Being a vegetarian in the US is like being a little fish in a zoo instead of an aquarium. Yes, you do get a good box to live in. Yes, you do get some fish food thrown at you. But you also see all the big meats thrown at the other animals all around you and sometime that's not what you want to look at.
Sorry, that was just a pathetic example. This is why I should never plan to become a writer. I'll just stick to my blog.
Anyways, in the majority of the restaurants here in the US, there are just a very few dishes on the menu that are made vegetarian. And fast food places especially the burger ones are even more so. Sometimes I hear other moms telling me that eating Mc Donalds on a regular basis really is not so healthy (Newsflash). And I don't even bother to tell them that I probably have taken my daughter twice in her life (that would be the last 5 yrs and a few months) to McD's and on those occasions, I got her some chocolate milk and maybe a cookie (those are good indeed). And I got myself maybe a medium order of fries. Don't judge me now. At least I'm honest here.
We all do love the veggie patty at Subway's, the veggie burger at Counter's and a couple of other places that offer veggie burgers. But I want more. I need more. I'm needy.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands. Dangerous yes, but healthy, protein packed and filling too. Wanna see?
So, here are some moong sprouts sprouted in my own kitchen. This will be the main ingredient in today's burger recipe.
Chop all the other vegetables that you'd like to add to your burger. About 1/2 cup of each veggie to about 2 cups of moong sprouts would be a good propotion. Chop all the veggies into small pieces.
I used -
Onions, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Green Beans, 1 Potato and Corn - fresh or frozen. I used frozen corn - all the other veggies were fresh cut.
Ginger (1 inch piece) and Green chillies (about 3-4) - chopped fine
In a wide pan, add a tsp of oil. Add some cumin seeds and then add the chopped ginger and green chilli. Fry for a couple of mins.
Then, add the onions and bell peppers. Fry for a min. Don't overcook any veggies - these will be pattied up together and will soak in the sun inside the oven too.
Then add all the other chopped veggies and the moong sprouts.
Here's the fun part - I got a little creative here while adding the masalas. I added some garam masala and pav bhaji masala here and then about a tsp of sambar powder. LOL..that's the extent of my creativity. Add some salt to taste. Once the masalas are mixed together well, switch off and set the pan aside on the counter.
When the veggies have cooled down a little bit, move them to the food processor.
Pulse a few times until the veggies are mashed up a bit.
Move to a mixing bowl and then add some bread crumbs to the veggies. I toasted a couple of whole wheat bread slices and then crushed them into crumbs. Mix well and then take medium ball size of the veggie mix and roll into a ball and then flatten it.
Roast about 1 cup of sesame seeds to a light brown and place the seeds on a flat plate. Once you roll and flatten out the patty, just press it gently into the sesame seeds so that the patties get a nice coating of the seeds. Set them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Once all the patties are ready, freeze these for about 4-5 hours. That will help the patty set well. You could also just skip the whole freezing part and bake them immediately. In case you have made a lot of patties, you can freeze them to reuse later.
Then, bake them in a pre heated oven at 375 F for about 15-20 mins or until you see the seeds get a little bit more browner. And from the picture below you can see that I forgot to remove the parchment paper while baking. As soon as I put the pan in and took the picutures, I remembered - and then removed the baking sheet out and then transferred them to another sheet without the parchment paper. If not completely covered, the parchment paper will start heating up in the oven and you'll see white smoke. Not good for anything. So, please make sure you don't bake with the parchment paper.
You could also drizzle a few drops of oil directly on top of the patty if you want it a little bit more moist. They are soft even without the oil. So if you're feeling indulgent, add that oil. If its just the beginning of your big partying weekend, please skip that and go all out healthy.
Here they are - all done. You can't really see - but these are cooked good well. And they smell good too. And taste great even though its all healthy stuff! And can you believe that there are no added fats, butters or oils to the recipe - the entire batch uses probably about 1-2 tsp of oil. Now, that's calorie cutting I always welcome!
I made a quick burger with some lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Apply a thin coating of mayo if you like - I buy the fat free mayo and it works great.
I served my healthy home made veggie burger with baked sweet potato fries and some homemade mango salsa. Will blog about that mango salsa soon - you've all got to try it!
Now that's some fish food I'd like to eat in my own aquarium! What say you?
Enjoy. Peace out!