Featured Stories

You dont have to be fearful of vegan cooking

Let the self-appointed Queen of Veggie Burgers serve as your guide for mouth watering and innovative recipes for your summer barbecues
by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Check out Joni Marie Newman’s book  “The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, 101 Globally Inspired Vegan Creations Packed with Fresh Flavors and Exciting New Tastes”  for inspiration this summer.

OK friends - are you aiming to totally wow your guests at this summer's barbecues? You gotta step up your offerings then. In fact, you may want to go totally hip and serve vegan creations!

Vegan? Yep - vegan foods will be prominently featured at this summer's hottest and hippest parties. And as luck would have it, a new vegan cookbook has been released just in time for the barbecue season.

Joni Marie Newman is the self-appointed Queen of Veggie Burgers. She is the founder of justthefood.com and author of several vegan cookbooks, and has released 'The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, 101 Globally Inspired Vegan Creations Packed with Fresh Flavors and Exciting New Tastes.'

Believe it or not, the book is jam-packed with mouth watering and innovative recipes for wholesome, satisfying burgers that will even have non-vegans clamoring for seconds. Really. You've got to try them, because they are good … no, they are better than good … you are going to really like and enjoy them!

'You are about to embark on a culinary journey that will test your standard knowledge of ingredients and their form, function and texture,' says Joni in the book's introduction. 'Foods that you thought should be eaten with a fork or spoon have been transformed into round, handheld patties of goodness that serve up most perfectly between two pieces of bread.'

The cookbook has a chapter devoted entirely to breakfast burgers; recipes include Denver Omelet Burger, Log Cabin Burger, Peaches and Cream Burger and PB and J Burger, among others.

Other chapters are separated into cuisines, such as Burgers from the Far East, Burgers from the Middle East, Burgers from the Boot, Burgers from the Heartland, Burgers with Latin Flavor and Burgers from Around the World.

The chapter on Burgers for the Holidays includes a Matzo Burger, Oktoberfest Kraut Burger, Cinco de Mayo Burger and an All-the-Fixins' Holiday Burger.

Other chapters cover condiments and sauces, buns and breads, sides and salads and desserts.

Still need convincing? Okay, do State Fair Cheeseburgers sound tasty? Or how about Korean BBQ Burgers, Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Burgers or Chicken Fried Steak Burgers?

To add some zip to your summer barbecues, devote space on your grill to veggie burgers. Try some of these recipes this weekend!

Bon Appetit! Eat something unusual!

Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Burger

Makes 4 burgers

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, with liquid

3 or 4 cloves garlic

1 red bell pepper

2 tablespoons tahini paste

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper

2 cups chickpea flour

oil for frying (optional)

Empty the can of chickpeas, along with the liquid, into a saucepan, add the garlic, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

While the beans are simmering, roast the red pepper. Using tongs, place the entire pepper on an open flame. Your gas stove burner works perfect for this. Roast it until it is blackened and soft. Let cool and remove the seeds and stem.

After the beans are done simmering, strain out the liquid, reserving the garlic.

To a food processor or blender, add the beans, garlic, seeded fire-roasted pepper, tahini, sesame oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl and add the flour, ½ cup at a time, until a patty-able consistency is reached. Depending on the moisture content of your beans and pepper, more or less flour may be needed.

Form into 4 patties and cook as desired. Fry in oil for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy, or bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat at 350ºF for 15 to 20 minutes per side, covering in a foil tent to retain moisture, until firm and warmed all the way through.

Popeye Burger

Makes 8 burgers

This recipe calls for canned spinach, which I consider a ghastly food. Feel free to wilt a pound of fresh spinach or a 10-ounce bag of frozen spinach, then squeeze the spinach dry and use it instead! BR

2 cups uncooked brown rice

1 14-ounce can spinach (see note above)

1 cup quick-cooking oats

½ cup raw or toasted pine nuts

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon ground mustard

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

3 tablespoons sesame oil

Salt and pepper

Oil for frying

Prepare the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove according to package directions.

Drain the excess liquid from the spinach (if using canned, see note above again) and place in a mixing bowl with the oats, let sit while the rice is cooking. The oats will absorb the moisture from the spinach and soften.

When the rice is fully cooked, mix it into the spinach mixture and add the pine nuts, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard, basil, paprika, oil and salt and pepper to taste.

When it is cool enough to handle, form into eight patties.

Panfry in a little oil, about 3 to 5 minutes per side until golden and crispy, or bake at 350º F for 15 minutes per side, covered loosely in foil, until firm and warmed all the way through, or grill. If you grill, wrap in foil to avoid having them fall apart, for about 20 minutes, until firm and warmed all the way through.

Joni enjoys these with her Sun-dried Tomato Aioli, so here is that recipe, too.

Sun-dried Tomato Aioli

Makes just over 1 cup

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ cup pine nuts

¾ cup vegan mayonnaise, store bought or homemade

Salt and pepper

In a food processor, combine the garlic, tomatoes, and paprika and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Add the pine nuts, mayonnaise, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

Store in an airtight container, in the fridge, until ready to use.

Adapted from The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, by Joni Marie Newman, 2011.

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-635-8811 ext 101 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .