I believe that beauty starts from the inside out. The better you eat, the better you’ll feel and the prettier you’ll look. I enjoy eating healthy, simple foods, but they need to be satisfying and delicious. Sometimes eating the same piece of fish and avocado gets boring. That’s why I love Lily Kunin, founder of the NYC-based food blog blog Clean Food Dirty City. Her mission is to create simple recipes that are flavorful and never boring. They’re very photogenic, too — follow her on Instagram @cleanfooddirtycity to inspire your next meal. I’ve had Lily cater events and photoshoots for me, and have been able to turn on even the most kale-averse eaters on to healthy treats. Her recipe for mini spinach quinoa veggie burger bowls is my current addiction, so I wanted to share it here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
They say good things come in small packages right? That’s exactly how I feel about these mini veggie burgers. The classic veg burger is here to stay for summer bbqs, but it’s cooler mini-version is what your grain bowls have been missing. They’re essentially meatballs, which are making a major comeback. I don’t know if they ever really went out of style per say but they’re popping up on menus all over town, most recently spotted at Camille Becerra’s retro meets modern pop-up Cafe Henri. I had to make a veg version because veggies wanted to be part of the cool kids club too.
These little guys are so awesome because they make a big batch that you can munch on all week. They are filled with black beans and quinoa, both great sources of protein and fiber. The black beans (and spinach) are high in iron, which helps keep our body energized during these final dog days of winter. Fun fact: the vitamin C in spinach actually helps us absorb the iron in the black beans! Iron found in plants is hard to absorb than the iron found in meat, but pairing it with some good ol’ immune-boosting vitamin C helps increase the absorption. Win-win.
This bowl was my best friend last week but I also found myself having a couple mini-burgs with some avocado before I was off to a yoga class or eating them with spaghetti squash and kale pesto. You can always go the classic burger route and serve these on mini gluten free toasts with caramelized onions, tomato, and avocado, which is SO good. They keep well in the fridge and you can even freeze them as I’ve done this week. I’m traveling this week and they will be the perfect thing to pull out when I get home. Simply reheat in the oven until warmed through and dinner is ready!
MAKES ABOUT 15 MINI BURGERS
- 1 1/2 cups or 1 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 handful fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (or supergrain mix of quinoa, red quinoa, millet + buckwheat)
- 1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pasture-raised eggs
- Coconut oil or ghee
Serve with additional cooked quinoa, roasted vegetables, greens, and raw kraut!
In a large mixing bowl, mash the black beans with a fork (or a potato masher if you have one). Add the scallions, carrots, spinach, quinoa, oats, garlic, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add the eggs and stir to combine.
Pat the mixture down in the bowl using your hands and place in the fridge for an hour. Remove from the fridge and form into 2-inch burgers. If your mixture isn’t sticking together well you can give it a couple pulses in the food processor and that should do the trick. I’ve made them both ways and they both work – you will just have a slightly different texture as an end result.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ghee and heat until shimmering. Reduce the heat to medium, and working in batches place the burgers in the pan, and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and cook about 3 minutes more or until cooked through. If both sides are browned but the burgers seem too soft still, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook them in the oven for 5 – 7 additional minutes at 350F.
Serve with additional quinoa, roasted veggies, greens, fresh veggies, avocado, sauerkraut… or anything else! Add a nice drizzle of olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper to your veggies before topping with your mini burgs. Enjoy!