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

Tofu “Ricotta”

Tofu Ricotta

Here is a plant-based ricotta recipe that you can use in any recipe that calls for ricotta. I like to use this one in this veggie lasagna recipe – even though this tofu is not listed as one of the ingredients. (I’ll update it soon.)

I use a food processor for this recipe, but you can easily place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork.

Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package of very firm tofu, drained (No need to press out the water)
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Break up the tofu and place it into the food processor.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Pulse

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.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip is expected to be cheesy, right? That’s right, so just because this is a vegan dish made using only plants, doesn’t mean it cannot trick their tastebuds. This dish will convince others, despite there not being any cheese and no trace of nutritional yeast inside of this dish. (Nutritional yeast is the usual ingredient for plant-based recipes that provide the “cheezy” flavors.) Yet, the plant-based yogurt adds tartness and the cashews and potato add the creamy texture.

My husband loves artichokes, so he was my inspiration for trying out this dish. This recipe caught my eye as I was scrolling through some of Nisha’s YouTube (RainbowPlantLife) Videos. Nisha’s recipes have all been wonderful. I’m not a huge fan of artichokes, but this was very tasty and I look forward to making it again.

Also, be sure to check out the nutrition comparison facts below for the REAL details about how this plant-based recipe is low in calories, low in fat and is cholesterol FREE!

More Inspiration:

There are so many more ways you can use this recipe to create new dishes. See the video at the bottom of this post to see the steps and two additional ways I used this dip.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 12 to 14 ounces of artichokes (can or jar), marinated (or not)
  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened dairy-free yogurt (unsweetened coconut yogurt will make for the creamiest, but I used HEB almond yogurt the first time I made this and it was good.)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP cooking wine (Or even rice vinegar. I used a bit of both. The original recipe used distilled vinegar.)
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews (soak in warm water if not using a high-speed blender)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (may require less if using marinated artichokes)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 packed cup cooked, peeled gold potato
  • OPTIONAL: red pepper flakes, for garnish, pita chips or veggies for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and 5 TBSP (]water to a small pan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook 5 to 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. The original recipe says to add the spinach to the pan in small batches, stirring and tossing the spinach until it is well cooked and wilted before adding the next batch. Repeat until all the spinach is cooked well. This will take about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off. But, since I chopped the spinach using the pulse function of the food processor, I added all to the pan at once and stirred only a few minutes to allow it to wilt. Then I turned off the heat.
  4. The original recipe says to roughly chop the artichokes into quarters. But my artichokes were already quartered and I put them into the food processor to chop even more. This will release lots of liquid, so drain the excess. Squeeze out the excess liquid so it doesn’t end up watery. I used a fine strainer and pressed the artichokes into the strainer using the back of a spoon. Add the artichokes to the cooked spinach mixture, and set aside.
  5. Add the yogurt, vinegar/wine, cashews (soaked if necessary), salt, and pepper to a high-powered blender or food processor. Starting slowly, blend the ingredients. Add the potato also to the blender, blend on high until completely. smooth. Scrape the sides if needed, and blend once more. Pour over the spinach and artichoke mixture and stir to combine well.
  6. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, pie dish, or an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until the top looks firm and set and is bubbly. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. For a kick, add some red pepper flakes on top before serving with pita chips or veggies.

NOTES/TIPS

  • A food processor will make this an easy and quick recipe. I used one to chop and mince onions before cooking. I also used it to chop the artichokes and to chop the spinach (each chopped separately).
  • Look for organic potatoes to avoid pesticides.
  • As always, don’t forget to taste your dish prior to calling it “done” (of course, before baking it)
  • I based this recipe on the one I found at https://youtu.be/_w4YMgSROd4?t=366 (Nisha is one of my favorite vegan/plant-based YouTubers)

NUTRITION COMPARISON FACTS:

Potato Casserole

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound of hashbrowns (or shredded potatoes, see notes/tips below)
  • 8-10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (or even finely diced)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
  • dried parsley flakes (to be sprinkled on top)

Cheezy Sauce:

  • 2 cups plant-based milk
  • ½ cup raw cashews (or use 1/4 cup of cashew flour)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch**
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (or to your taste preferences)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

**Try to find a NON-GMO cornstarch

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Saute the mushrooms and onions in a bit of water/broth over medium-high heat until tender the onions become translucent and caramelized. Add water/broth as needed to prevent sticking.
  3. Combine the “cheeze” ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Taste to make sure it’s to your liking.
  4. Pour half of the blended cheese sauce into the bowl of hash browns and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Begin to add layers: “cheeze” sauce, potatoes, onions & mushrooms, chopped spinach. Make two layers and top it all off with “cheeze” sauce.
  6. I like to top with more parchment paper (but this is optional) bake for 30 minutes, and then remove the top so that it can brown and the sauce can thicken. (Or you can simply bake uncovered in the oven.)
  7. Sprinkle with dried parsley.

NOTES/TIPS

  • I think the onions are the star of this dish that adds the most flavor. I like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar to help with the caramelization of the onions. (You can use any vinegar you have for cooking.)
  • I like to salt and pepper the potatoes as I layer them.
  • Taste your “cheeze” sauce prior to using it in the dish so that you can make adjustments to suit your taste buds.
  • Look for organic potatoes to avoid added ingredients and preservatives.
  • If shredding your own potatoes, make sure to dry them well – using a kitchen towel or paper towels.
  • I’ve also used sliced potatoes to make this recipe. Use a mandoline slicer for best results
  • This recipe is originally from https://www.plantpurenation.com/blogs/recipes/breakfast-potato-casserole

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.

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato

This recipe is an example of how you can quickly assemble a satisfying meal in 15 minutes or less. If you like “Tex-Mex”, you are going to enjoy this vegan, plant-based recipe. (A video for this recipe is below.)

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato Recipe:
(Feel free to use other varieties of the ingredients listed below for onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and even the beans)

Pre-prepared:  2 Oven-baked Sweet Potatoes (or use the microwave to cook the sweet potatoes in less than 10 minutes)

Toppings To cook:
1/4 cup of chopped red onions
1/8 cup of chopped yellow bell peppers
3/4 – 1 cup baby Bella mushrooms
1 – 2 cups of black beans (pre-cooked or canned)

Additional Toppings:
Cashew Cilantro Cream Sauce
Chopped avocado
Chopped cilantro
Sriracha sauce  (At home we use this brand that is preservative-free. You can likely find it at your local grocery store.)

Directions:

  1. Add onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms to a pan over medium heat. Add 1-2 TBS of water or broth to begin the cooking process. Continue adding a little water or broth as needed to prevent the vegetables from sticking. Cook until slightly caramelized.
  2. Add the black beans to the pan with the veggies and allow them to heat up.

To Serve:

  1. Cut each baked potato in half length-wise.
  2. Add vegetable toppings
  3. Add any additional toppings that you would like.

Note: I have also added wilted Kale to this recipe. If you like Kale, you will like the addition of it in the recipe also.

 

Tex-Mex Casserole – No Cheese Needed

Do you think it would be impossible to make a casserole, a Tex-Mex Casserole without cheese? Well, let me show you how I did it for this recipe.

I chose corn tortillas to keep the recipe wheat-free (aka gluten-free).
And guess what? If you have someone that just loves cheese, they can top their serving with the cheese of their choice (…even vegan cheese 🙂

Alternative to cheese, but creamy?  Add avocado, guacamole or this cashew cilantro cream sauce.  

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (or 2 cups freshly diced)
  • 1 15 oz can of pinto beans (or 2 cups home-cooked), rinsed
  • 1 15 oz of black beans (or 2 cups of home-cooked), rinsed *
  • 1/4 bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 small onion
  • 8 ounces of your favorite salsa
  • 1 15 oz can (2 cups) of enchilada sauce (or see homemade recipe below)
  • 6 corn tortillas (or flour)
Directions:
  1. Cook onions and bell pepper.  If using ground meat add at this step too.
  2. Add other ingredients except for the enchilada sauce and tortillas, mix together.
  3. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 casserole dish. 
  4. Tear (or cut) the 2 tortillas into smaller sizes and place on the bottom of the dish.
  5. Layer 1/3 of the filling over the tortillas.
  6. Try to repeat steps 4 and 5 twice, but it doesn’t have to be that structured.
  7. Mix the enchilada sauce and thickener of choice together and pour over the casserole.
  8. Bake at 350 for about 20  – 30 minutes, until bubbly and sauce has thickened.
Homemade Enchilada Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 cup broth
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar (really almost any vinegar can be substituted here)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (or 2 Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp oregano (or even Italian herb spices)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 – 2 TBS chili powder (or TACO Seasoning works well too)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 – 2 slices of jalapenos for added flavor
  • 1 TBS of thickener (tapioca, potato starch, gluten free flour or cornstarch -organic/Non-GMO please)
Directions: Place all ingredients into blender and blend well. You can  also add a tablespoon of thickener at this point for easy mix-in.

Served topped with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!