Feeding a family and getting them to like everything that you like can be a challenge. As many mothers, wives, fathers, husbands and cooks know, that may be the understatement of the year. Pleasing everyone is impossible, yet getting them to eat what’s in front of them might not be. Often, as the family on a single income, we like to make cheaper meals a part of our weekly routine. I don’t compromise on flavour or nutrition though, ever. In this family, taste and health are number one. Sometimes we end up over budget on the weekly grocery shop, but most times we are under.
A great way to achieve your budgeting goals, is to make vegetarian meals a couple of times a week. Leaving out the expensive proteins and replacing them with cheaper (and just as or more nutritional) vegetarian alternatives will be good to your wallet. Often, you may already have the ingredients to make a vegetarian meal right there in your pantry, wallowing away in behind all the pasta noodles, rice bags and condiments.
I find a lot of people are at a loss to come up with something vegetarian that will appeal to all at the table. Burgers are a fantastic way to get everyone on board. Not only are they tasty and filling, but the act of making your own bun up and putting on the toppings you want, customizing to your own tastes, is what draws people in. These burgers are easy to prepare, good for you and fun for the whole family….they might not even notice the cilantro. If it is a problem though, just leave it out, up the other seasonings a bit and you’re good to go. Go save some money!
Black Bean Burgers
1 19oz can Black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro (tender shoots and leaves)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce **
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
Salt & pepper
Romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 avocado, sliced
Slices of cheese (Cheddar, Mozzarella, Edam, Gouda, Brie, Havarti, etc)
1. In bowl of food processor, add half of drained beans, cilantro, minced garlic, diced onion and egg.
2. Pulse until beans and remaining ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
3. Pour mixture out into medium sized bowl and add remaining beans, bread crumbs and seasonings.
4. Form patties and place on greased, aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
5. Bake in a 375°F oven for 25 minutes. Turn once halfway through and lay cheese over patties if desired, returning to oven for remaining time.
6. Serve on buns with condiments of choice and vegetables to garnish.
Now, sink your teeth into all that “hard” work and think about all the money, calories and carbon you just saved. Doesn’t that feel good? I know I feel better already.
**Note: As Trish has pointed out, traditional Worcestershire sauce is made with anchovies (always good in Caesar Dressing!) so adding it may not be for everyone if they are strict vegetarians. Feel free to omit it, or add in a vegetarian variety.