Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Sweet Potato Burgers

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It’s become so much easier to get Steve to have a meat-free night once a week. I’ve been really expanding my recipes to exclude meat and even gluten. This dish hits on both those marks. My Sweet Potato Burgers are so flavorful and satisfying, the fact is, you won’t miss the meat. Topped with avocado slices, wrapped in a whole grain gluten-free flatbread, or just using bib lettuce as your vessel, makes no difference. My Sweet Potato Burgers are delicious.

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I wanted to use a flatbread as a vessel for these burgers. I wasn’t able to find this particular hinged-brand in a gluten-free variety but they do offer gluten-free flatbreads. I’d previously bought a package of these hinged flatbreads to try because they’re great for burgers and sandwiches.

I used one of the hinged flat-breads as a pattern to follow, making the regular whole grain flatbreads into a hinged-style flatbread. I used a piece of parchment paper to trace the outline of the hinged-flatbread. I laid it over the gluten-free flatbread, and cut it out using a paring knife. Now I have a slice of gluten-free hinged bread. In time they may offer this type of bread in a gluten-free variety. You could use a leaf of Bibb (Boston) lettuce as a vessel too!

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These are some of the ingredients I’m using to make these delicious Sweet Potato Burgers. First, I think the best way to incorporate sweetness, and to keep these burgers moist, not dry,  is to add a little apple sauce. When I go to the market, I’m looking for something completely natural. I decided to use a jar of baby’s puréed first apples as one of the ingredients. What’s more natural than that!  Okay, so here’s how I start.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Arugula

Avocado

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hr 45 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) non-stick sauté pan, parchment paper, paring knife, large mixing bowl

Ingredients For Pesto Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup of good mayo
2 heaping tablespoons of store-bought fresh basil pesto

Avocado Slices
2 avocados, sliced
1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Ingredients For Sweet Potato Burgers:
6 gluten-free whole-grain flatbreads (trace and cut into hinged flatbreads)
3 medium-size sweet potatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup of organic baby apple purée
1/4 cup of flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup of baby Arugula
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of gluten-free flour
2 cups of gluten-free bread crumbs (this amount may vary slightly)
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons of (unsalted) butter, divided

Note: Take advantage of fresh store-bought basil pesto in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set the sweet cleaned and dried sweet potatoes on the baking sheet. Prick the potatoes with a fork to release steam, and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.

While the sweet potatoes are baking prepare the gluten-free hinged flatbreads using the store-bought hinged flatbread as a pattern to follow. Prepare a total of six.

In a small mixing bowl add 1/2 a cup of good mayonnaise and add 2 heaping tablespoons of fresh basil pesto, stir to combine. Refrigerate until needed.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half, scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher, mash the sweet potatoes together with the Cannellini beans. It’s fine if the beans are not fully mashed into the potatoes. This gives the burgers great texture.

Add a beaten egg, apple purée, chili powder, ground coriander, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, gluten-free flour, gluten-free bread crumbs, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Mix together until fully combined. You want the sweet potato mixture to be similar to the consistency of ground meat.

Note: Transfer the sweet potato mixture to the refrigerator, for 30 minutes, to firm up before making the patties. Divide the sweet potato mixture into six equal portions and form into patties.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil together. Add the patties to the pan two at a time. Cook until golden brown and caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Repeat the process until all 6 patties are cooked.

Note: Transfer the cooked patties to a plate and cover tightly with foil to keep warm while you finish cooking the remaining patties. You can also refrigerate the uncooked patties. Place them on a plate tightly wrapped in plastic wrap until you’re ready to cook them.

To Serve: Spread 1 tablespoon of the Basil Pesto Mayonnaise on one side or both sides of the hinged flatbread. Add a Sweet Potato Burger, a few baby arugula leaves, and top with slices of avocado. Finish by wrapping the Sweet Potatoes Burgers in parchment paper.

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Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce

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I’ve been working on some new recipes for, my daughter, Melissa to try. It’s my Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce. Melissa’s led a meat-free lifestyle for quite a few years. Now, as far as any gluten allergies, Melissa doesn’t have any but Tonya, a good friend of mine, believes she may. My Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce is gluten-free. I think it’s really helpful to have someone that’s happy to try a new recipe I’m testing and get their input.

I knew this recipe needed to have great flavor, this way, the lack of having any type of meat wouldn’t be missed at all. I’m not saying that this dish is for everyone, but if you choose a meat-free and gluten-free lifestyle, I can tell you this dish does not disappoint. Also for the meat lover who just wants to cut down on the amount of meat in your diet, this is a great alternative.

Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce

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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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thyme (1)

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Oregano

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Stuffing (2)

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Roasted Red Peppers

Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo Peppers (1)

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Prep Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hours
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 day plus 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields: 36 meatballs
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 1 (10-cup) food processor, large mixing bowl, 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, chef’s knife

Ingredients For Roasted Eggplant and Cremini Mushrooms:
1 whole eggplant, top removed and sliced in half
1/4 cup of olive oil, divided evenly between the halves, plus 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon Kosher salt, divided evenly between the halves
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, divided evenly between the halves

Ingredients For Roasted Eggplant Meatballs:
1 roasted eggplant, puréed
1 pint of roasted cremini mushrooms, puréed
1 (7-ounce) jar of Piquillo peppers, puréed
1 (7-ounce) jar of marinated artichokes with their oil, puréed
1 (15-ounce) can of Cannellini beans, puréed
1 onion diced, purèed
3 whole garlic cloves, roughly chopped and purèed
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of oregano leaves, roughly chopped
3 tablespoon of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish)
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups of bread crumbs, gluten-free

Ingredients For Marinara Sauce:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil leaves
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1/4 cup chicken broth, unsalted
2 (28-ounce) cans of San Marzano tomatoes
1 (12-ounce) jar Piquillo peppers, puréed
1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly torn basil leaves, (plus basil for garnish)

Directions For Roasting Eggplant:
The day before serving this dish you want to make the vegetarian meatballs.
Step 1: Roast the eggplant and cremini mushrooms.

Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
Start by cutting the top off the eggplant then slicing a whole eggplant in half.  Drizzle each half with olive oil then sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper. Place the eggplant halves on a rimmed baking sheet pan, cut side down, roast for 20 to 25 minutes.

At the same time, spread sliced cremini mushrooms onto a sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil toss to coat then spread out into one even layer. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

This step needs to be done in two batches. Add half of the following ingredients to the food processor at a time. Start with the Cannellini beans, marinated artichokes with their oil, roasted Piquillo peppers, whole garlic cloves, diced onions, Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Pulse until combined. Refer to the picture above. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Repeat this process with the remaining half until all the ingredients are puréed.

Once the eggplant has finished cooking, remove the flesh from each half along with the cremini mushrooms into the food processor. Pulse until combined. Refer to the picture above. Add the eggplant mixture to the rest of the processed vegetables. Refer to the picture above.

To the same bowl add a beaten egg, gluten-free bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Using your hands, mix to combine.

To ensure all of the vegetarian meatballs are the same size, use a 2-ounce cookie-dough scoop. Scoop and form the vegetable mixture into golf-size balls. Place them on baking sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Transfer the vegetarian balls to the refrigerator to set overnight.

Next-Day:
Preheat a large Dutch oven (or heavy bottom pot with a lid) over medium heat. Add olive oil and the diced onions. Sauté the onions until they become translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add tomato paste, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, dried basil, brown sugar, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, stirring all the ingredients as they cook for another 5 minutes.

For the liquids, add chicken broth allow to come up to a bubble then let reduce by half. Next, add the crushed tomatoes and puréed Piquillo peppers, stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer for 40 minutes. Turn the heat off.

Remove the pot from the heat and add torn basil leaves, stir to combine. Cover to keep warm.

Preheat oven to 275-degrees F.
Remove the vegetarian meatballs from the refrigerator. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of each of the veggie balls. Transfer the pans of the vegetarian meatballs on the middle rack for 15 to 20 minutes, just until they’re warmed through. Keep a close eye on them.

Note: Due to the fact that these are vegetarian balls, they may flatten slightly, on the bottom, during the warming process. Halfway through the cooking process, use two spoons to gently turn them over to help keep the integrity of their shape.

To Serve: Ladle about 1/4 cup of the hot Marinara sauce on the bottom of a serving dish. Arrange the Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs on top, ladling a little of the Marinara Sauce over each one. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley and fresh basil. Serve hot.

Tip: Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs can be stored in airtight resealable bags and frozen.

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