Veggies on the counter

Roasted Carrot & Black Bean Salad with Orange Cinnamon Dressing

Posted in salads by veggies on the counter on December 30, 2014

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I don’t share the enthusiasm most people have for Christmas. My close family is very small and I’m with them all year around, so gathering for an occasion I personally couldn’t care less about (I respect all religions, but I’m not a religious person) just seems a bit pointless. Having said this, it doesn’t come as a surprise that I don’t bother cooking a big, impressive meal for Christmas Eve. In fact, I cook the same kind of food I do everyday, like this little carrot and black bean salad.

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This dish is easy to pull off and it’s packed full of good things for you. It’s also perfect for this time of the year when, after the carb and sugar filled holidays, people seek to lighten up their eating. You can also adapt the ingredients, like substituting the black beans for chickpeas or even the carrots for sweet potatoes. The dressing is very fragrant and gives an exotic edge to the salad too. After cooking my way through Plenty More these last couple of weeks, I borrowed some ideas from Ottolenghi, and one of those is adding spices to salad dressings, like cinnamon and/or fennel seeds.

I wish you guys a wonderful new year, and I’ll come back by the end of the week  with one of my favourite soup recipes –keeping the mood light and clean. ;)

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Roasted Carrot & Black Bean Salad with Orange Cinnamon Dressing

serves 2

For the salad:

645 g / 10 medium sized carrots, peeled and left whole

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed

1 ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed

1 tablespoon olive oil

270 g / 1 ½ cups cooked black beans (canned is fine)

20 grams chopped parsley

20 grams chopped mint

20 grams chopped coriander

30 grams / ½ small red onion, finely diced

1 medium avocado, thinly sliced

salt and pepper to taste

For the orange cinnamon dressing:

zest of one large orange

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, minced

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180º. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Combine the carrots with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the cumin and coriander seeds. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper, toss, and roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until the carrots have cooked through and are lightly brown.

Mix the remaining ingredients for the salad in a large bowl, and add the carrots on top. Combine the ingredients for the dressing and drizzle over the salad. Serve immediately.

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Black Bean and Red Pepper Burgers

Posted in appetizers, breakfast & brunch, main courses, sandwiches by veggies on the counter on June 7, 2013

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If you check this blog regularly, chances are you’ve probably noticed that I have a soft spot for veggie burgers. Out of the 62 recipes posted to date in here, 6 of them consist of some sort of patties – and being honest, I think there will be a lot more to come. What I mostly like about veggie burgers is that you can play around with ingredient and flavour combinations – mixing spices, nuts, whole grains, legumes and vegetables – and end up with a protein-packed component of a dish. When paired with a salad of sorts, they make quite a satisfying meal.

This burger in particular came out of the need to clean up the fridge: there was this neglected pepper in the bottom shelf that would go bad in a matter of days, halves of onions wrapped up in parchment paper for a supposed later use, a nearly empty large jar of olives… I could go on. I strongly encourage you to give these a try as they have a contrast of flavour and texture – soft and salty olives / crunchy and nutty seeds – that really seals the deal for me.

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When it comes to serve them, this time around I thought of something different from “the classic” – in between two pieces of bread – and came up with the idea of wrapping the patties in thin slices of grilled eggplant. The eggplant adds extra moisture and a distinct smoky flavour that I’m particularly fond of. In case you want to up the patties’ (already high) protein content, an open-faced “sandwich” made with grilled Portobello mushrooms – just like this one – would be an excellent choice.

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Black Bean and Red Pepper Burgers

(makes 6 patties)

2 large onions / 300g / 2 cups, finely chopped

1 medium sized red bell pepper / 220g / 1 cup, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle

1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (1/2 teaspoon if using regular paprika)

240 g / 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained

60 g / ½ cup buckwheat flakes (you can substitute with rolled oats)

55 g / 1/3 cup green olives, coarsely chopped

40 g / 1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1 big handful chopped coriander

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sunflower seeds and toast them for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and smell fragrant.

In the same skillet you used for toasting the seeds, add the finely chopped garlic cloves, coriander and cumin seeds, smoked paprika and olive oil. Cook the spices and garlic over a medium-high flame for 1 minute.

Add the onions, pepper and salt to the skillet, give it a good stir, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover the skillet with a lid and let the mixture cook for about 15 minutes, or until the onion and pepper bits are soft and slightly caramelised. You should check the skillet every 5 minutes to avoid burning the mixture – if the latter seems dry, add up to 2 tablespoons of water each time you check it out.

Once the onion mixture has been cooked and cooled down, add half of it to the bowl of a food processor. Add the beans as well. Pulse a few times, or until you get a sticky but consistent paste.

Transfer the bean and onion mixture to a bowl. Add the buckwheat flakes and incorporate well using a wooden spoon. Add the chopped green olives, toasted sunflower seeds and coriander as well. Mix again. You’ll end up with a slightly moister mixture, but it should still be possible to make patties out of it. To make the job easier, wet your hands with cold water and shape the mixture into 6 burgers (or more, depending on the size you choose).

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil, over a medium flame, in a large skillet. Add the patties and cook them for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with your favourite condiments and fixings or as suggested above.