Stellar Quinoa Burgers

February 28, 2016
Stellar Quinoa Burgers - A really great veggie burger recipe is always nice to have on hand. This version is both tasty and hearty. Sweet potato are a binder, quinoa for protein, & mushrooms for depth.

Happy Sunday!

What are you up to this weekend?

Feb 28 Weekend 3-680x

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We’ve been staying pretty close to home.  The weather in Iowa has been in the 60s(!), so we’re finding every excuse we can to be outside.

I got in a long walk, while my sweet husband washed all of our windows, and cooked dinner.  He came home Friday evening with a few bags of groceries and a stack of recipes for inspiration.  While they all sounded great, happily he landed on the Hasselback chicken and potatoes

As we sat down for dinner, I couldn’t help but think that having someone cook for you is truly one of life’s simple pleasures, and how thankful I am that he’s in my life

I’ve always been one to practice gratitude, although admittedly this week it’s been at the forefront of my mind.  Those who follow The Veggies will know we have the privilege of living with and loving an

older dog

Wally 1-680x

Wally (We love you!)

This past year we’ve had the incredibly moving, and humbling honor of being by his side as he’s had good days, along with bad. We’ve watched him rapidly slow down.  Our walks became shorter, he lost the stamina to make it through an afternoon at daycare, and his nights have become increasingly difficult

This week we sat, as we always do when we visit the vet.  He is his chair and I, in mine

“We’re ready for our next medicine.  There has to be something else you can give him that will get us through the days?  Something stronger for the pain?  In a form, he’s willing to take without a struggle?”

“It’s time for you and your husband to begin talking about his quality of life.”

He moved to my lap and hasn’t left my side since

I’ve been struggling this week to find words that would do justice to the emotions of my heart.  Maybe the best I’m able to do is know that I’ve been softened by the season, slowed down in my thoughts, and perhaps a bit rawer and open with my emotions.

Yet another reminder that life is precious and lovely, and very much bittersweet.  With days that are full of beauty, barking,  laughter, togetherness, gratitude, and even a few tears

As I’ve processed, my mind keeps returning to one of the many lessons he’s taught me along the way.  That sadness and joy aren’t always meant to be opposites.  He’s shown me they’re able to co-exist, not just in the same day, but in the same moments, in the same

tender and unguarded hearts

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Photo Credit: Wally and Z via The Ames Pet Resort

Whether we have fur or we don’t, growing older seems to demand a subtle, but a profound shift of our attention.  No longer able to race from one thing to the next, we have little choice but to slow down and become more present

Sensing the shortness of time, we begin to take heed, to appreciate all of the little things, which of course aren’t really little after all.  A nice lap for sitting, driving with the windows down and the wind blowing through your fur, a favorite treat, napping in the car listening to NPR, a long walk at the park, falling asleep together, and scaring that darn mailman off (yet again!)

I love to watch him, with his clear sense of what really matters in life, togetherness.  Instead of taking life for granted, to find joy in the simple, in this incredible miracle we’ve been offered.

That of simply being

Another reminder of one thing I know for sure, that the time we have here is but a blink of an eye, and how important it is to make the most of each and every day we’ve been given.

How profoundly thankful I am that he was entrusted to my care, and given to me to love.  How thankful I am for all of the years we’ve had together, and whatever time remains

A favorite yoga instructor used to say

“Things have already worked out” 

Indeed, I’ve come to accept that they have, they do, and they most certainly will.  In the meanwhile, we’ll live in the moment,  enjoying and being grateful for the most precious gift we’ve been given.  The gift of


Bon Appetit Quinoa Burgers 4-6-1024x

A really great veggie burger recipe is always nice to have on hand.  This version is both tasty and hearty with sweet potato for a binder, quinoa for protein, and meaty mushrooms for depth.

These aren’t burgers to be grilled. Instead, they’re delicate and moist and probably couldn’t handle a flip on the grates.  They’re best pan-seared or baked.

For parties, they’d be adorable small without the bun and served with a selection of dips.  Double-pronged toothpicks would make for easy dipping.  I also could envision them on mini sliders



~ Adapted from Cafe Pasqual’s, Santa Fe, NM via Bon Appetit | January 2016

Stellar Quinoa Burgers


  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt freshly ground pepper
  • 1 portobello mushroom
  • ½ small zucchini
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 English muffins split, toasted
  • Guacamole tomato chutney, and sprouts (for serving; optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350° F
  • Prick sweet potato all over with a fork; rub with 1 Tbsp. oil, then season with salt and pepper. Roast directly on oven rack until tender, 30–45 minutes. Let cool. Remove and discard skin; mash flesh with a fork. Set aside.
  • Remove stem from mushroom; discard. Pulse cap in a food processor until finely chopped. Coarsely grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater; gather up in a kitchen towel and squeeze out excess liquid.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over low. Cook shallot and red pepper flakes, stirring often, until shallot is soft, about 2 minutes. Add mushroom and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to release their liquid but have not taken on any color, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in quinoa and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
  • Add breadcrumbs, lemon juice, and about ¼ cup reserved mashed sweet potato to quinoa mixture and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. If the mixture is too loose, add more sweet potato to bind.
  • Divide mixture into 4 portions and form into patties, pressing firmly together with your hands. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over medium and cook 2 patties until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side; season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 2 patties.
  • Build burgers with patties, toasted English muffins, guacamole, tomato chutney, and sprouts.
Serves: 4
Nutrition + Show
Calories 405
Total Fat 16.5g
Saturated Fat 2.3g
Carbohydrates 57.3g
Fiber 8.1g
Sugars 9g
Protein 10.8g
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