Bistro Beet Burgers

Changing seasons and jobs in collaboration with holidays, graduations and friendly get-togethers have me off schedule with the blog.  I’m trying to get back on track with my weekly posts; I’ll start back with this somewhat belated write-up of my latest Isa Does It recipe pick, Bistro Beet Burgers.  The recipe in full has also been posted on Isa’s Post Punk Kitchen website.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a bit then you’ll know I really don’t like beets.  Or I thought I didn’t until I fell in love with Fat Free Vegan Susan Voison’s beet balls.  I had tried roasted beets, beet chips, and all the other preparations beet lovers insist are awesome…they taste like dirt to me.  Not a fan.  However, in searching for a whole food meatball I happened upon the beet ball and now I recognize the need for beets in my life – as beet balls.

Back to Bistro Beet Burgers.  I had made my beloved beet balls and had a few beets left in the bunch.  Normally, this just means more beet balls, but I’d eyed the Beet Burger recipe a few times and thought it was time to give it a go.  I typically choose golden beets when I can find them because they are cleaner to work with and the finished product is a more visually appealing to me.

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Once the beets are shredded in the food processor, it’s pretty much everyone in the bowl.  The base of the recipe is lentils, brown rice, bread crumbs with thyme, fennel and mustard to season and beets and almond butter to bring everything together.

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Even after chilling the mixture for 30 minutes I found it difficult to form into patties.  I had made the rice the day before to save myself some prep time and wondered if that may be the issue but I’ve seen others comment on the mixture being crumbly.  I found wetting my hands as I tried to shape the patties helped somewhat.

These were quite good.  They definitely have a distinctive flavor from the beet and fennel but even I didn’t register dirt.  The texture once cooked is nice and firm, which is often difficult to achieve in whole food plant based burgers.  I enjoyed them and ate them leftover  a number of days but with all my burger options these likely won’t be my go-to.  So far the Falafel Burgers are my favorite Isa Chandra burger.  That said, for a change of pace and to use up my golden beets, I’d definitely make them again.

IMG_6117Give beets a chance!

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TShirt from Engine 2

Isa Does It Recipe: 16

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Engine 2 Retreat Portland – Dance Party

The Engine 2 Retreat was in Portland, Oregon last weekend; a friend and I decided to make the trip from Philly because it seemed as good a reason as any for a long weekend in the Pacific Northwest.  The Retreat was wonderful!  It was a very well organized weekend and I think the content was such that whether you are 100% plant perfect or an omnivore interested in learning more about the impact of diet on health you could comfortably enjoy the discussions and stay interested throughout the days.  There were so many interesting speakers I’ve had a hard time deciding how to post about the weekend adventure.  I finally decided to split up my Retreat posts into a few mini posts.  I’ll keep today’s post focused on the most important parts of the weekend – the food, and the dancing.

Yes, there was dancing!  Natala Constantine is the Communications Director at Engine 2.  Her story is beautiful and inspiring and the brief paragraph on the E2 website doesn’t do it justice, but I urge you to give it a read.  I won’t get into her story here because I won’t do it justice either; Natala in her humor, her presence (and hotness that clearly surpasses that of Rip), are what make the story so inspiring.  I will share three lessons learned from Natala:

  1. 1 Minute Dance Parties daily should be incorporated into your routine.  It’s true.  Rough day, feeling sluggish, a little down?  1 minute…dance like nobody’s watching and you will immediately feel better.  They went with Pharrell’s Happy for their dance parties at the Retreat; I prefer P!NK myself.  Whatever you choose just get up and get your running man on.
  2. An abundance of fat stores is indicative of strong genes.  Consider evolutionary survival, those selected to survive famines, droughts, etc survived due to an abundance of fat stores.  To adapt to these environmental influences populations developed “thrifty genes”.  There has been substantial work on this topic as it relates to the Pima Indian population and the incidence of obesity and Type II diabetes.  In the absence of famine with unlimited access to an overabundance of calorie dense foodstuffs rates of obesity and Type II diabetes increase substantially.
  3.  Do Normal.  Go about your health in a practical way.

I enjoyed Natala’s talks tremendously.  She has an important message to share with people and I think the key is that Engine 2 Diet is a lifestyle change not a diet in the 15 lbs in 15 days sense.

Of course, there was food!  You’ll have to excuse my iPhone/instagram photos here on the blog this week but that’s all I had with me under the fluorescent hotel lights.  The food was awesome.  The coffee was half-caff, and there was not a sugar packet to be found anywhere though they did leave a couple of salt shakers out if you were so inclined.  I admit the Starbuck’s guy across the street knew my friend and I pretty well by the end of the weekend, but other than my morning fully caffeinated Pike’s Place (black no sugar) I stuck to green tea.  Other than the need for my morning cuppa, I was fine without added sugars or salt.  Breakfast was steel cut oats with fresh fruit, chia seeds and cinnamon, steamed greens with fresh tomato and hot sauce, and a muffin (which I saved for a mid-morning snack).

IMG_5809Lunch the first day was black beans and rice, and a salad.  You can’t actually see my black beans and rice because there are so many veggies loaded on top but trust me they’re under there.  This is a very simple and satisfying meal that I’ve come to make often.

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Day 2 lunch was a burger, baked fries, and a salad.

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Dinner Night 1 was Raise the Roof Lasagna.  I’ve made this a few times myself and really enjoy it.  It’s definitely a weekend meal due to all the chopping and prep, but it’s well worth it and makes a lot.

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The second dinner was a pasta bar with a choice of sauces.  We skipped the second dinner to go touring around Portland and eat something local (sorry no pics, we ended up at a Thai restaurant and by the time we got our food we were starving and dug in).

It didn’t occur to me to ask for a picture with Rip but I did buy Engine 2 Diet and had him sign it for me.

IMG_5823I read it on the plane trip home.  I think the take home message is “Don’t eat bear balls. Eat healthy, delectable, plant-based foods so that you will never fall over on your cat.”  Kidding aside, if you don’t get a chance to hear Rip tell the Engine 2 story in person, I would highly recommend the book; it’s a fast read and has a nice balance of stories, science, recipes and health tips.