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Better Veggie Burgers From “Eat For Health”

I’ve been experimenting with new recipes and as a result we have been enjoying some amazing meals! These veggie burgers should easily fit into a number of food plans, they are full of flavor and so filling. This recipe makes 16 burgers so you can freeze some ahead. They heat up easily in the microwave too.

Veggie Better Burgers

One veggie burger stuffed into half of a whole wheat pita bread with some fresh greens, sliced red onion and some mustard makes for a perfect lunch with a big salad! Hubby Tom likes to double up and have two of these with a big salad on the side. They are also good smeared with some hummus and topped with tomatoes slices or avocado. You get the idea – choose your favorite toppings and build a healthy burger!

Veggie Better BurgersThis is the easiest way I have found to make evenly sized burgers of any kind. Once everything has been mixed together I cut a large piece of plastic wrap and lay it out on my counter. Then I evenly pat out the burger mixture in either a square or a round and cut it into servings. Then I pat them into burger shapes. If you have the time to chill the burgers prior to cooking them it seems to really help them hold together. Just thirty minutes in the refrigerator can make a big difference. If you pop them in the frig while you clean up the kitchen by the time your clean up is complete you can start cooking them.

Veggie Better BurgersTo avoid messy clean up line your baking sheet with foil and lightly spray it with a little olive oil. These veggie burgers are a bit delicate and soft so be careful when handling them or they will fall apart. Once the veggie burgers have completely cooled wrap each one individually with plastic wrap and place into a freezer bag or freezer container. Be sure to label them – I use to think I will remember what everything in those mystery freezer bags is – but the truth is – I don’t! Now I date them, label what the item is and what the serving size should be. If you count Weight Watcher points include those on the label as well.

 Better Veggie Burgers

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick or instant)
  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup no salt added or low sodium tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Mrs Dash Tomato Basil Garlic Salt Free seasoning blend or to taste
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups finely minced mushrooms (the food processor works great for this)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 2/3 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small saucepan whisk together water  tomato paste and Mrs Dash seasoning. Heat over medium high heat until boiling, shut off heat and add rolled oats and ground walnuts, set aside.

Water-saute the onion and garlic in a pan -(add a tablespoon or two of water to saute instead of oil – it works well) until onion is translucent. Then add mushrooms and additional water if needed – the mushrooms will release water as they cook. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

In a large bowl, combine sauteed onions and mushrooms, oat/walnut mixture, spinach and spices. Stir well to combine. Lay a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper out on the counter top, shape the burger mixture evenly into a square and cut into 16 even squares. Dampen hands with a little water to prevent sticking – (it’s still going to stick a bit) shape mixture into well formed burger patties. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes if you have the time – it will help the burgers stay together.

Line baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with olive oil. Bake burgers in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, remove from oven carefully turn each burger over and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve on a whole grain bun, pita bread half or over a bed of salad greens. Top with your favorite burger toppings, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and onion.

Non-vegan option: add 8 ounces of ground turkey breast meat to the mixture and proceed with recipe instructions.

Notes: This is a great basic recipe that could be adapted to many different flavors, think Southwest with cilantro, cumin & chili powder, or Asian with ginger, red pepper flakes and chopped green onions.

Yield: 16 veggie burgers

Serving Size: 1 veggie burger

*Estimated Nutritional Information (veggie burger only)

Per Serving; 98 Calories, 5.2g Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 11.1g Sodium, 147 mg Potassium, 9.5g Carbohydrates, 2g Fiber, 3.4g Protein,WWPP 3

*The nutritional information and WW PP values posted on Nutmeg Notebook are my best estimates based on the brands of products I use and the software programs used to calculate them. If you rely heavily on the nutritional information and WWPP values I encourage you to double check the values given, using the brands of products you use. If you find big differences feel free to email me or leave me a comment letting me know.

Recipe adapted from Dr Fuhrman’s Super Immunity and Eat For Health books.

Nutmeg Notes

A little overview of our food plan

I highly recommend watching the video Forks Over Knives, it really makes you think about your food plan and how what we eat affects our health. I have seen it twice now and the information is life changing. Knowledge is power.

If you are interested in improving the nutrition of your food plan, want to lose weight in a healthy way, curb food cravings, improve your immune system or move towards a more plant based diet I would suggest reading Dr Fuhrman’s Eat For Health book. In this book he maps out a three level process of improving your health through your diet. It is a very easy plan to follow and less drastic than his food plans outlined in his other books.

It’s not a book about becoming a strict vegetarian instead the focus is on becoming what Dr Fuhrman describes as being a Nutritarian – someone who strives for more micronutrients per calorie in their diet.

Level One includes 4 servings or less per week of animal products.

Level Two includes 3 servings or less per week of animal products.

Level Three includes 2 servings or less per week of animal products.

All three levels include plenty of green vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds, whole grain products and a small amount of healthy oils.

He explains the benefits of eating the foods he recommends so you understand what they contribute to your overall health. I love that!

All Three Levels Include Daily:

  • A large salad
  • At least 1/2 cup beans or legumes – more if you wish
  • At least 3 fresh fruits
  • At least one ounce raw nuts or seeds or a combination of the two
  • At least one large serving of steamed green vegetables

Optional:

  • whole grains  1- 3 servings depending on what level you are on

There are Two Types of Nutrients That We Get From Food

Macronutrients = Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein – they all contain calories

Micronutrients = Vitamins, Minerals, and Phytochemicals – they do not contain calories – we need more of these

Foods that are high in micronutrients are also full of fiber and water and are low in calories which means they have a low caloric density.

Foods that contain a high level of micronutrients per calorie are considered nutrient dense. Vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods on the planet followed by beans, nuts, seeds and fruits.

The more high nutrient food you consume the less low-nutrient food you desire – we have found this to be so true!

By consuming more high nutrient food your appetite will naturally decrease – this is so true – we are so full eating this way.

Dr Fuhrman uses the acronym G-BOMBS to help remind us that on a daily basis we should be including nutrient rich foods like:

Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries & Seeds

Lucky for us we happen to love the foods included in the G-BOMBS so this part is pretty easy.

Thank you!

I was delighted that so many of you are going to stick around and read the blog even though we are shaking up our food plan here and moving to a more plant based diet. Several of you told me that you were also either in transition to a more plant based diet or were thinking about making some changes to go with more veggies and less meat. Who knew? It’s nice to know that we will be doing this together. I’m pretty sure that everyone will enjoy the new refreshing, healthy recipes regardless of what food plan you are following.

Have no fear – I will not be removing the collection of recipes that are already posted here. Although my food plan is changing I too will occasionally be making some of my old favorite recipes that include animal products. :)

To Your Health!

Tami

Thanks for reading – feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.


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  1. Biz says:

    I am sending this link to my SIL to see if she’ll eat these for lunch next week – they look really good!

    Oh no, mine would be G B no onion, no mushroom, B &S!

    1. Tami says:

      You and Cammy are the onion and mushroom haters!

  2. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    I don’t care for onions and loathe mushrooms, so I guess I’d be GBBS. LOL

    Thanks for the recipe, Tami. I may give it a try someday.

    1. Tami says:

      We all have different tastes in food – I know lots of people who don’t like onions and mushrooms – that is pretty common. I love them!

  3. Jody - Fit at 55 says:

    Looks like a great recipe Tami! I am such a lazy cook. I would probably not do all that BUT I would eat it if you made it for me! :) The book sounds really interesting & I like that he does not push the total vegetarian thing..

    When I make my turkey meatloaf it is the ground meat, salsa, mustard, spirulina & mix – I don’t like to chop & dice & all that. :)

    I am so glad you are liking it!

    1. Tami says:

      Your turkey meatloaf sounds good Jody! I do enjoy chopping veggies and such – it’s kind of like mental therapy!

  4. Renee@Mykitchenadventures says:

    These sound delicious and no weird ingredients! Love that! I usually just weigh out my portions of meat or whatever kind of patty I am making on my scale, but this method seems much easier and probably less messy! Thanks for passing along what you are learning!

    1. Tami says:

      I have done the weighing thing too Renee but it’s a lot of extra work!

  5. Sharon says:

    I’m going to try these burgers. I love having things in the freezer to go to quickly, but have never really wanted to get hooked on the frozen veggie burgers you can buy in the store. Too much stuff in them I can’t pronounce. Haven’t gotten Bill to buy in to the less meat philosophy yet, so I will love having these available for my lunches.

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Sharon! I have been shocked at how easily hubby Tom has adapted to our new way of eating since he has always been a big meat eater. Live and learn. I had him watch the video Forks Over Knives – hard to argue with scientific research!

      I have been making a variety of things ahead and freezing them so I have some quick meal options for us. It’s also helpful when I am dining alone and don’t want to cook just for me but yet I want a real meal. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do. Happy Cooking!

  6. Laura says:

    Hi Tami,

    I’m on board with a plant-based way of eating. Good for you and your husband!

    I’m familiar with the whole faction of Plant Based Eaters. I read McDougall about 20 years ago and am pleased to see there are more: Esselstyns, Popper, Campbell, etc. They all have a variation on the theme of no fat, dairy, meat + plant-based eating, which I think is the path to extended good health, especially as we age. I like Dr. Furhrman’s idea about eating the daily huge salad; makes me want to grow lettuce! Although I have the awareness, have I been able to implement this into my diet? No. My husband is beginning to eat this way and I hope to join him at some point. He loves Rip’s big bowl from the Engine 2 Plan and is adjusting to food without fat. :-)

    I have a question about the two veggie burger recipes you’ve posted recently: the Vegetarian Chili Burgers and the Better Veggie Burgers. Which one is more “burger-like?” I see that you had the latter in a pita pocket bread, but it looks (from the photos) that the Chili Burgers might be more firm, which I imagine could be better in the pita? Or, are veggie burgers, by virtue of their ingredients a soft kind of burger?

    Looking forward to more recipes. I am glad to hear you’re not giving up on blogging. I enjoy reading your blog, even though I don’t often comment. I’ll try to do more, in the future.

    ~Laura

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Laura! It sounds like you are well informed about eating a plant based diet. Like you, I had the knowledge for quite some time but getting started isn’t always easy. I wondered how on earth it was going work and I wasn’t sure I could get hubby Tom on board with me. Finally I got so fed up with not feeling good and not being able to shed my weight gain (after 7 months of no exercise do to my foot issues and surgery)and I felt like I had to do something different. I have the mindset that I want to prevent further medical problems as I age and prevent the diseases that I am genetically predisposed to get. There is a lot in this world that we can’t control – but we can control what we eat! Hubby and I also make our own version of Rip’s Big Bowl for breakfast – it’s delicious and so filling.
      I’m just curious,what is holding you back from adopting a plant based diet?

      Regarding the veggie burgers the chili burgers are dense and firm, hold up well on their own and no need for a bun or a pita if you don’t want the extra carbs. I love them topped with salsa and served up with veggies on the side or take one and put it on top of a bed of romaine lettuce with lots of chopped tomatoes. Of course it also would work well on a bun if you prefer a burger on a bun. The Better Veggie Burger is delicate and soft and will fall apart easily – we like it in half a pita since it’s soft you can kind of spread it our to fill the pita and half a wheat pita is about half the calories of the sprouted buns I buy. Just personal preference I guess – you might prefer a bun. Neither one of these are burger like – I haven’t found any home made veggie burger that comes close to the texture of a turkey or beef burger. I do however like the texture of both of these!

      Thank you for your comments and thoughts – it’s always a pleasure to hear from you. :)

      1. Laura says:

        Hi Tami,

        What holds me back from adopting a PBD? I think it’s giving up all of the foods that I love, such as evoo, some dairy products and chicken. I am aware that it would be a tremendous benefit to my health, but it’s difficult for me to commit.
        I love to read John McDougall’s discussion board for motivation and I attend OA. One of these days….
        Thanks for asking. :-)
        ~Laura

        1. Tami says:

          Thanks for sharing Laura – it is difficult to make the leap at first! Now 5 weeks into it I must say it’s gotten easier. We are starting to get the hang of it and our sense of taste is changing! Dr Fuhrman says that even if we can’t go all plant based just cleaning up our diet and including more nutrient rich foods and less processed food has tremendous health benefits. We need not feel that we have to be prefect – any progress is still progress!

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