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Summer Dinners: Veggie Burgers, Vegan Cheese & Roasted Sweet Taters

Last night we had a wonderful relaxed dinner. Not being pregnant encourages me to dream of what to grill and to make the time to go outside – that and having a 2-year-old who loves being in the back yard is helpful. And Kirk is the master of the grill, so even better! I made a new recipe of veggie burgers up, based on chickpeas and hazelnut meal (although any seed or nut can be used, I had a theme going with my dinner!) Well, something worked because the Toddler ate 1½ burgers for dinner! I was shocked, he just went crazy for them and then had another one for breakfast, cold, smeared in ketchup. That made them a winner in my eyes.

I made s’mores after dinner and enjoyed the balmy sunny day (it actually hit 70° finally!). I let Walker stay up late and we walked down to the lake at dusk for the fireworks. Why travel to a sanctioned city event when you can watch private citizens blow up thousands of $$ in fireworks (legal and not) over our lake. Ford didn’t want to go….lord knows if anyone saw him in the dark with his parents he might die of teenage embarrassment…hah. The Toddler and Baby were happy and both stayed awake till we came home – after 10:30! And both promptly passed out. It was a very nice 4th of July, our 8th here 🙂

A little fireworks on the lake:

So lets start on that menu! First up was the vegan cheese, which I found the recipe on My Sister’s Pantry blog. It is a winner. While it isn’t a stiff cheese you can slice it or spread it on thick. The taste is perfect, serve it on crackers and no one would guess it is vegan.

Vegan Cashew Basil Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh basil leaf, large
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

Directions:

Cover the cashews with filtered water in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain and add to a food processor bowl with the remaining ingredients. Process on high, stopping to scrape the sides often, until it is smooth.

Line a small container with plastic wrap, with extra hanging over, pack the mixture into it and wrap the excess over, gently pressing down. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

To serve, slice thinly or spread on.

Vegan Veggie Burgers

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Hazelnut Meal/Flour
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained or 1½ cups cooked
  • 2 cups carrots, finely shredded
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

Add the hazelnut meal and flour to a large mixing bowl.

Add the chickpeas to a food processor bowl, process until finely chopped, add the carrots, onion and pepper, pulse a few times. Add to the dry and mix with hands until combined. Shape into 6 patties (or 8 smaller) and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Let sit for 30 minutes to set up.

To make on grill – brush or spray both sides with vegetable oil lightly, grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side

To make in a pan – heat a small amount of vegetable oil (such as sunflower) in a large skillet over medium heat, cook for 3 minutes on each side, doing the burgers in two batches, adding more oil as needed.

Makes 6 to 8 patties.

Ready to go on the grill:

On the grill:

Burgers served, topped with thin slices of the cheese:

I adapted this recipe from the October 2011 issue Better Homes and Gardens. It called for adding 2 cups arugula and twice the salt, neither of which was missed. The vinegar adds a neat punch of flavor.

Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Hazelnuts

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp each fine sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup raw hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Peel the sweet potatoes, wash and dry, slice into wedges. Toss with the oil, salt and pepper, spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast on top shelf for 15 minutes, stir and roast for another 15 minutes. Take out, add the garlic and hazelnuts, tossing to coat gently. Roast for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the vinegar on top, turn off the oven and let sit in it with the door open for the vinegar to evaporate while you finish dinner.

~Sarah

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