Our American diet glorifies meat. I went to a steakhouse in New York last year and shared a 44 oz platter of steak. My friend and I finished about 40 oz of it including the 4 side dishes we got. First off…that was ridiculous. I learned a couple of things from this experience: (1) never go into any restaurant hungry as heck and (2) avoid building a meal around meat. Why? Generally, although meat and meat products are high in protein, they also offers high levels of saturated fat, which in consistently high amounts can lead to cardiovascular problems. Even “lean” meats have a higher percentage of fat than you think. An average consumer may read “lean” and think that the meat is somehow “better” because it is “low fat.” But if you read the nutrition label carefully, you’ll see that fat is a higher percentage of the total calories. Remember, 1 gram of fat is 9 Calories. If you do the math, then you will discover that many “lean” meats can have 30-50% of calories for fat. YIKES! Although fat is an essential part of our diet (to help with our Central Nervous System function, for example), moderating the types and the amount we consume is key.
That is why the USDA suggests to use meat as 25% of your plate (according to Choose My-Plate: https://themoreyoungo.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/the-food-pyramid-is-out-my-plate-is-in/).
Think of meat as a CONDIMENT. I definitely do not advocate for a lower-meat diet because of ethical reasons. Personally, I love foie gras, chicken, beef, and all types of meat. However, I also understand and have learned the extremes of food science. I won’t press my beliefs and views on it all, but in the end, I still eat meat. I guess that says it all.
Still, I see the benefits of and try eating a lifestyle diet that revolves primarily around whole fruits, vegetables, and grains. They offer more nutrients and fiber that a meat-centralized diet can offer. This is something I’ve written about before, but this time, I’ve included a couple of my favorite vegetarian burgers/sandwiches. Feel free to modify them in ANY way you want. They’re different than any frozen veggie burger that you’ll find out there. Let me know what you think!
Black Bean Burger:
spinach (tossed in fish sauce, lemon, chili)
fried egg (over easy!)
sriracha + ketchup
whole wheat toast
To make the patty, combine a can of black beans and a small handful of broccoli (you can sub carrots or any vegetable you like) and a 1/4 cup of dry oatmeal or bread crumbs. You can either chop it all up in a food processor or just mash it by hand like I like to. If you use a food processor, don’t puree it. Definitely chop it coarsely so that there remains a good texture. Take the processed mixture and form two patties from it. Place them in your heated pan with a tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil. These patties are not as solid/firm as normal meat patties. The trick is to cook each side without constantly flipping them and without over-handling them. Takes about 5 minutes to get that brown crispiness on each side. As the patties are cooking, assemble your produce on your toasted bread and spread on that delicious spicy ketchup. Place the cooked patties on the sandwich and quick pan fry an egg. I like the egg because it adds a high quality protein and some necessary fat into the dish.
Cost: $2.50/burger = $5.00 total for 2 burgers
Whole Wheat Bread
Mild Corn Salsa
Seasoning (cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper)
Tofu is the way to go. It mimics the texture of fish fillet and is a great source of protein. You can get any package of soy tofu from Trader Joe’s. I get mine from the Fresh N Easy for $0.99. Each package yields about 3 “burgers.” Season the patties and cook each in medium/medium-low pan with a tablespoon of olive or canola oil. Shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes on each side. Slice the zucchini and assemble your produce on top of the toasted whole wheat bread. Place the finished tofu fillet and serve with your favorite salsa. (PS salsa is like the best condiment/sauce EVER. It’s low in calories and high in deliciousness)
Cost: $1.50/burger = $4.50 total for 3 burgers
I hope these inspire of creativity when it comes to eating vegetarian style.
Happy eating, friends 🙂