Well, I didn’t end up in Richmond this weekend, so no yummy Ethiopian outings or fancy beer runs happened, but I did manage to fill up my weekend quite completely with Roanoke’s Festival in the Park (no, no country music listening occurred on my part), hiking up Mill Mountain (my favorite “urban” hike here), cheering on my friends in Mountains of Misery, drinking delicious margaritas in the rain on the patio of Cabo’s in Blacksburg, and watching The Brothers Bloom (new favorite movie–as my friend said, “It’s terminally cute”) at a friend’s cook-out/movie night on Monday. Whew.

At the beginning of the weekend, though, was my weekly farmers market run and while I didn’t go too crazy buying up new ingredients, my finds of the week were a quart of fresh, local strawberries (totally worth the $6), a pint of shitake mushrooms, and a small bunch of these wild, twisty, giant chive looking things called “garlic scapes.” Now the strawberries and mushrooms I could take care of, but garlic scapes top the list of “nope never had ’em, have no idea what to do with them.”

The internet, thankfully, exists and informed me that garlic scapes are merely the plant part that grows out of the garlic, the leaves, if you will. Pretty benign, no? But what to do with them? Again, the internet conquers all and informed me that Dorie posted a recipe last summer for garlic scape pesto–delicious!

So I made my own vegan version with what I had on hand and let me tell you, dear readers, garlic scape pesto is to die for. I mean, don’t make it on a first or fifth date, unless both of you are eating copious amounts because wow, it’s potently garlic, but scapes give the pesto a spicy bite with the garlic and an earthy undertone. Without any basil it does seem like a wannabe pesto, but if this is what wannabes are, I wanna eat it. Toss it with pasta and veggies (I simply sauteed onions, sliced carrots, shitakes, and kale and tossed them with the pesto with whole wheat spaghetti), serve it as a spread on fresh baguette–do whatever with it you would normally do with pesto. It’s a great early summer substitute for the basil harvest we’ll be getting soon!

Garlic Scape Pesto

adapted from Dorie Greenspan

10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers
1/3 c cashews
approx. 1/2 c olive oil
Sea salt

Put the scapes, capers, cashews, and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if needed to thin the texture. Season with salt.

Makes approx. 1 cup.

It’s almost the weekend and a long weekend at that–anyone else excited? Tonight I’m going to see Clarence Carter perform at an outdoor venue (who knew Roanoke could get a cool soul musician???), then tomorrow is a half day of work, and then I’m off to Richmond for a bit. Vegan food on the horizon! I’m thinking I’ll have to talk my uncle and his wife into getting Ethiopian–it’s been far too long since I had some injeera. Anyone else have exciting plans?

Part of getting ready for Clarence Carter was preparing a bit of concert food. Since they don’t allow coolers in (I hate that policy–I have no desire to buy an overpriced Bud Light) I decided not to go whole hog (err…tofu) with the picnic idea, but rather to just bring a little snack. And last weekend when I picked up the sweet red cherries at the farmers market I knew almost immediately what I wanted to do with them. Make cherry empanadas of course! So tonight I’m taking some empanadas to the concert. A little bourgeois, maybe, but whatever.

Now you know me, I can’t just make a simple version of anything (unless it’s intentionally simple). Thus the gluten-free buckwheat cherry chocolate empanada was born. Maybe this empanada isn’t exactly authentic, maybe it’s more like a handpie–I don’t know. All I know is that they’re out of this world, with hardly any sugar added. Who would want to mask the tart sweetness of the cherries? The buckwheat gluten-free pastry gives the empanada a savory side which, I think, pairs well with the tart-sweet-smooth chocolatelyness of the filling. And instead of making a typical cherry pie-like filling, I went with the apple pie filling route: just cherries, chocolate, a dash of sugar & lemon juice, voila. They get two thumbs up from my non-gluten-free, non-vegan testers, so I guess that’s a win. So go make some fruit empanadas this weekend with whatever is fresh in your area! You won’t regret it!

Buckwheat Cherry Chocolate Empanadas

For the pastry:
3/4 c buckwheat flour
1/2 c chickpea flour
1/4 c rice flour
1/4 c sorghum flour
1 tsp xanthum gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2/3 c Earth Balance/butter substitute
1/4-1/2 c ice water

For the filling:
1 1/2 c sweet red cherries
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rice flour

In a large bowl, combine the gluten-free flours, salt, sugar, and xanthum gum.

Using a pastry cutter, cut in the Earth Balance in tablespoon size chunks until it is mealy with no chunks of Earth Balance left.

Add the ice water a little at a time, using a spoon to evenly distribute it until a large clump/ball forms. You only want the pastry wet enough to press into a ball–no wetter.

Wrap in saran wrap and let chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, pit the cherries and cut them in half. I used this trick to pit them from the Kitchn and it worked great! Chop the chocolate.

In a small bowl, combine the chocolate and cherry halves with the sugar, lemon juice, and rice flour. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two baking sheets with oil.

Take the pastry out of the fridge. Using only a small chunk at a time (a small fist-sized chunk), roll out the dough between parchment/wax paper or saran wrap (I used the latter and it worked fine). You want the dough to be approximately 1/4 inch thick, no thinner.

Using something approximately 4″ in diameter (I had a giant coffee cup that worked), cut a circle from the dough.

Place on the baking sheet where you’re going to bake it (the dough can be hard to work with, you don’t want to use it much) and place 1-2 tbsp of the cherry mixture on one half of the circle. Fold over in half and pinch the edges closed. Repeat until there is no more dough/cherries.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown at the edges. Let cool for 15 minutes before eating.

Makes 15 empanadas.

Last Saturday I had the immense pleasure of going to the Grandin market for the first time since the last weekend of October–and let me tell you, it was good to be back!  After catching up with farmers and producers I hadn’t seen in months, I finally settled on buying a bunch of new herbs & vegetables to plant in the garden (lemon balm, sage, tons of basil, spaghetti squash, etc.) along with some lettuce and fresh sweet cherries.  One of my favorite scores, though, was finding the chicken of the woods mushrooms again!  Oh, how I’ve missed these strange, chickeny fungi.

The last couple of times I had them I simply braised or seared them, but this time I decided to go out on a limb–a highly sacrilegious limb, or so it felt. You see, the mushrooms are always my most expensive purchase–$5 for about two servings (although I stretch it out)–and while that’s all relative, the thought of deep frying such expensive delicacies seemed wrong.

A couple of weeks ago I spent the evening chatting with the man who holds the title of the largest morel found in Iowa. This guy hunts up morels so often that he deep fries them. I gave him hell for that–I mean, why on earth would anyone deep fry a morel?! It’s just wrong! I’ve only had the chance to eat them twice in my life and this man deep fries them?? Well…I deep fried my chicken of the woods and holy mother of mary they were awesome. The batter was just like the fried chicken I grew up eating at church picnics (cheesy but true) and the mushroom still, I honestly swear, tastes like and has the texture of chicken. It’s uncanny. Sacrilegious or no, these fungi are wicked good.

Southern Fried Chicken of the Woods

2 large chicken of the woods mushrooms
1/4 c En-Er-G Egg Replacer
1/2 c water
3 tbs siracha/hot sauce
1 c self-rising flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
vegetable oil for frying

Thoroughly wash and clean the mushrooms and cut into desired size.

Whisk together the egg replacer and the water in a bowl until foamy and thick. Add the siracha/hot sauce.

In a pie pan or 8×8 baking dish, mix together the self-rising flour, salt, and pepper.

Warm at least 3 inches of vegetable in a pot (I used my circa 1973 Fry Daddy) until a drop of water crackles and pops when flicked into the oil.

Dredge the mushrooms in the egg replacer mixture and then in the flour, thoroughly coating each piece.

Fry two or three mushroom pieces at a time, being sure not to crowd because that will lower the temperature of the oil.

Once golden brown, place on paper towels to drain excess oil.

Serves 2

This past week has been crazy, a lot of sleep to catch up on, ankles to rest, etc. after my time in Mobile. Turns out I injured my ankle pretty badly while making the wedding cake/rehearsal dinner/reception. Not sure what I did to it, don’t remember twisting it or anything, but I’m not able to run or go on my usual longer bike rides. I feel a little pent up, not going to lie. But I am swimming regularly, since it’s the one thing that hurts slightly less than everything else, and I’m still riding my bike around town for transportation (hope my mom doesn’t read this, she’s urging me to stay off it, which I probably should…but I just can’t…ahhhh conundrums!). Injuries aside, I swear (for the last time) I’m back on schedule here.

Looking back at my pictures, though, I can’t help but smile quite a bit when I remember pelicans and sailboats and dancing around to Nola-style jazz at the reception. Making the wedding cake? Not so fond memories, but, with my mother’s help, it turned out alright. And doesn’t my mother look beautiful? She & Todd were the very picture of pure joy (as cheesy as that probably sounds, it’s true)–they give me so much hope for real love and community in life. I was so blessed to be able to share the journey with them!

But back to life in the ‘noke, though. This week has been a blur of wrapping up my 1st year of grad school–mostly meetings, I finished all my projects last week while in Alabama–and continuing to work as much as possible before the public school system’s year ends and I’m jobless until August. Given that I never know what day I’ll work and where I’ll be working, I like to keep lunchroom-friendly leftovers on hand, and given that I still had about 2 lbs of corn tortillas leftover from the enchiladas and a package of tempeh sitting in my fridge and homemade chili powder on hand, I figured I might as well put them to list.

While tempeh tacos might not be too utterly original or interesting, I think that the simplicity of the tacos is what makes them shine. I simply marinated the tempeh, sauteed it in some olive oil, and served it on the fresh tortillas with local, organic salad greens, diced tomatoes, and my version of my favorite Mexican diner’s hot sauce. They just go to show that you make excellent entrees with relatively few ingredients. I also served the tacos with some fried potatoes, but I’m saving that recipe for a rainy day.

Edit:: An Apple A Day is hosting a TofuXPress giveaway–go check it out!

GF Tempeh Tacos & Super Hot Salsa

for the Taco-Style Tempeh:

1 package gluten-free tempeh
1/3 c + 2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp dark chili powder

Cut the tempeh into thirds, then cut each third in half width-wise to make nine equal-sized thin rectangles.

In an 8×8 baking dish, mix the 1/3 c olive oil and Bragg’s together. Dredge the tempeh in the mixture and then place in the baking dish. Sprinkle the minced garlic and chili powder on one side of the tempeh.

Let marinate for 4-6 hours, flipping over after two hours.

After the tempeh is marinated, warm 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute the tempeh on both sides until lightly brown and crispy. Set aside to cool.

For the Super Hot Sauce:

3 medium slicer tomatoes
1 onion
2 jalepenos
1-3 chiles de arbol
water

In a blender, puree the tomatoes, onion, japenos, and chiles de arbol. Add a little water if needed to puree. (Note: chiles de arbol are super hot–beware! I use 3, but I have a stomach of steel and adore ridiculously hot peppers. For the general public, 1 chile de arbol is more than enough.)

for the Tacos:

1 recipe Taco-Style Tempeh
1 recipe Super Hot Sauce
1 tomato, diced
1 c mixed salad greens
24 fresh corn tortillas

Warm the corn tortillas in the oven or microwave.

Slice the each rectangle of tempeh into 4 smaller rectangles.

Use two tortillas per taco (double layer them) and place a small handful of greens in the tortilla, then layer three or four pieces of tempeh on top of the greens and sprinkle diced tomatoes on top.

Serve with the hot sauce (drizzle inside the taco or dip the taco in the hot sauce).

Serves 4.

You know when you crave something and then you don’t make it and then, for weeks or months, you have this little nagging desire at the back of your brain?  I’ve been wanting to make enchiladas for the longest time, but during my food funk I never got around to making them, and two or three months later I finally decided to give them a go–that’s what friends and weekly potlucks are for: motivation.

But, with my enchiladas, I didn’t want to make the usual vegan version–the ubiquitous V*Con sweet potato and kale ones. I love the V*Con enchiladas as much as I love both sweet potatoes and kale, but I’m a bit sweet potatoed out these days. So when I saw Homesick Texan’s cheese enchiladas with a chili gravy, I knew I had to make them. But what filling to use?

Then it hit me–if I’m going to the amazing Mexican grocery store on the outskirts of town to buy chiles to make my own chili powder, then I might as well pick up something like sweet potatoes but not–i.e. plantains. I’d heard about plantain mash, but never made it, so I thought it might make a good base for the filling, and with black beans and corn mixed in, the entire combo sounded like a winner.

Important note regarding the homemade chili powder which I think is integral to this recipe: blister the dried chiles in your oven, not in a cast iron skillet. I love my cast iron, but the first recipe I made burned the peppers because the flame was too hot. Using the oven, at least, you can monitor the peppers easier and pull them out before the burn completely (something which is hard to see on a guajillo which has a dark skin). When in doubt, blister them for four, five minutes at a max and then take them out. Better to be underblistered than overblistered.

And one of the best things about the recipe? You can take any leftover tortillas, plantain mash, beans, and corn and make quesadillas! Who needs cheese when you’ve got plantains and homemade chili gravy?

Gluten-Free Plantain & Black Bean Enchiladas

for the Plantain Mash:

2 ripe (yellow with black spots) plantains
water
1 tsp salt

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.

Peel and cut the plantains into equal size chunks. When the water is boiling, add the plantains to the water and cook for 12-15 minutes, until the plantains are soft.

Drain the water, rinse the plantains, and put in a medium bowl and mash. Set aside.

for the Chili Gravy
slightly adapted from Homesick Texan:

1/4 c vegetable oil
1/8 c oat flour
1/8 c sorghum flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp powdered garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp chile powder
2 c vegetable broth

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flours and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.

Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients.

Add vegetable broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens.

Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Add water to adjust the thickness.

for the Enchiladas:

1 recipe Plantain Mash
1 recipe Chili Gravy
8-9 corn tortillas
1/2 can of black beans
1/2 c frozen/fresh corn
vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 450.

Pour the 1/2 an inch of oil in a small skillet, and heat the tortillas one at a time, flipping over to warm each side. Add more oil as needed. Keep them wrapped in a cloth until all 8 are heated.

Pour 1/2 cup of chili gravy in an 8×8 glass baking pan.

Take a tortilla, put 2 large spoonfuls of plantain mash in the tortilla. Add 1 spoonful of black beans and corn on top. Roll the tortilla and place, seam side down, in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Pour remaining chili gravy on top of the enchiladas and bake for 10 minutes until bubbly.

Serves 4

Greetings from Mobile, AL!  I’m down here for a week for my mom’s wedding (which I making the wedding cake for too) and these few days before the festivities and cooking hit full swing, we’re trying to eat as light and flavorful as possible (everyone wants to fit into their dress/suit…such a delicious drag).  So last night we grilled out–my first cook-out of the year–and while the recipes are simple, you can’t beat fresh grilled vegetables.

The eggplant slices were marinated in a store-bought marinade, but the corn was slathered in basil butter (mix 2 tbsp fresh minced basil with 4 tbsp Earth Balance) and wrapped in foil before grilling.  The zucchini and yellow squash were put in a foil packet with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Everything, of course grills at it’s own pace, but the corn takes the longest, followed by the zucchini and the eggplant.  Served over a little leftover quinoa and the plate was perfect!

I’m hoping to keep this updated on my regular schedule, but we’ll see how it goes with the wedding prep and all.  Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

How I spent my Saturday:

Swimming

Biking

Running

and eating a lot of veggie burgers.

Finished a perfect 100 out of all the women and under 2 hours (and didn’t drown during the swimming part!!!)–met my goal!

This past weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a CouchSurfer from Austria. She came into Roanoke for a conference after far too many delays thanks to Eyjafjallajökull (say that one time fast) and due to my crazy schedule I wasn’t able to cook with her as much as I wanted, but by Sunday morning things died down enough for me to be able to whip up some gluten-free banana bourbon pecan waffles while listening to the week’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me (at least this week Georgia didn’t make the news…).

I really love Sunday mornings.

The waffles didn’t need to be gluten-free (neither of us are gluten-intolerant), but you know me, I have to go the extra mile to see if it’ll work. With my overripe bananas, a freezer full of pecans, and a bit of Maker’s Mark left in my cupboard, I figured why not, let’s see if buckwheat & sorghum can do the trick. And they did. Sorghum is, I think, one of my favorite gluten-free flours simply because it doesn’t have a weird taste/texture and it always performs well when I use it. These waffles are, perhaps, the best waffles I’ve ever made. Ever. And even with the mix being half buckwheat (a flour I love love love but which many people think has a strong taste), the waffles just had a nutty, whole grainy taste to them. The buckwheat definitely wasn’t overpowering. And who can say no to bananas and nuts and liquor?

If only I’d had a mimosa to go with them…

Gluten-free Banana Bourbon Pecan Waffles

1 c buckwheat flour
1 c sorghum flour
1 1/2 c soy milk (or other nondairy milk)
1/4 c bourbon
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tbsp turbinado sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 over ripe bananas
1 c pecans, chopped

Preheat waffle iron.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas until they are a smooth puree. Add the sugar, soy milk, bourbon, and oil and mix thoroughly to combine.

Add the flours, salt, and baking powder and mix to combine (until there are no lumps). Stir in the chopped pecans.

Scoop 1/4-1/3 cup batter into the waffle iron and let cook for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown and crispy on the outside (my circa 1955 waffle iron stops steaming at the point the waffles are done). Remove waffles with a fork and repeat until all batter is used.

Makes 6 large waffles.

It’s come to my attention that I haven’t updated in…oh…a month? My goodness, how time has flown! You don’t need to hear my excuses, but I do want to assure you that I didn’t die in Atlanta, since that’s where I last left you, and that I am alive and well and cooking (although the cooking thing and I took a month off too). The important thing is that I’m back and I’m going to start slogging through my GoogleReader to catch back up with you all too. I’ve missed you!

This past Sunday we celebrated Neighbor’s Day at our weekly potluck and given the beautiful weather (tall, stormy clouds punctuated by bright blue sky–no rain) we ate outside in the courtyard of the apartment building. It seemed like there were at least 20 people at some point, a great number, and definitely a smorgasbord of food and wine.

Like I said, I haven’t been cooking much, but I decided to whip out the kitchen knives and have a go at a recipe. Five sweet potatoes were left from my last farmer’s market haul of 2009 and since the first farmer’s market is this weekend (which I’ll miss due to the triathlon, sigh) I decided to use ’em up. I knew we would be grilling in the courtyard in addition to just being outside, so I decided to go with a potato salad based on sweet potatoes. A quick search came up with Mark Bittman’s Sweet Potato Salad with Black Beans and Chili Dressing and it sounded way too good to pass up.

Truth be told, I didn’t change anything in the recipe besides add an extra chili or two to the dressing and it was a hit. The roasted sweet potatoes add a sweetness to the salad while the raw peppers add crunch. The dressing, with it’s acid base and chili kick is the perfect complement. And who doesn’t love black beans? I served the salad warm because I cooked it right before I took it to potluck, but after having some leftovers that were chilled, I’m a huge fan of it that way too. I know sweet potatoes aren’t the most seasonal ingredient, but this is definitely something to keep in mind for your next cookout if you’re looking to shake up the traditional items a bit.

Sweet Potato Salad with Chili Dressing

from Mark Bittman

5-6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large red onion, chopped
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tbsp minced fresh hot chili, like jalapeño (I added a dried Thai pepper and another one that was roundish–no idea what it was–for extra heat)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 c lime juice
2 c cooked black beans, drained (1 can’s worth)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 c chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (I went the parsley route since I detest cilantro)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put sweet potatoes and onions on separate large baking sheets, drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil, toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown on corners and are just tender inside, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; keep on pan until ready to mix with dressing (Note: the onions didn’t need to be roasted as long as the sweet potatoes, so I took them out first).

Put chilies in a blender or mini food processor along with garlic, lime juice, remaining olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Process until blended. (Note: at this point, adjust for taste–add more lime juice or another chili as desired).

Put warm vegetables in a large bowl with beans and bell peppers; toss with dressing and parsley/cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a day.

One of the joys of simultaneously being a substitute teacher and a grad student is that I get two spring breaks–one from my classes and one from teaching. Granted, while I’d rather be earning some money, the break from work gives me the perfect excuse to do something fun with my time (something I failed to do while on spring break from graduate school). So tomorrow I’m headed south to Atlanta!

I haven’t been to Atlanta since Thanksgiving, so I’m super stoked to meet up with friends, eat great food (Soul Veg, Green Sprout, Holeman & Finch, here I come), drink at my favorite bars (a pint at The Marlay, a glass of wine at Carroll Street Cafe? Don’t mind if I do), watch some cycling on tv (Tour of Flanders is on Sunday), and enjoy the gorgeous spring weather at my favorite parks (Grant Park, Lullwater, Fernbank Forest). I’ll also be heading over to my brother and sister-in-law’s place to celebrate my nephew’s 1st birthday, and, at some point, I have to remember to keep running in order to stay somewhat on track for the triathlon in just one month (May 1). Thanks to Sara’s post on Vibram’s FiveFinger shoes, I think I’m going to use my REI 20% off coupon and my giftcard from Christmas to pick up a pair of the Sprints to run in–anyone use fingershoes, have any tips/suggestions?

Whew, it’s going to be an amazing-exhausting weekend. But I cannot wait, so excited!

And since I’ve tuckered myself out just thinking about the next four or five days, how about a sandwich?

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a veggie burger–mostly because I think they’re all pretty much the same. I mean, they’re not, but they are? Beans + breading + spices + some veggies is the formula for most. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great formula, but it’s not exactly the most blog-friendly or exciting formula ever. But when Barbara posted a recipe for some eggplant tofu meatballs, I knew I had to make them, with a vegan twist!

I already had some eggplant that was about to go bad and a block of tofu in my fridge, and, since flaxseed acts as an egg replacer, I knew the burgers would hold together nicely. The only trick was to play with the spices and other seasoning components to get it right. While these aren’t gluten-free as is, the other day I found rice bread crumbs at the Asian grocery store and I think they’d be a great substitute for regular breadcrumbs. As for the texture, well, they are a little mushy, but that’s due to the tofu–if you freeze the tofu beforehand and then crumble it in, the texture will be a bit more meaty. Otherwise, the flavor of these is great and, personally, I don’t mind the texture at all. My favorite way to cook them is to defrost/cook them in my George Foreman Grill and then toss them in a cast iron pan with a little olive oil and fry them crispy on the outside. Served on a sweet potato roll with sauted garlicky kale and veganaise, these little burgers are just plain delicious.

Also, don’t forget to check out Meghan’s new tutorial on everyday superfoods–and if you blog about it today or email her, you might be able to win a free copy of it!

Eggplant Tofu Burgers

adapted from Barbara of Dish n’ That

olive oil
1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp smoky paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 lb firm tofu
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp tamari soy sauce/Braggs Amino Acid
1 1/2 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water to make a flax egg
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 1/2 c panko bread crumbs/rice bread crumbs (available at Asian grocery stores)–you will need more or less depending on how wet your mixture is

Saute the eggplant in a skillet over medium-low heat in 1-2 tbsp olive oil for 10-12 minutes, until browned. Set aside.

In another skillet (or in the same, without the eggplant in it), saute the onion and carrots in 1 tbsp olive oil for 7-10 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more, until fragrant. Add the herbs and spices and saute for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

After the eggplant and the onion mixture have cooled, in a large bowl, combine the eggplant and onion mixture. Crumble in the tofu. Add the tomato paste and soy sauce/Bragg’s. Add the flax seed mixture. Mix thoroughly. Add the nutritional yeast. Mix in the breadcrumbs, using more or less, until you can form individual patties.

Form patties and bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, grill on a George Foreman (or regular grill), or brown in oil on the stove. Individually wrap the remaining burgers in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag in the freezer for future use.

Makes 14-16 medium-sized burgers.