The Year of the Quinoa comes with new tastes

North Penn Life - - Opinion -

So, let’s as­sume you’ve taken to the whole veg­e­tar­ian thing. lr at least a veg­giebased diet. You’ve cut the meats, added the nu­tri­ents and man­aged the over-pro­cessed meat­less op­tions.

But now you’re out to eat and crave that burger. Your eyes in­stantly go to the veg­gie burger that boasts of black beans, roasted veg­eta­bles and fancy spices. Don’t do it.

Too of­ten I’ve bit­ten into a “veg­gie” burger and dis­FRYHUHG LWs 90 SHUFHQW fiOOHUs and only 10 per­cent of those promised in­gre­di­ents. It tastes like card­board or, even worse, has the con­sis­tency of it.

By far the worst veg­gie burg­ers, though, are the ones that I sit there and pon­der “Did they get this right?” It tastes like a meat burger. There have even been times that I’ve had to ask the wait­ress if that’s what it is. They just look at me like I’m nuts. Isn’t that what a veg­gie burger is sup­posed to taste like? No. If I wanted that I’d or­der a beef burger.

So in most cases I’d rather or­der a sand­wich. Any­thing but that thing they want to call a veg­gie burger.

I must take a moment to make ex­clu­sions here. lc­casLRQDOOy, yRu wLOO fiQG D sPDOO restau­rant that knows what they’re do­ing. Th­ese restau­rants tend to be new and alternative. They pro­duce food on a smaller scale.

Th­ese veg­gie burg­ers are hand-crafted with care. They’re given at­ten­tion. They’re fresh.

Pop­u­lar types of veg­gie burg­ers at th­ese restau­rants don’t just talk about roasted veg­gies.

lften they’re cre­ated with OHQWLOs RU TuLQRD Ds WKHLU fiOOHU. BuW Ds fiOOHUs FRPH, WKHsH WwR are far from typ­i­cal card­board. Lentils and quinoa are nu­tri­tious, car­ry­ing numer­ous vi­ta­mins and min­er­als.

Both con­tain pro­teins. But let’s not for­get the im­por­tant part, both are tasty.

If you haven’t heard of quinoa, it’s a grain that has been dubbed by many nu­tri­tional and veg­e­tar­ian or­ga­ni­za­tions as the su­per food be­cause it con­tains high amounts of protein, fiEHU, B2 DQG PDQgDQHsH. ,W’s also a good source of iron and ly­sine, ac­cord­ing to Forbes mag­a­zine.

Th­ese nu­tri­ents help im­prove brain and me­tab­o­lism en­ergy, in­crease tis­sue growth and re­pair, and in­clude more an­tiox­i­dants.

nuinoa has be­come such a pop­u­lar grain, the Food and Agri­cul­tural lr­ga­ni­za­tion of the United Na­tions has named 2013 the year of the quinoa.

thile not quite as pop­u­lar, lentils are also very nu­tri­tious. In 2011 Dr. lz, a health talk show host, named red lentils as one of the best anti- ag­ing su­per foods be­cause of LWs KLgK fiEHU DQG SURWHLQ.

I just started eat­ing quinoa, so I haven’t devel­oped a good recipe for a burger yet. How­ever, af­ter three years of read­ing and ex­per­i­ment­ing, I have devel­oped a great red len­til and spinach burger. This burger was in­spired by a len­til burger from my lo­cal pub when I stud­ied abroad in Lon­don.

Luck­ily, I was able to make a great du­pli­cate be­cause they no longer serve th­ese.

Be warned though, th­ese burg­ers are very per­ish­able and only last a few days in the re­frig­er­a­tor. So this recipe makes two or three burg­ers. Red Len­til and Spinach Burg­ers 1/4 cup dried red lentils 3 tbsp. and 2 tsp. Panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup loosely chopped spinach, re­move stems 2 cloves gar­lic 1/4 cup chopped onion 1 egg pinch of cumin pinch of ground gin­ger 1/4 tsp. ground black pep­per 1/2 tsp. gar­lic pow­der Soak lentils in warm water for 30 to 45 min­utes. Stir oc­ca­sion­ally. Af­ter lentils have soaked, drain the water.

In a food pro­ces­sor add wet lentils, spinach, gar­lic, Panko bread crumbs and onion. Pulse a few times, scrap­ping the sides as needed, un­til the onion and spinach are fiQHOy FKRSSHG.

Dump mix­ture into medium size bowl. Add egg and mix well.

Add cumin, gin­ger, black pep­per and gar­lic pow­der. Mix well. If mix­ture is too wet, add more bread crumbs by the 1/2 tsp. If the mix­ture is too dry add water 1 tsp. at a time un­til it forms.

Cover a plate or cookie sheet with wax pa­per.

Take a hand­ful of mix­ture and form it into pat­ties. Place formed pat­ties onto wax pa­per-cov­ered plat­ter leav­ing a cou­ple of inches be­tween each burger. Re­frig­er­ate at least a half-hour.

Coat a pan with a thin layer of olive oil, heat­ing at a medium tem­per­a­ture. Place burger in pan and let bake on one side for ap­prox­i­mately 3 min­utes. Flip and do the same with the other side. Con­tinue this pat­tern un­til both sides are browned and hard­ened.

Al­ter­na­tively, grill th­ese burg­ers us­ing Non-Stick Reynolds trap foil. In­di­vid­u­ally wrap each burger with this foil. Any other foil will cause the burger to stick, even if coated with a non­stick liq­uid. drill 15 to 20 min­utes on low to medium flDPH.

Serve burg­ers on toasted rolls with your fa­vorite condi­ments.

Food for Thought Caitlin Burns

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