Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eating healthy with Bean Burgers and Quinoa Nuggets.

As a child, I loved dogs and cats, well, cats came in second. Dogs ruled. 
I picked up strays and caused mayhem on the home front on regular basis. I lived in a big community of corporate apartments and many people ( lucky people) had dogs, I'd befriend them all and  offer to take their dogs for walks. The owners liked this arrangement and for the space of a few minutes, I liked to pretend  that they were my dogs! 
I've been bitten by dogs, twice. This was enough to scare the living daylights out of my Mother, who by the way, is terrified of dogs big, small or tiny. I'll tell you her story some other time! 

Now, the other day, I was coming home after dropping little S off to school and just as I was climbing the steps, a small furry little dog rushed out of nowhere, yapping. It just stood in front of me and yapped, barring tiny, sharp teeth. 
I froze.
Why? Why? I kept asking myself. The dog's Mommy came  and wiggled her (human) brows at him and waggled her finger and commanded him and the ball of fur trotted back, meekly. And I tottered home, sat down to think and from the haze emerged an answer... 
I could not risk anything, even a nip, who would take care of me? My boy? Home? Cooking? cleaning? And worst, shots? The needle scared the daylights out of me, I closed my eyes, opened them and was glad I froze. 
Later, I got to thinking, why can I not take good care of me? I mean, real care, as in care that does not make me quake when I have to go for my annual physical at the Doctors. 

Step one, good food (yes!yes! it has to start with food). And I set off on a quest. 
I remembered days when I HAD to eat a ton of protein and little else, why did I just give up on that? And so I  got searching and found something I really liked.

I made patties, again. I like patties. This time I found a variation I liked and pounced on it.  Take a look.

Adapted from : One Perfect Bite 
Ingredients: My variations are in bold

2 cups cooked Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained if canned (I used Black Eyed Peas/ Lobhia/ chawli)
1-1/2 pounds sweet onions, thinly sliced ( I used regular red onions)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided use (Canola Oil)
1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (used regular bread crumbs, reduced quantity to 1/4 cup)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Black pepper to taste (used red chili powder)


 Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large pan and saute onions until they are soft and begin to caramelize. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Place caramelized onions in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Place beans in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. Add bean mixture to bowl containing onions.

Add all remaining ingredients and combine thoroughly. Form into patties. (I used a third cup measure to make 6 patties.)

Heat remaining coconut oil in pan and cook burgers until done, flipping once. (I cooked mine over medium heat, 5 minutes per side.) Serve with avocado slices and sprouts. Yield; 6 servings.

Continuing this theme, I had Quinoa on hand. I wanted to make something super tasty and appealing with that. 
My hunt landed me on Spices and Aroma, the  stunning pictures  had me hooked. I HAD to make these!

My variations in bold
1/2 cup organic Quinoa
1/4 cup yellow split peas (toor daal)
1/4 cup Bengal gram dhal (channa daal)
5 dry red chillies (more if you want)
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 cup cilantro -chopped
1 cup onions - finely chopped
1 tablespoon garam masala
Salt to taste - about 1 or 2 teaspoon
5 cups water - to soak the grains and lentils
1 teaspoon oil to grease
Idly plates


Soak quinoa, lentils, garlic and dry red chilly in a bowl with water covering them all. Let it soak for 3-4 hours.

Drain water and grind them to a coarse paste in a food processor. Don't add any excess water. May be add 1 or 2 tablespoon of water if needed.

Add asafoetida, onions, cilantro, garam masala and salt. Mix with hand. 
I cooked the onions  and then added them to the mixture. 
I used Rajwadi  Garam masala.

Grease the idly plates with little oil (less than 1 teaspoon for the entire plate). I used mini idly plates and steamed them in a pressure cooker without whistle for 15 minutes.

For those of you who don't have a idly maker,I would suggest greasing a ramekin with oil and steaming them in a large cooking pot with water. Key is to have a bowl (preferably inverted) so you can place your ramekin on top. You don't want the water to touch your cake mixture. The inverted bowl would serve as a platform and you could cover the vessel and steam cook them for 15 minutes. 

Turn off the flame and let it settle down before you remove. 

I used the counter top oven and baked the nuggets at 350 for about 10-12 mins until they were crisp on the outside and soft inside.

Vijitha, the blog owner of the recipe has a fantastic yogurt dip to accompany these nuggets, please head over there to check it out. 

Thank You, Mary & Vijitha for the fantastic recipes and making healthy eating easier!

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  1. yummy and delicious one...liked it..

  2. Very delicious and healthy looking burger.

  3. This is such a wonderful recipe..Thanks for posting it..Bookmarked..


  4. U are tempting me to go the healthy way. I did try making doodhi koftas with oats and can say that it went well with my elder son, but younger did not like the strings in the curry. Will have to give the patties a try, this may be well appreciated in Ashland.
    Love Ash.

  5. Looks terrific! Anything formed into a patty and browned tasted good, doesn't it? Great way to fill up on things you're trying to eat more of.

  6. Looks really tempting!! Loved the healthy recipe!!

  7. So nutritious and tasty at the same time! Quite a feat actually :)

  8. That's one healthy meal, Manasi. I am a big fan of quinoa and the nuggets look amazing. That's a funny story, about the dog. BTW, you wouldn't need a shot if the dog was vaccinated for rabies-- which it would almost certainly be since it's required by law and he wasn't a stray. Next time a dog yaps at you, just keep your hands away and ignore it-- nothing mellows a dog more than being ignored.

    1. Thanks Vaishali. I guess I just flashed back to those days in India when you had to take shots in the arm. I went thru that , twice and more than the bite, I freaked over the shots.
      I will keep in mind about ' keep your hands away and ignore it'.

  9. this looking hot delicious.........loved the presentation....can feel the taste as well...hmmmm..yumyumm....

  10. I must admit I'm not a vegetarian but I had a bean burger the other night with a salsa relish and I loved it it was really delicious. So I made them for my kids and they liked it too and they didn't moan one bit which makes a change. They usually do when I try to give them healthy food.

  11. Great blog. Loved the pictures and the recipes the most.
    This meal would be a nice healthy way to eat our grains and proteins as well.
    Love such patties with a huge helping of a greens salad.

  12. Love the burger patties and nuggets and healthy twist to the burger.....

  13. First time here, came from Red Chilies blog. You have a great space. I am on a quinoa spree these days, the nuggets look so delicious and healthy, shall try.


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