Reduce speed to 7, remove plastic plug from the lid and add boiling water and potato starch mixture.
  6. Continue to blend until thickened, usually no longer than 1 minute.

Blender Plus Stove-top Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients except for the boiling water and potato starch mixture into the blender.
  2. Meanwhile, boil water on the stove-top in a saucepan
  3. Once you have a well-blended “cheese” mixture, add it to the saucepan along with the boiling water, bring back to almost boiling temperature.
  4. Reduce the heat under the saucepan and slowly pour in the potato starch mixture while continuing to stir until thickened.

I also invite you to try this “cheeze” sauce which uses oats instead of cashews.

Creamy Cumin Ranch Dressing

I finally got around to making this salad dressing and I’m happy that I did. I added to a Tex-Mex salad and…..YES! Yummy!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews (soak 1 – 2 hours if you do not have a high-speed blender)
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 TBS)
  • 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp snipped chives (or the top green part of green onions)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender for a very smooth dressing.

Note: This dressing recipe contains 50-70 calories per TBS. (50 calories if you only use 1/2 cup cashews)

Cashew Cilantro Cream Sauce

I had just bought a new bunch of cilantro and I removed all the stalks and leaves that were loose because I didn’t want them to go “bad” at the bottom of the jar. (This is how I keep my herbs fresh in the fridge.) So I was left with a bunch that I wanted to use up in a hurry. I decided to make an alternative to the cheese topping for the variety of plant-based tacos that I eat very often – so I searched the internet looking for a cilantro sauce. This was the first to appear. I found it at The Baking Fairy’s website (see below), but here is my recipe. I think next time I will definitely try fresh garlic (1/2 to 1 clove) and fresh onions (1/8 inch slice), yet this recipe is still a good one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 1/4 cup cashew milk (or any unsweetened nut milk, I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup or more of cilantro (packed tightly)
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 1/2 jalapeno (I only had jalapeno juice from my homemade pickled jalapeno peppers)
  • 3/8 – 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/8 – 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 3/8 – 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • a little pepper is also a nice addition
Directions:
  1. Add all ingredients except for the nut milk to a blender and blend.
  2. Add nut milk as needed until you get to your desired consistency.
The original recipe for this sauce was found at https://www.thebakingfairy.net/2017/05/sofritas-tacos-cashew-cream/.