Here at Chez Knitwit, we tend to be people of the carnivore variety. (I suppose we could technically be classified as omnivores, since we do in fact eat fruits and veggies, but meat is a huge staple round these parts). Especially during the long (seemingly never-ending) winters. All winter I crave comfort foods like roasts with potatoes and gravy, and my waistline is proof of this! But as the weather improves and the temperatures rise, a girls fancy turns to lighter fare. And I actually find myself craving veggies…all the time…I just have very little experience in creating meals based around veggies rather than meat. As I said, we’re carnivores!
In fact, I was just talking to my oldest and dearest school friend the other day about this very matter. She lives in the DC area now and her epicurean experiences have been colored by a boat ton of opportunities that she and I didn’t have access to growing up, as well as a lot of world travel which has brought new culinary experiences into her repertoire. So when we were chatting, she was telling me about some Midwestern house guests who will be staying with her andher husband for the foreseeable future. “Emma,” she wails, “they eat MEAT with every meal!” My reply, “Um…and..??” I could literally hear her rolling her eyes over the phone!
So this weekend I decided I would take a page out of my veggie friends cookbook and cook an all veggie meal. We’d just see if it really was better than eating meat! Cruising the blogosphere, I came across these amazing looking recipes, for black bean burgers and spicy sweet potatoes. Black beans are a well, loved staple food in our house and sweet potatoes are typically on hand here as well, so I thought, why not!
Warning!: if you attempt these recipes, be prepared for a fair amount of prep time. It took me 2 hours start to finish, though I do blame some of that on lack of proper equipment and the fact that I’d never made either recipe before. Secondly: if you do not have a food processor or a very good blender, DO NOT attempt the black bean burgers! I do not have a food processor, but this has never been a problem as I have always been able to accomplish what I needed to with my mixer or blender. This weekend, however, my blender decided to give up the ghost…while fully loaded with black bean burger mixture. *sigh*Talk about aggrivating! But I pressed on…all the while cursing the stupidity of not owning proper kitchen appliances as well as my own stupidity for trying something new and NOT doing my prepwork in the morning but saving it for 5pm when we needed to have dinner on the table at 6:30! Let’s just say the manta being uttered in my kitchen was “This crap better be good!”
And…late as dinner was…it was a HUGE succes! O.M.G.!!!
The hubby and I both agreed that the burgers, were awesome! The clencher being the lime and cilantro mayo. These suckers were to die for! And it’s absolutely essential to have all the toppings: avocado, tomato and the mayo as well as the cotijacheese. The flavors all blend so perfectly, it was like heaven…in a fat free, low cal, meatless burger! The potatoes got …meh…maybe 3 stars from Mr. Knitwit, but they were 5 star in my book! The perfect combo of sweet and spicy and as I like any fried potato crunchy, these delivered…crispy on the outside, andsoft on the inside. Yummy!!! One note: The recipe for the burgers says it yeilds 4 burgers. I don’t know if I added too much rice or what, but those 4 burgers: ENORMOUS! One must remember that they don’t contain the fat and water that beef does and thus do not cook down! The patties were the size of my palm and at least an inch thick. I was so stuffed after eating one that I was wishing I’d stopped at half! Very filling! But so good!
So, has this recipe brought me over to the Veggie Side? I would have to say no. I know that this is a FAR healthier alternative to standard beef burgers, and it was delicious, but budget wise andtime wise, beef wins hands down. When you figure with regular hamburgers, even using 90% lean ground beef andall the fixings, I can feed my entire family in 15 minutes for around $6.00 (and use only one pan as opposed to the overflowing sinkful of dishes that were the result of this dish)–sorry veggie friends, meat wins. But having said that, this will stay on my list of wonderful treats to have when meat feels too heavy in the summer or when I have veggie friends over who would like the alternative. I did make a double batch of the burgers, and froze half of it, which will of course, make cooking the 2ndtime around much faster and easier. Oh–and this meal was NOT kid approved, but my kid is a total oddball when it comes to food, so that means very little! Your kids may love it. Especially the potatoes.
Modifications: I made very few mods to these recipes, except to eliminate the jalepenos from the burgers and the chipotle seasoning from the potatoes. We are not huge fans of either so just didn’t include them. Otherwise, I followed the recipes exactly.
Ease of burger prep: one star
Ease of potato prep: 3 stars
Quality of recipes: 4 stars each
Quality of final products: 5 stars each!
So try it for yourself, and let me know what you think!!
Sidebar as to how I found these recipes. I originally found both on this blog, which is one of 4 blogs kept by Stephanie Nielson, a wife and mother of 4 who is recovering from severe burns to her entire body which she obtained in a plane crash she was in with her husband. Her main blog is found here. If you missed her story on 20/20 last Friday, watch it here.