Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean BurgersIt has been quite some time since I have blogged.  Life has been keeping me busy despite my good intentions of sharing my new recipes.

After many attempts I have found the perfect vegetarian burger for our family.  In recent posts, I made what my husband and I considered great quinoa burgers, but the kids didn’t “love” them.  Tonight I tried a new Black Bean Burger mixture that hit the spot for everyone…a thumbs up from all!  I am happy to report this will be part of our summertime rotation.

2 cups cooked 1(15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup plain whole wheat bread crumbs
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup water
1 egg (omit egg for vegan option)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (or ketchup)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion (diced small)
About 2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat beans in microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds.  Drain and rinse.  Mash the beans with a fork in a mixing bowl.  Just mash them some so no whole beans are left.  You should leave some half beans, they don’t need to be pureed.

Add the bread crumbs, chili powder, cumin, onion, water, egg, and ketchup (and cilantro if using), but don’t mix yet.  Use a grater to grate the garlic in.  (A garlic press or very well mince garlic works, too.)

Mix everything together with a fork, and then knead with your hands until the mixture is firm and uniform.

Preheat a frying pan or saute pan over medium heat.

Divide the burger mixture into six equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a firm ball.  Press the ball down into the shape of a patty.

Pour a thin layer of olive oil into the pan.  Cook the patties for 5 minutes on each side, gently pressing down on them with a spatula until cooked.

Serve with your favorite toppings on burger buns.

Servings: 6

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Tilapia & Creamy Parmesan Risotto

While visiting Whole Foods today, I decided to check out the fresh seafood counter.  Temptation got the best of me and I decided to splurge on four fresh Tilapia filets for tonights dinner.  I served the Tilapia alongside of sauteed spinach and Lundberg Creamy Parmesan Risotto, also purchased at Whole Foods.  I also paired La Crema Chardonnay with the meal.  It was all delicious.

Ingredients for Tilapia
Fresh Tilapia
Organic Bread Crumbs (Trader Joe’s or Ian’s All Natural Panko Breadcrumbs)
Organic Valley Cultured Lowfat Buttermilk

Directions for Tilapia
Rinse off the fresh Tilapia and pat dry with paper towels (set aside)
Pour buttermilk into a bowl
Pour breadcrumbs onto a plate or into a separate bowl
Take the Tilapia, immerse in the buttermilk, then coat or press against the breadcrumbs
Place Tilapia on a foil covered baking sheet
Bake Tilapia at 375 for 20 minutes or until flaky.  Turn halfway through.

Ingredients for Sauteed Spinach
Fresh Organic Spinach
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
garlic to season

Directions for Sauteed Spinach
Over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and garlic to pan, add spinach and saute for 5-7 minutes.

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

One thing I have enjoyed most about this vegetarian cooking journey are the many different ingredients that can be combined and just how flavorful & healthy our foods can be.  In one of my past post, I shared a recipe for Quinoa-Feta Burgers which were delicious.  Today I’d like to share the Quinoa Black Bean Burger, our Sunday night creation.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), it a highly nutritious gluten-free seed (usually considered to be a whole grain) that contains all eight amino acids, a great source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, iron and PROTEIN!  Quinoa is cooked by boiling water and simmering for around 15 minutes.  I usually cook extra Quinoa , keeping some on hand for vegetable stir fry.

The Quinoa Black Bean Burger was my favorite thus far, and somewhat of a hit with the kids.  They would have preferred if I had left out the chopped yellow bell pepper, but otherwise, they enjoyed it!

1 (15 ounce) can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup cooked organic quinoa (I use Nature’s Earthly Choice from Costco)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use Trader Joe’s organic or Ian’s brand from Earthfare)
1/4 cup minced yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (*optional)
1 egg
3 tablespoons olive

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Roughly mash the black beans with a fork leaving some whole black beans in a paste-like mixture.

Mix the quinoa, bread crumbs, bell pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, hot pepper sauce, and egg into the black bean mixture using your hands.

Form the black bean mixture into 5 patties.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.

Cook the patties in the hot oil until heated through, about 3 minutes on each side.

*I served our burgers on Arnold’s Whole Wheat thins and added Pepper Jack cheese to the adult burgers and Cheddar Cheese to the children’s burgers.
Servings: 5

Broccoli Casserole

Broccoli Casserole is one of my favorite side dishes from childhood.  My Mom handed down the recipe to me years ago, and it is also a favorite side dish with my family today.  It is great served alongside of chicken or turkey, and we actually will serve it with other vegetable sides for a meat free dinner. KID FRIENDLY!

2 packages frozen chopped broccoli
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (I use an organic one from Earthfare)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 cup grated 2 % cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
breadcrumbs *keep to the side
3 tablespoons butter *keep to the side

1. Cook broccoli & drain
2. Mix all ingredients (except for breadcrumbs and 3 tablespoons butter) and place in a lightly greased (I use butter) 8×8 glass casserole dish.
3. Top with breadcrumbs (I use Trader Joe’s Organic Breadcrumbs or Ian’s Original Style)
4. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and drizzle evenly over breadcrumbs
5. Bake at 350 covered for 25 minutes and 15 minutes uncovered until breadcrumbs start to brown.

6-8 servings

Strawberry Spinach Salad

One of my favorite “go to” lunches is a strawberry spinach salad.  Packed full of vitamins and nutrients this salad is easy to make and quite flavorful.

organic spinach
organic strawberries (cut and rinsed)
organic braeburn apple (peeled, cored, diced)
organic goat cheese (crumbled)
balsamic dressing (I used Tessemae’s All Natural: olive oil,lemons,garlic,mustard,balsamic vinegar,sea salt)

Mix ingredients together and enjoy

Avocado, Tomato & Cucumber Round

I’m excited to share a new lunchtime creation: Avocado, Tomato & Cucumber Round.  This was my first year growing an organic garden and I can not believe how many vegetables we are harvesting.  So fresh from the garden today I decided to use some of our tomato and cucumber!  This sandwich is healthy, delicious and light!




  1. To Make the Chive Spread: In a small bowl, mix the Greek yogurt and chives. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. To Make the Avocado Salad: In a medium bowl, gently toss together the avocado, tomato, cucumber, lime juice and basil or cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  3. To Assemble: Spread the chive-yogurt mixture on all four round slices. Divide the sprouts between two slices of bread, and top with avocado salad. Cover with the remaining slices of bread.

Quinoa-Feta Burgers

I am excited to share one of my new “favorites” in Vegetarian dishes.  This recipe was found in one of my favorite magazines, Whole Living.  The June edition has a great spread called “Grill Talk” with delicious and healthy alternatives to beef.  This truly is a fantastic tasting burger and is packed with nutrients, protein and fiber.  I do hope you will give it a try!


  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled feta
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 egg whites, lightly whisked
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 whole-wheat buns, grilled ( I used Arnold’s Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins)
  • Whole-grain mustard, for serving
  • Grilled onions, for serving (*see tip below)


  1. In a bowl, mash beans into a thick paste and mix in shallot, carrot, quinoa, parsley, feta, salt, and egg whites.
  2. Form mixture into six patties and chill 30 minutes.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, directly on grill grates or on stove top, and cook patties until golden (add remaining tablespoon oil if cooking in batches), 4 to 5 minutes per side.
  4. Serve on buns with mustard, grilled onions, and romaine. (I served mine on Arnold’s Sandwich Thins)

*For grilled onions, drizzle slices with oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill over medium-high heat, turning, until tender and charred, 6 to 8 minutes.

 Yield:  6

Sharp Cheddar and Tomato Round

The vine ripe organic tomatoes were calling my name today while shopping for new lunch and dinner ideas.  Today’s creation is healthy, light and delicious.  Enjoy!

1 vine ripe organic tomato
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Flax & Fiber Sandwich Thin 
1 slice of Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 handful of baby spinach
*balsamic glace optional (I use La Prima Glassa Balsamica from Harris Teeter)

Drizzle tomato slices with oil and season with salt and pepper
Place spinach on both sides of sandwich thin
Place sharp cheddar cheese on top of spinach
Place tomato on top of sharp cheddar cheese and spinach
Toast sandwich to desired heat.  I toast mine for around 5 minutes until the cheese is melted.
*Drizzle with balsamic glaze

Yield: 1


Vegetarian Broccoli Quiche

In honor of Meatless Monday, I decided to try a new vegetarian dish this evening.  Meatless Monday’s concept: One day a week, cut out meat!  Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

This broccoli quiche is quick, easy, kid friendly and quite flavorful.  Enjoy,


  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust (I used a frozen crust)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used 2%)
  • 1.5 roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1  cup milk (fat free organic)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Over medium-low heat add olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onions, garlic and broccoli and roasted red pepper.  Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft. Spoon vegetables into crust and sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese.
  4. Place pie crust on cookie sheet & bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until center has set. (My quiche took about 40 mins)
  5. Cool for 10-15 mins

Yield: 6

Extra-Easy Spinach Lasagna

I am always in search of ways to include the “SUPERFOOD” Spinach into our meals.  Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6, all offering many health benefits.  This spinach lasagna packed a delicious flavor and best of all, my kids LOVED it.    Enjoy!


  • 1 (15 ounce) container fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen organic chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 2% organic)
  • 3 cups Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara Sauce (use sauce of your choice)
  • 6 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Mix ricotta cheese, spinach and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  2. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce in 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with 3 lasagna noodles and half the spinach mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining pasta sauce. Slowly pour water around inside edges of baking dish. Cover.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes Uncover. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes or until hot. Let stand 10 minutes.

Yield: 8