Category Archives: Veggies

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.

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

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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.

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Add the zucchini and sauté one minute or so.

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

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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.

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

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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”

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

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Grilled Artichoke and Yogurt Dip

Hot and bubbling, straight out of the oven - yum!

Hot and bubbling, straight out of the oven – yum!

Wow! So many possibilities to get creative with this recipe, where to start?  At the beginning, I guess…  Our friends brought us a bag of grilled artichokes as a hostess gift the other night.  They looked yummy and the next day I decided to turn them into a healthy baked dip.  I did not have time to go to the store, so in true Creative Recipe fashion, I used whatever I had on hand.  I did not have mayo, which is the classic ingredient for a baked artichoke dip, but I did have fat-free plain yogurt (not Greek style), and I was going for healthy.  Searching online, I learned that yogurt can curdle a bit if baked at too high a temperature.  Absolutely does not affect taste.   There are tricks, according to my search, such as adding cornstarch to the yogurt or baking at a lower temperature.  But I wanted a nicely browned dip, and I’m a believer in just starting somewhere and changing one ingredient or technique at a time in the quest for perfection.  So I simply started with the yogurt, no thickener, a high enough oven to brown the dish and determined to note the results.  The flavors and texture were delicious, it browned beautifully, and yes…. the yogurt did curdle slightly.  Next time, I will add a thickener such as corn starch or rice flour to the yogurt to note that difference.  You could get very creative with some sautéed spinach and/or zucchini or summer squash to really load up the veggie quotient.  Here is the first go-round on this recipe and as you would expect, quantities are eye-balled:


1 bag grilled Artichoke Hearts, chopped (6 ounce bag) – These grilled hearts are certainly worth seeking out, but you could used canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped.  There are also frozen artichoke hearts that may work, though I would recommend thawing and draining well first.


Roasted Red Peppers, chopped (hmmmm…. 1/2 cup or so?)

A few Celery tops, minced

Minced Vidalia Onion – about 2 tablespoons

Garlic – if desired (I omitted because the grilled artichokes were flavored with garlic.  If I used canned, I would add some garlic)

Fresh Lemon Juice – about 1 teaspoon

Dill Weed – 1 to 2 teaspoons, to your taste.  Basil would also be good, maybe tarragon or oregano, depending on your veggie choices.  Get creative!

Plain Non-fat Yogurt – approximately 1 cup

Cheese – I used a combination of shredded Parmesan, Goat Cheese and Feta Cheese – about 1 -1/2 cups.  Cream cheese would also melt nicely.  Get creative, but perhaps avoid cheeses that get too “oily” as they melt.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.


Place in an 8 x 8 square glass pan (I did not grease).  Top with some more Parmesan Cheese.


Bake, uncovered, approximately one hour or until browned and bubbly.


If you add veggies with a high water content such as fresh spinach or squash, I would recommend grating the squash and chopping the spinach.  Then sauté in a small amount of olive oil until the liquids that naturally leach out evaporate.  That way you will not have a watery dip.

Maybe some bread crumbs (gluten free or Panko) or potato chip crumbs would be good on top?  Just brainstorming…

This would be a great topping for a baked potato bar or veggie burgers – try the Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burger.  What creative ideas and variations do you have?

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

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


Southwestern Roasted Potato Salad with Corn and Black Beans

Roasted Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes pair with roasted corn and black beans in a sour cream based tomatillo and cilantro dressing.

Roasted Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes pair with roasted corn and black beans in a sour cream based tomatillo and cilantro dressing.

I created this dish for the neighborhood Memorial Day “Mexican Fiesta” party.  I truly think it could also be called “salad of many bowls and dishes” based on the volume of dishes I washed during the creation….  It was worth it though!  The sour cream dressing is a favorite recipe from my friend, Jackie.  I thought it would taste especially delicious with this potato and vegetable combination.  And it did!  Thanks, Jackie 🙂  As typical for Ms. Creative Recipe, very little measuring went on during the preparation of this dish, other than the dressing which had Jackie’s exact measurements.  I also used whatever veggies I had on hand, so feel free to swap out as you like.

Ingredients – Salad

8 to 10 small Yukon Gold Potatoes – washed and cut into evenly sized chunks

2 to 3 Sweet Potatoes (or yams) – peeled and cut into evenly sized chunks

4 ears Sweet Corn – husked

Butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fresh Lime Juice – 1/2 lime

Salt and Pepper

Sweet Vidalia Onion or Green Onions – very thinly sliced and chopped

Celery – finely chopped

Sweet Bell Peppers – chopped

Yellow Cherry Tomatoes – quartered

1 can Black Beans – drained and rinsed well


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the potatoes in a bowl with olive oil and coarsely ground black pepper.  Spread on a baking pan in an even layer.  I used “release” foil for easy clean up.


Melt butter with salt and lime juice in a small bowl.  Brush liberally over the corn and wrap in a foil packet.


Roast the corn and potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender, but not mushy.  Turn the potatoes half way to maximize browning.  Corn may finish before the potatoes. Cool.


Cut the corn off the cob.


Combine the corn with the veggies and tomatoes in a large bowl.


Dice the potatoes and add to the mixture.


Toss gently with the dressing (recipe below) to coat.  Gently toss the black beans with some dressing in a small bowl to coat well without breaking up (so you don’t discolor the salad).  Gently fold the black beans into the potato salad and transfer to a serving bowl.

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Jackie’s Jalapeno Ranch Salad Dressing


3 fresh Tomatillos, husked, washed and quartered

1/2 bunch fresh Cilantro – washed

2 pickled Jalapeno peppers

2 cups Sour Cream

2 envelopes (1 oz each) Ranch dressing mix


Place the tomatillos, cilantro and jalapenos in a food processor.


Blend until smooth, scraping down as necessary.


Combine with the sour cream and ranch mix, blending well.






The Cabbage Compromise – St. Patrick’s Day Grill

Grilled Cabbage and Sausage St. Patrick's Day Platter

Grilled Cabbage and Sausage St. Patrick’s Day Platter

Wanting to go green for St. Patrick’s Day and eager to grill again after a long winter, Scott and I decided to ditch the traditional corned beef and cabbage for a grilled sausage and “cabbage steak” feast.  You may have seen the posts floating around the Internet for grilled “cabbage steaks.”  After our first effort, featured in this post, we determined they are both easy and delicious.  To complete our St. Patrick’s Day platter, we grilled up some spicy sausages, Yukon Gold potato coins (for the “pot o’ gold”) and asparagus, to maximize on the green.   I threw in some red pepper for color and crunch.  Grape tomatoes would have been delicious, too. All in all, it was a delightful variation on a theme. This is how we did it.

Cabbage Steaks

Wash a small head of cabbage.  Slice vertically through the entire head into thick, round “steaks.”  I trimmed out the “heart” or core during this prep and then skewered the cabbage to keep the leaves together.  Most photos I saw on the Internet leave the heart intact – likely to help the cabbage stay together better on the grill – and you can eat around the core.  It’s your preference, so google around.  I also saw “wedges” instead of the rounds.

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Butter Thyme (1280x1172)

Melt a few tablespoons of butter with some salt and pepper, garlic and dried thyme.  Brush the cabbage liberally with the butter.

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Potato Coins

Wash and slice small Yukon Gold potatoes.  Toss in a bowl with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Wrap up in “release (non-stick)” foil for the grill.

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Asparagus and Red Pepper

Slice the pepper into matchsticks so it will cook in approximately the same time as the asparagus.  Trim and cut the asparagus.  Toss both with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Wrap up in “release (non-stick)” foil for the grill.

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Timing on the Grill

These times are approximate and will depend on your grill, heat setting and the thickness of your vegetables.  Our feast took about 35 minutes total.  We put the potatoes on first at medium high, the sausages about 10 minutes later, and the cabbage 5 minutes later.  We started the cabbage on medium high, and as it charred, we lowered the heat under it, eventually moving to the upper rack while the potatoes finished cooking.  The asparagus packet took only about 7 minutes.  We flipped the potato packet every 5 to 10 minutes or so.  Scott likes to grill everything on “release (non-stick)” foil for easy clean up.  He still gets the grill marks on the food (amazing!), so I say “Okay!”

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The grilled plate!

The grilled St. Patrick’s Day plate!

Roasted Corn with Tomatoes and Avocado

Roasted Corn with Tomato Avocado

It’s always a big event to eat the first corn on the cob of the season.  As a kid, my brother and sister and I made many games out of eating the corn off the cob.  “Typewriter” was a favorite, as we zipped our teeth the complete length of the cob and concluded with a messy “ding!”  Many moons later I shy away from eating corn straight from the cob, especially in a group, to avoid the kernels sticking in my teeth.  For this lunch party, I sliced our grilled corn off of the cob and tossed with grape tomatoes, diced avocado and a splash of my Italian Vinaigrette.   The robust vinaigrette added a very quick punch of seasoning and flavor, making this an easy dish to pull together.


Fresh Corn on the Cob, shucked

Unsalted Butter, melted

Freshly ground Salt and Pepper to taste

Grape Tomatoes, washed and sliced into rounds or quarters (get creative!)

Avocado, peeled and diced

Your favorite Italian Vinaigrette


Melt the butter and grind in some salt and pepper.  Brush on the corn.  Grill over medium heat on a grill.  Scott actually grilled the corn on “release” foil to prevent the butter from dripping down through the grate and flaring up.  He grilled it for about 20 minutes, turning to grill all sides.  The corn was smoky and browned, but still just a touch crispy-tender, not mushy.  Very good.

We brushed melted butter with salt and cracked black pepper on the corn before grilling

We brushed melted butter with salt and cracked black pepper on the corn before grilling

When the corn is cool, use a sharp knife to slice it off the cob.  Place in a bowl and toss with the tomatoes and vinaigrette.  Add vinaigrette sparingly – you don’t want this dish swimming in it.  Add the avocado and toss lightly.

Roasted Potato and Veggie Salad

This is my first post from my iPad, and an iPad 1 at that. So if you notice anything quirky, that would be the reason! I’m learning as I go! It’s all fun, though 🙂

My friend, Arlene, and I found ourselves with some delicious leftover roasted potato wedges and steamed green beans and asparagus. We gave ourselves a creative recipe challenge and decided to turn them into a salad using whatever else we could find in the refrigerator. This is what we combined:

Roasted potato wedges, cut in thirds

Crisp steamed green beans, rustic chop (Arlene defines her rustic chop as varying lengths to add visual interest)

Crisp steamed asparagus, rustic chop

Red and yellow bell pepper,diced

Roasted red beets, diced

Red onion slivers

Kalamata olives, halved and pitted

Marinated artichoke hearts, quartered

Jumbo green olives, sliced

Feta cheese crumbles

Greek salad dressing – we used Ken’s Steakhouse Greek dressing

We simply tossed it all together and placed in a serving bowl, topped with more cheese crumbles and refrigerated to marinate the flavors.

How creative can you get this summer with your leftovers?


Arlene is doing her “rustic chop” on the veggies!



Grilled Romaine

Hot off the grill, drizzled with a simple balsamic dressing.

Hot off the grill, drizzled with a simple balsamic dressing.

We recently tried a new restaurant for dinner and Scott’s tuna was served with a wonderful side of smokey, char-grilled romaine.  I remember thinking, “oh, we should try this sometime.”  A week or so later, I found some small heads of fresh romaine at Costco and the package said “perfect for grilling.”  We heated up the grill and though Scott was a bit skeptical about the best way to grill it (use a grill pan, on foil or just on the grill?), we went for it, straight on the grill.  Even though we had never tried this before, didn’t have a recipe, and didn’t even Google it, it turned out great – a perfect “creative recipe” kind of dish!   This is how we did it… Ingredients: Small fresh romaine, trimmed, cleaned and halved lengthwise Extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste Your favorite balsamic dressing (I made a quick dressing with 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and some herbs) Directions: Heat the grill to medium.  Brush the romaine all over with some olive oil.

Small heads of romaine, trimmed and halved, brushed with olive oil, ready for the grill.

Small heads of romaine, trimmed and halved, brushed with olive oil, ready for the grill.

Place cut side down on the grill.  Turn occasionally to desired degree of char-grilled-ness (I am pretty sure I just made up that word.)

Just beginning to char nicely.

Just beginning to char nicely.

When you’re happy with your results, transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with some coarse salt and cracked pepper and drizzle with balsamic dressing. A bit more to the story….  That perfect looking romaine half, nicely held in the grill tongs above, soon began to fall apart, meaning the outer leaves came loose.  This made Scott a little nervous, being a more precise kind of grill chef, and he  turned the romaine over to me.  I wasn’t fazed in the least, kind of liking the idea of the outer leaves getting some good grill time on their own – for some extra smokey char-grilled-ness.

Got a little crazy as some of the outer leaves fell off.  But no worries!  The finished dish still came together perfectly.

Got a little crazy as some of the outer leaves fell off. But no worries! The finished dish still came together perfectly.

And the end result both looked and tasted spectacular.  We had compact halves that were char-grilled and even a bit crunchy in the center, along with some extra char-grilled, bit more wilted outer leaves.  Perfectly delicious!  (If you’re more precise, perhaps a skewer stuck horizontally through the romaine would prevent the outer leaves escaping in the future.) While we ate dinner, Scott started thinking of all kinds of ways to trick this up with various dressings, some diced roasted beets, some goat cheese crumbles, and on and on.  Whether you go basic or more creative, the grill part is simple, simple, simple.  Have fun!