I asked my son what he wanted for his special birthday dinner today. What was his favorite thing that I could make for him? His answer? “Hamburgers. But not veggie burgers mom. Real hamburgers.” Yes, it’s true. The boy likes meat. And it’s what everyone else eats as far as he’s concerned. And so, for his special occasion, real hamburgers it shall be.
I am not one that buys the “everything in moderation” philosophy. In fact that very philosophy can probably be blamed for the generally unhealthy state of so many people in our time and place. All of those things eaten “in moderation” often add up to a whole lot of indulgence. That being said, I’m also not one that believes every single bite of food that goes in my child’s mouth needs to be regulated and obsessed about. I’m sorry if it somehow weakens whatever influence I may have as a real, whole food, plant based advocate. Just keeping it real. We eat junk sometimes. We quickly remember why we usually avoid it, but there’s no need for complete deprivation. So long as no one is going to go into anaphylactic shock, a little stomach ache won’t be the end of the world. It’s good for them to learn that we eat a certain way as a general rule because it makes us feel better. It helps them to eventually make good choices on their own.
Making real hamburgers is easy. The meat counter at the grocery store has that covered. But in preparation for the big day I needed to make something that I would be willing to eat…because unlike the birthday boy, I have never cared for dead cow. So it was time to make a batch of veggie burgers to keep in the freezer for last minute lunches, quick dinners, and “the boys are eating meat” nights.
I almost titled this recipe “quinoa chickpea sweet potato fajita burgers,” but that seemed a little much for a humble little veggie burger, so we’ll call them “veggie fajita burgers” for short. These are full of flavor and packed with whole food, plant based protein. I keep extras in the freezer, thawing/reheating them in the oven on low broil as needed.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 2 cups prepared chickpeas (or 1 can chickpeas, drained)
- 2 cups prepared quinoa (prepare 1 cup dry quinoa with 2 cups water)
- ½ cup salsa
- ½ cup oats
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a banking sheet with parchment paper.
- Water saute onion, pepper, garlic, sweet potato, and chickpeas until tender.
- Spoon mash the sweet potatoes and chickpeas (if you don't like chunks, pulse with your food processor until you reach desired consistency)
- Mix in remaining ingredients.
- Scoop the mixture into a medium sized cookie cutter, pressing down well to mold the ingredients into a patty.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake another 10 minutes.