Veggie Burgers, Hijiki and Steamed Collard Greens
For Lunch or Dinner
Veggie Burgers are a delicious way to have your whole grains satisfy both your appetite and a desire to seek nourishing vitamin and mineral rich whole foods. You can make veggie burgers from leftover grains on hand, or start by cooking up a pot of your favorite whole grain or legumes.
I made this version recently to try something different using whole wheat berries, which I first soaked overnight, then steamed, then mashed in a food processor. If this is more work than you want, I recommend using leftover brown rice, which can be mashed by hand, literally (this is a lot of fun, reminiscent of mud pie making days) then added to your other ingredients.
Vegetables such as grated carrots, chopped green beans, zucchini or cooked winter squash, chopped parsley, cilantro, basil or fenugreek greens are all delicious additons as well. You can use dried herbs or spices such as fennel, cumin seed, celery seed or dried sage, thyme or marjoram or just season with a dash of umeboshi vinegar or paste, miso or soy sauce, or use mashed vegetable leftovers such as the aforementioned cooked winter squash, potatoes or sweet potatoes, all of which make good binding along with the rice or other mashed up cooked grain. Leftover cooked seaweeds, beans, corn- all can be added.
However, I advise against using too many different things which will muddy up the taste. I recommend using only a few items, so that the flavors of each will come through. Experiment once a week, with whatever leftover grains and veggies you have on hand from dinner the night before.
Wheat Berry Vegetable Patties
Cooked Organic Wheat Berries
Chopped raw string beans
Sauteed Grated Carrots
Splash of Umeboshi Vinegar
Splash of Tamari
Chopped Dandelion Greens
Water as needed
Garbanzo bean or other bean flour for dredging
The night before, soak one cup of organic whole wheat berries* in 2 1/2 cups of fresh spring or filtered water in a glass or ceramic bowl with a dash of salt overnight (*available in health food stores. According to Rebecca Wood, hard wheat berries [soft wheat is what’s used for flour] are red or light tan in color and high in protein).
The next day, pour entire contents into a pot & cover with a tight fitting lid and bring to a boil. Stir, turn heat down to a slow simmer and cook for one hour or until tender. Let sit covered at least five or ten minutes. Put aside. (Note: if you are soaking grains in a hot kitchen, place them in a refrigerator overnight instead of on the kitchen counter)
Chop washed green beans into little rounds & put aside into the bowl of a food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, I recommend trying to use a potato masher but it may be rough going on this grain, brown rice would work much better.) Chop or grate a carrot or two and saute until just starting to sweat, so that they are still crisp. Place into bowl. Chop up any herbs you have such as parsley or dandelions if you have them, enough to give some color in the mix. Add splash of umeboshi & tamari and a few drops of water and turn processor on to mash grain up and mix everything together. You may need to add a bit more water to get it all blended, but don’t add too much, it needs to be a sticky mess and hold together. You may also need to stop the machine frequently and push the mix down the sides back to the center and start up again. Do this until you have the texture you’d like.
Then take a couple of spoonfuls, or use a 1/4 c. measuring cup to put out a rounded heap onto a plate which has some bean flour on it, just dredge the patty onto the flour on all sides, so that it helps to form a coating and hold the patty together. (if you are omitting flour from your diet, just skip this part.) Put aside. Make several at a time, then put into a preheated heavy bottom fry pan with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and pan saute on both sides, until just browned and warmed through. If you don’t want to saute/fry them, just place into a lightly oiled baking pan, and bake at 375 degrees until warmed through, and slightly browned on the outside, about 20 minutes.
These are delicious without anything on top, but of course, if you gravitate toward such things as cheese, bread and lettuce and tomato, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt. It might be even better with a touch of saurkraut, and tahini!
I served my patties with a hijiki salad, and steamed collard greens. Recipes below.
Hijiki and Carrots
Soak hijiki according to directions on package, and cook until tender/firm, also according to directions. Meanwhile, clean carrots, and slice on the diagonal then slice again so that you have thin pieces of carrot. My favorite brand of seaweed is Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, but they don’t have a hijiki, so I use Emerald Cove brand organic pacific hijiki. Then in another pan, saute carrots over medium heat, either in a good unrefined sesame oil or olive oil, or just water (with a drop of oil for flavor, if you’d like) and saute until just crisp/tender. Mix with the cooked hijiki and season with another dash of good unrefined sesame oil and a splash of either tamari (diluted by half with water) and/or umeboshi vinegar.
Steamed Collard Greens or other Hearty Winter Greens
Wash your greens thoroughly. Cut the ribs out of the center of the greens, and save for another dish if you’d like. Cut the collards, lengthwise, and fold over so that you have a pile of half fan leaves. Then turn sideways, and cut again in ribbons. Then place all of the leaves in a medium saucepan and cover 1/3 of the pile in water. Then put the heat on med-high and bring up to heat, then turn down and cook for about one to two minutes, or until bright green. This is truly fast food! The greens should be tender, but not mushy and will be delicious with nothing on them at all! Drink the liquid left in the greens after your meal if you want all those extra vitamins and minerals or add the liquid to stock.