Monday, October 17, 2011

Beet and Portabella Mushroom Burgers

My mom tells me we never had beets growing up because my dad hated them and my mom was a little nervous of the bright red/plum colored pigment. I knew I didn't like beets, pickled anyway. However, like I tell my patients, just because you don't like one vegetable cooked a certain way, doesn't mean you should write it off forever. There might come a day you actually like that particular food when the flavor is altered. I was determined to see beets differently. Although, mom, that bright pigment never goes away. That's all thanks to the beta-carotene boosters and phytonutrients in beets.

This combination was actually inspired by an episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." Typically, I'm revolted by the ooey, gooey, greasy, slimy food featured. This cook (sorry, don't remember the place) had made beet sliders that consisted of a neatly pressed grilled beet with an aioli type sauce, and served up 3 strong on slider buns with a slaw. Below is my version, but you could easily make sliders by using smaller mushrooms, and beets. The portabellas give it that nice chewy texture, while the beets are almost smooth and buttery, then mixed with the tang of the sauce, it's a winning combination. 

Beet and Portabella Mushroom Burgers

2 medium beets (4” diameter)
1 TBLS olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 medium portabella mushroom caps

4 tablespoons hummus or spreadable goat cheese
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
spinach leaves to top
2 tablespoons vegenaise
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
2-3  teaspoons lime or lemon juice

1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Cut the tops off the beets and cut into ½ inch slices.
3. Roast the beets in the preheated oven until they are easily pierced with a knife, about 50 minutes. Beets have a skin, similar to an onion, peel/cut off when cool and set aside.
4. Preheat the broiler, or maintain the 425 degrees if working with a toaster oven. Be sure to use a pan with a lip, to prevent the juices/oil from smoking and always set the oven rack to the second level from the heat when broiling.
5. Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic together in a bowl. Spread about half of this mixture over the ribbed side of the portabella mushroom caps; arrange the mushrooms on a baking sheet with the ribbed sides facing upwards.
6. Broil the mushrooms until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the mushrooms and brush the remaining olive oil mixture over the tops of the caps. Return to the oven and broil until tender, about 5 minutes more.
7. Whisk the vegenaise (or mayonnaise if using), garlic, and lime juice together in a small bowl; spread evenly over one half of the bun. Spread equal amounts of the hummus or goat cheese on one mushroom cap. On the same half, pile on the spinach, mushroom cap, and a portion of the cooked and sliced beets. Bring the two halves together to form sandwiches.

Nutrition per serving (makes 4 servings) using goat cheese (hummus will have lower fat/sodium/calorie values): 267 calories; 11g fat; 3g saturated fat; 409mg sodium; 33g carbohydrates; 6g fiber 

Thai Peanut Sauce

This is a solid, easy staple recipe if you like Thai food. The red pepper flakes can easily be adjusted to your spiciness liking. Not only do the ginger and garlic compliment each other in this recipe, but they both have a ton of immune and heart protective compounds. We don't always think about our seasonings having healthful benefits, allicin is one compound in garlic that actually helps reduce cholesterol and decrease blood vessel stiffness. 

Thai Peanut Sauce

2 teas garlic, minced
½ teas red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
½ teas ground ginger
1 TBLS Brown Sugar
4 TBLS low sodium soy sauce
4 TBLS rice wine vinegar
About 4 TBLS water (added to thin sauce out…can add more or less depending on how thick you like it)
4 TBLS crunchy peanut butter

8oz uncooked pasta of choice
Assorted vegetables of choice such as:
       1 1/2c chopped broccoli, or a package of "steam in the bag" broccoli
       1 1/2c shredded (matchstick carrots)
       1 6-8oz package of sliced mushrooms
Mix sauce ingredients in skillet pan. While flavors blending, boil about 8oz fettuccine noodles. In last few minutes of cooking noodles, add vegetables to blanch (unless cooking with other methods). Drain noodle/vegetable combination and add to sauce. Mix throughout. 

Nutrition (rounded to nearest number) per serving, makes 6 servings: 240 calories; 6g fat; 372mg sodium; 40g carbohydrates; 6g fiber; 12g protein

**Nutrition will vary slightly depending on brands/products you use. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blog Launch!

       Scouring over recipe books and blogs is my version of an entertaining novel, especially the stories at the top or the sidebars. Most of the time, I find inspiration to incorporate into my own healthy recipes or create something similar. Yes, I consider them creations, as until I started this blog, oh a few hours ago, I hardly ever measured or wrote down the quantities of the ingredients I include. That's all about to change as I have decided to share these creations in hopes for others to try them out, learn from, or leave feedback while eating a plant based diet.

       A what diet? That's right, a plant based diet. No, I'm going to try and convert you to a vegan or even vegetarian diet. That's a personal choice, and choose at your own speed! Nonetheless, there is a lot to be said about consuming a plant based diet. It's better for your heart, your blood sugars, your weight, cancer risk, and general well being. When I say plant based or vegetarian eating, I'm not talking about a veggie burger from your grocer's freezer, but real food like beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. And, most of us aren't going to eat those foods unless we know how to cook them.

      The recipes and tidbits will help you cast a wide food net, and reap the benefits while enjoying vegetarian food at it's won't even notice the meat/cheese/dairy is gone!

So, let's get cooking :)