Let me start off by making a HUGE IMPORTANT STATEMENT:
I am not vegan. I’m not even vegetarian! I was a vegetarian for years, I was vegan for almost 2 weeks. I get how it works. I enjoyed it, I understand it, I appreciate it. I also appreciate a med-rare organic grass-fed filet mignon. I don’t think I will ever again claim to be 100% ANYTHING, much less 100% anytarian. What I will declare is that I will be mindful about every forkful that enters my mouth. I eat vegetarian about 70% of the time, vegan … um… vegan… yeah. Not so much.
BUT WHY? Why not? I loved my vegan fare at White Lotus. WHY haven’t I brought occasional vegan meals into my home? I’ll give you 3 reasons: Husband, Son 1, and Son 2. Yep. These Y-Chromes are NOT into the vegan movement and, honestly, I can’t blame them. Prior to having had my AMAZING vegan experience in Santa Barbara, I would never have attempted it or thought about it. I might occasionally get a vegan meal at my favorite restaurant, but it wouldn’t be intentionally vegan. I’d have eaten it because it looked good and the vegan thing would have been the, ahem, gravy. Still, there are days … there are days when I kind of go “off script.”
I got a wild hair up my ass last night. I decided to try to make my most famous bean burgers not only vegan, but gluten free to boot! What can I say, I’m unpredictable. I usually make Linda McCartney’s white kidney bean (canellinni bean) burgers which include eggs and bread crumbs and cheese and almost NO vegetables. Hmmm. Over the years, I have tweaked her recipe a bit to include brown rice, portabella mushrooms, green chilis. It’s a basic recipe that CRIES OUT for improvisation. Feeling creative, this is what I did last night:
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 baby bellas (or 1 large portabella) mushroom, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 stalks kale, washed, ribs removed, chopped
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained OR 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
3/4 c cooked Forbidden Rice (optional — I recommend you use it, though, if you can find it.)
Cumin, chili powder, ground mustard, salt & pepper to taste.
1 cup organic brown rice flour (I used my coffee grinder. I ground a piece of bread first to soak up the coffee oils. Then I ground a cup of organic uncooked brown rice to make the flour.)
Heat some olive oil in a pan and sautee all veggies, covered, until soft over med heat for about 5-7 minutes. Add cumin after about 3 minutes.
In a food processor, mix veg mixture and chickpeas until semi-smooth (this is a texture preference, so do what makes you happy.)
Transfer blended mixture to bowl, add forbidden rice, chili powder, salt, pepper, and any other seasoning you’d like and mix well.
Fold in rice flour.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
After chilled, form 4 equal patties out of mixture. Fry in olive oil on Med-High heat until golden brown on both sides.
As it sits right now, it’s vegan and gluten free. I added nothing but hot sauce over the top and was happy as a clam. My Y-Chromes, however, chose to add cheese, ketchup, mustard, and serve on toasted buns. Whatever. Point being, THEY LOVED IT. And, I feel it’s important to repeat, THIS INCLUDES KALE!!!
Have fun, eat well.