a food blog by erin
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Burgers and Fries: Healthified

Dustin and I ate pretty badly in Jamaica. We ate a lot, and we ate bad foods. When we got back home we actually decided to stick to a (mostly) vegetarian diet for a week because 1) it's healthier and 2) to experiment more with things other than meat. The exception to our vegetarian diet came when our neighbor grilled us big, juicy steaks one evening! So you'll be seeing a few of our vegetarian friendly adventures in the kitchen over the next couple of weeks.

We decided to grill up black bean burgers and make up some french fries out of carrots for a much healthier twist on a traditional American classic meal. I've recently been reminicing about my favorite black bean sliders from Little Bigs in Houston with their Harissa cream sauce on top, so the original idea was to copy that, but I forgot to look for Harissa paste at the grocery store (I honestly wouldn't have had any idea where to look or really even how to incorporate into a sauce). Instead I added some spice to the burger mixture and made a lightly spicy sauce of roasted red pepper chopped into low fat sour cream to sit atop the patties, alongside the requisite tomato and onion. We also topped our burgers with slices of avocado instead of cheese, so we'd still get some additional creaminess and the added benefit of avocado.

Now carrot fries may sound a little weird, but they actually taste a lot like sweet potato fries for a fraction of the calories. Literally all you have to do is cut a carrot into the shape of a fry, cover them with a little bit of cooking spray, sprinkle your choice of spices, savory or sweet (I made Dustin's with salt and cumin and mine with a touch of salt and brown sugar), and bake in the oven at 425° for half an hour, flipping halfway through. While they will never replace actual French fries, even Dustin admitted the carrot fries were pretty tasty and finished every last one on his plate. This was a really great way to sneak some extra veggies into our day.

Black Bean Patties 

(makes four large patties)

  • 1 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • sprinkling of salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  1. Mash the black beans in a large bowl until mostly smooth with a few chunks of bean.
  2. Add in egg, onion, jalapeno, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper and combined.
  3. Add in the Panko bread crumbs.
  4. Form mixture into four patties and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to an hour to allow the patties to firm before grilling.
  5. Grill over medium-high heat for approximately 7-8 minutes on each side.
  6. Place on a toasted bun with tomato, onion, avocado, and spicy roasted red pepper sour cream sauce.

These patties did stick to our grill a little bit (we only refrigerated for about 15 minutes), so we'll have to work on our technique for grilling black bean burgers, but overall these were a great success. I don't think black bean burgers should be compared to beef burgers because they are so different, but respected and eaten in their own right!