Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July & The Best Veggie Burgers

Happy 4th of July (and happy belated Canada Day) everyone!

This is the time of year when barbeque season is in full swing. It’s such a fun way to bring people together and share delicious food in the company of those you love.
While summertime barbeques are most often associated with hot dogs and hamburgers, the grill can also be used to make a variety of mouth-watering chicken or fish dishes. The trick is all in the marinade, as we mention in this recently published article on Healthy Grilling. Don’t forget about grilling fruits or veggies either. Grilled veggies make for the ideal side dish, and grilled fruit can make for the perfect dessert. If grilling fruit isn’t your thing, simply take advantage of the bounty of delicious fruits in season. No dessert looks more festive or is kinder to your body than a fruit salad.

A fruit salad from a friend's barbeque I went to last weekend.
All berries from the Santa Barbara farmer's market!

And while Lisa and I love the occasional burger when hosting a football party – yes, we’ve done this before (as in, hosted a football party) and we have no idea who played or won – we are aware that Americans tend to eat too much meat. The typical intake is actually about eight ounces a day, twice the world average.
As we’ve mentioned before, we believe in the golden nutrition rule: everything in moderation.

In fact, as an early birthday gift to myself, I pre-ordered Sharon Palmer’s upcoming book,The Plant Powered Diet. It's based on the hundreds of studies that draw us to the conclusion that a plant-based diet is in fact the healthiest. It also includes 75 original recipes which I absolutely can not wait to try.

Until the book arrives in the mail and I have chance to try those recipes, I thought I would share a veggie burger recipe that I recently made. Finding the perfect veggie burger is not an easy feat. I know because I even had to add “find the recipe for the perfect veggie burger” to my Summertime Bucket List – but this one, allowed me to cross that off the list! This recipe is a little bit labor intensive, but it's well worth it.

Best Veggie Burgers

½ cup brown lentils
½ cup barley
½ cup brown rice
2 tablespoons canola oil  
1 1/3 c carrots
¾ cup minced onion
¾  cup minced celery
2T sunflower seeds, toasted or dry roasted
1 teaspoon oregano
1 ½ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon minced thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 ½ minced garlic
2 large eggs
½ c flour
1 tablespoon canola oil

Day before serving:  Bring 4 cups water to a simmer. Add lentils, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add barley, cover, and simmer another 15 minutes. Add brown rice, simmer 20 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is cooked. Saute carrots, onion and celery in canola oil until tender, approximately 10 minutes. Add sunflower seeds, oregano, salt, pepper, thyme, basil and garlic, and sauté 1 – 2 minutes more. Combine grains and vegetables and refrigerate overnight.
Day of serving: Add eggs and flour to grain mixture and mix well. Form balls 3 – 4 inches, and flatten to ¾ inch thick. Fry 3 – 4 minutes per side in canola oil.

Enjoy, preferably with those you love.

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