Category Archives: Gluten Free

Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Veggie burger served with sweet potato fries and romaine lettuce and pear salad with goat cheese.

Veggie burger (baked version) served with sweet potato fries and romaine lettuce and pear salad with goat cheese.

I’m really getting into this quinoa scene now that I’ve finally sampled it.  I have long wanted to make my own veggie burger and once I cooked my first pot of quinoa I thought again, “I should try to make a veggie burger.”  And so today I did…  I looked around online to get the general gist but my attention span was short.  After looking at only one recipe and taking it at face value, it appeared you combine veggies, quinoa and a binder.  The binder was interesting, using egg, bread crumbs and cheese, but the rest of the recipe was a little boring.  So I ramped up the veggie variety, added black beans, used multiple cheeses and added steak seasoning for a hint of meaty flavor.  This effort was way-delish, but was somewhat time-consuming and certainly made for a lot of dirty dishes, bowls and pans.  It made 8 burgers and since I was experimenting, I baked four of them.  I had the oven on anyway at 425 degrees for sweet potato fries.  At that temperature, the burgers browned up nicely and the cheese crisped the top and bottom a bit – all good.  We ate two and I froze the leftovers for another experiment.  If the frozen burgers microwave well for a quick lunch, then I could make a large quantity of these, bake and freeze, and the stockpile of a quick and healthy lunch option would justify the time and the mountain of dishes.

The other four we grilled.  They were also delicious, though I would recommend grilling over a lower heat than we started at. We served with a side of Grilled Romaine with Apple Slaw Dressing, and just for fun, we topped one with Artichoke Yogurt Dip.

Grilled veggie burger served with grilled romaine and apple slaw dressing.

Grilled veggie burger served with grilled romaine and apple slaw dressing.

Grilled artichoke yogurt dip is a zesty, cheesy topping for these burgers.

Grilled artichoke yogurt dip is a zesty, cheesy topping for these burgers.


On the grill - release foil was the way to go with these.

On the grill – release foil was the way to go with these.


Another great thing about this veggie burger is it could be gluten free.  Everything I used is gluten free to my knowledge.  I don’t have to eat a gluten free diet, but from my limited internet searches, true gluten free dieters would need to verify the cheeses they use in this recipe, the spice blend, and perhaps the black beans.

Well, here we go – this is how I did it, with approximate measurements, of course!


2 to 3 slices stale bread (I used Udi’s gluten free bread)

4 ounces sliced Portabella Mushrooms

1 cup cooked Black Beans – drained and rinsed

1 cup finely shredded Zucchini

1 cup finely chopped Vidalia Onion, Sweet Peppers, Celery – I probably used about 1/4 onion, 5 or 6 mini peppers and 1 stalk celery

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for sautéing)

2 teaspoons Steak Seasoning (I used McCormick Grill Mates Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning) – Note, because I used this seasoning, I did not use salt and pepper.  If you’re gluten free, verify the seasoning you use.

1 – 1/2 cups cooked Quinoa

1 Egg

3/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

1/3 cup crumbled Feta Cheese


Tear the bread and place in a food processor.  Pulse until you have small, evenly-sized bread crumbs (does not have to be super fine).  Transfer to a bowl and measure 1 cup.

Veggie Burger 1 (1280x956)

Place the mushrooms and black beans together in the food processor and pulse/chop, being careful not to puree to a mush.  Transfer to a bowl and rinse the food processor.

veggie burger 2 (1280x956)

Finely chop the onion, peppers and celery in the food processor.  Measure one cup.

veggie burger 3 (1280x956)veggie burger 4 (1280x956)

Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion, pepper and celery mixture until the liquids have evaporated and the veggies are beginning to brown.

veggie burger 5 (1280x956)

Add the zucchini and sauté one minute or so.

veggie burger 6 (1280x956)

Add the mushroom and black bean mixture along with the steak seasoning.

veggie burger 7 (1280x956)

Cook several minutes until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and mixture is just beginning to brown.  Transfer to a large bowl and cool.

veggie burger 8 (1280x956)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Add the bread crumbs, quinoa, egg and cheeses to the cooled veggie mixture.  Mix well.

veggie burger 9 (1280x956)

Use a large scoop to scoop onto baking pan (I lined mine with “release” foil).  Flatten or use a biscuit cutter and a spoon to flatten into even “burgers”

veggie burger 10 (1280x956)

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until browned to your desire.  Or grill over medium heat on “release” foil.  Try to flip only once.

veggie burger 11 (1280x956)





Rhubarb for Baking


Pink and green, my two favorite complementary colors and just one more reason why I love rhubarb!  My wonderful niece, Angela, gave me some fresh rhubarb and I decided to chop and freeze it for future baking.  I used my food processor and chopped it fine, then bagged it in one cup portions for the freezer.  I loved the sour, almost grassy smell of the freshly chopped rhubarb.

chopped rhubarb

I set one cup aside to try in the breakfast bread recipe as a substitute for fresh cranberries, which are practically impossible to find out of season.

rhubarb bread

I think it tastes great – I could still taste the banana, and the tart tang of the rhubarb was a perfect balance to the sweet of the dark chocolate.  Because I chopped the rhubarb so small, you could not see it, but the flavor was there.  This is a fairly clever seasonal substitute because cranberries can usually only be found in the fall and rhubarb is a spring thing.

Gluten Free Banana Cranberry Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bread

Baked in a variety of forms - loaf, mini loaves, and muffins

Baked in a variety of forms – loaf, mini loaves, and muffins

I worked on this recipe for a long time – I was trying to make it fit the “creative recipe” format where you can use whatever fruit, nuts, sugar, honey, etc. you have on hand.  I played around with the amount of sugars and fat and so on – always with varying results.   And I could never really land on a variable recipe that I felt was acceptable.  Finally, I decided to just dial one version in, so here it is.  I think it has a better texture with the bananas and I really like the tart cranberry with the sweetness of the chocolate.  I think you could substitute finely chopped apple if you can’t find cranberries right now.  I have also used zucchini in the past.  Let me know what you think and definitely let me know if you substitute other fruits successfully.   I’ve also been playing around with a gluten free corn bread – stay tuned…

NOTE:  There is some debate about whether oats are truly gluten free (for example, they could have some gluten if processed in a mill that also processes wheat or other grains).   If you are Celiac or very sensitive, this recipe may not work for you.  Bob’s Red Mill makes a certified gluten-free oat flour that you could evaluate as a possible substitute – or skip this recipe completely if you cannot tolerate oats.


2-1/2 Cups finely chopped Old-fashioned Rolled Oats*

1-1/2 Cups Brown Rice Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

½ Cup Almond Meal/Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

½ Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

½ Teaspoon Nutmeg

½ Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1 Cup finely chopped Fresh Cranberries**

3 Bananas – smashed

1/3 Cup Unsalted Butter, melted

1 Cup Non-fat Plain Yogurt

2 Eggs, lightly beaten

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Semi-sweet Mini Chocolate Chips

*I use a food processor to finely chop a container of Old-fashioned (not ”quick”) Rolled Oats.  Then I measure 2-1/2 cups for the recipe.  I store the rest of the chopped oats in the freezer – save times in the future.

Old-fashioned Rolled Oats - chopped in the food processor

Old-fashioned Rolled Oats – chopped in the food processor

**I buy fresh cranberries in season, finely chop them in the food processor and freeze them in one-cup portions.  Easy to grab a bag each time I make this recipe.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the dry ingredients, including the brown sugar in a bowl and mix well.

Combine the yogurt, butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl.  Add the eggs and fruit.  Mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and beat just until well blended.  Add the chocolate chips and mix in.

Spoon into four mini loaf pans.  I use a non-stick pan, but if you are not, you will need to grease the pan.


Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 to 35 minutes – or until toothpick comes out clean.  I usually have to test in more than one place because I frequently hit a chocolate chip when I am testing and all I see is melted chocolate 😉