Soyrizo Burgers


The only way to live to the fullest is to appreciate every moment in the present. Never regret the past, never doubt a decision in momentum, and seize every opportunity as they present themselves for your future. We are all here to learn how to rise above triviality and self-inflicted suffering. Order is a means to achieve a balance. Obviously, I’m feeling inspired after a day-long Buddhist retreat this past weekend where I basked in the glow of 2 hours of silent meditation! In writing this post I realize that cooking is my own means of meditation. And so today I share a truly simple recipe for Soyrizo Burgers that can be made in large batches and frozen. I used an egg to help them stick together but you can easily substitute 1 tablespoon of flax seed oil and 3 tablespoons of water. For the photo I actually used Upton’s soyrizo seitan which did not stick together as well as the other brands.

1 12-oz package of soyrizo (Trader Joe’s brand is our favorite)
1 can of black beans, drained
1 egg
Vegetable oil

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until beans are small pieces. Do NOT purée unless you like to eat baby food! Form 3″ patties about 1/2″ thick. Pan fry in a small amount of vegetable oil about 3 minutes per side. Serve on a whole grain bun with plenty of avocado or fresh guacamole.

BBQ Lentil Mushroom Quinoa Burger

familyOnce a year we get professional family photos taken so that we can have photos of my kids with pants ON and me wearing make-up. Inevitably the day starts with screaming, bribes of lollipops, white truths about going to a “play date” and hurriedly packing dry snacks that can’t ruin the clothes that I painstakingly scoured at Target to find that match in size 3T and 12 months. I get exactly 3 minutes to apply makeup and tell my husband to tuck in his shirt, and then I pack a bag of back-up clothes in case things go horribly wrong. Upon arrival, the kids promptly run rampant and immediately need snacks. We gather them up in arms, and after each group photo the photographer probes “Do ALL of you need to be looking at the camera?” Yes. Snap. “OK, but do ALL of you need to be smiling???” Thanks to the magic of Renee Gooch and Gooch Too Photography in Chicago, none of these behind the scene shenanigans affect the staggering images that are produced. It’s too easy to forget as parents to take pictures of yourselves WITH your kids, and not just a million photos OF your kids.

burger So why not share a messy recipe to pair with the clinically clean beauty of the photography studio?! This week I made vegan BBQ Lentil Mushroom Quinoa Burgers, once again found on Veg Kitchen with Nava Atlas. Served on a whole-grain bun, these make for a healthy lunch and actually hold together better the day AFTER you make them.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
2/3 cup quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons grilling seasonings
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425º F. Heat the oil in a medium skillet and sauté garlic and onion over medium heat until translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute another 4 minutes or until wilted, then transfer the mixture to a food processor, followed by the cooked lentils. Pulse on and off until the mixture is finely chopped, but not pureed.

In a large mixing bowl combing the remaining ingredients, then add the food processor mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Line a baking sheet with a reusable liner or parchment paper. Use 1/2-cup measuring cup to make a level scoop of the mixture then invert onto the baking pan, and then flatten into a 1/2-inch patty with the bottom of the measuring cup. Repeat with the remaining mixture. This should make 8 – 10 burgers. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip each burger, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.


Vegan Chipotle Lentil Burgers

chipotle lentil burger Asher gets a star on his chalkboard every time he has good behavior, and yesterday’s star featured the phrase “No, thanks!” underneath. We are in the process of teaching him manners, and at the end of the day when he reaches grumpy toddler zombie-exhaustion hour and pulls everything out of his art bin just to get a rise out of me, we quietly review his hard-earned stars for the day and he proudly recalls each story while pointing at the chalkboard. He gets big hugs. It works wonders.

I would like a star for today’s recipe. I can’t remember what wonderful website I found it on, but if you need to kick-up the spice level on your traditional summer veggie burger, this one’s for you! The spicy and smoky chipotle peppers work in harmony with the earthy lentils, and their smooth texture works well with any burger topping.


1 1/2 cups brown lentils, cooked in 6 cups salted water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small red onion, cut into medium dice
1/2 pound zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped (stems and leaves)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chipotles, seeds removed, with adobe sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons red vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Put lentils, 6 cups water, and a little salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. When the water boils, reduce to a low simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils well. Preheat a large, heave-bottomed nonstick pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-hugh heat. Saute the onion for about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, garlic, cilantro, and a pinch of salt, and saute for 7 to 10 minutes, until the zucchini is soft. Transfer the zucchini mixture to a food processor. Add all the other ingredients except for 1/2 cup bread crumbs and pulse until mostly smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Preheat the pan (the same one you already used to saute in is fine) over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs to the burger mixture and use a fork to thoroughly combine. Divide the burger mixture into six equal pieces. An easy way to do this is divide it in half, then divide each half into three basically equal portions. You can do that right in the mixing bowl if it’s large enough. Spray the pan with non stick cooking spray. Form the burger portions into patties and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping the burgers often, until they are nicely browned on both sides. Use cooking spray as necessary.