Monday, January 28, 2013

Chipotle Lentil Burgers and OMG Onion Rings!

I have owned the Appetite for Reduction cookbook for at least a year and I just never got around to making anything from it! That might sound pretty crazy as there are so many awesome looking recipes in it. I do tend to collect vegan cookbooks and then I find all kinds of amazing recipes online that I end up trying...and then I forget about the cookbooks I own! Well, I am very impressed these two recipes out of Appetite for Reduction - the Lentil Chipotle Burger and the OMG Onion Rings! The burgers are healthy, tasty, and all sorts of spicy. The onion rings are baked, not fried, and totally crispy!

The only substitutions that I made included using Panko bread crumbs in place of the whole wheat bread crumbs that the recipes call for. I couldn't find whole wheat bread crumbs at the grocery store, and the regular bread crumbs contained all sorts of icky ingredients...including milk! So, I went with the Panko bread crumbs that are vegan. They worked wonderfully for the onion rings in place of regular bread crumbs. For the burgers, I ended up adding more bread crumbs than the recipe called for because the burgers weren't quite sticking together at first. This is likely because the Panko bread crumbs are airy and lighter than regular ones. Adding more Panko crumbs definitely solved the problem as I was able to form the lentil burgers into patties without any issues.

Also, I would definitely omit the salt next time I make the onion rings. They ended up being a bit too salty. Otherwise, they are super delicious and crunchy.  Here are the recipes!

Lentil Chipotle Burgers (Makes 6):

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small red onion, cut into medium dice
1/2 pound zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped (stems and leaves)
1 (15 ounce) can cooked lentils, drained and rinsed (1 1/4 cups)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chipotles, seeds removed, with adobe sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons red vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Preheat a large pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Saute the onion for about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, garlic, cilantro, and a pinch of salt, and saute for 7 to 10 minutes, until the zucchini is soft.

Transfer the zucchini mixture to a food processor. Add all the other ingredients except for 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Pulse until mostly smooth, but there should still be a little texture. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Preheat the pan (the same one you already used to saute in is fine) over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs to the burger mixture and use a fork to thoroughly combine.
Divide the burger mixture into six equal pieces.

Form the burger portions into patties and cook for about 12 minutes, flipping the burgers often, until they are nicely browned on both sides. Add more olive oil as necessary. Do three at a time for best results.

OMG Onion Rings:

2 vidalia onions (about a pound), or other sweet onion
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup cold soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons olive oil

Slice onions into 3/4 inch thick rings. Separate the rings and place in a bowl.

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed 12×18 baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Now you’ll need two bowls for batter and breading. In one bowl, dump in the flour and cornstarch. Add about half of the almond milk and stir vigorously with a fork to dissolve. Add the rest of the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar, and stir to incorporate. Set aside.

In the other bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and salt. Drizzle in the oil and use your fingertips to mix it up well.

Get a conveyor belt going. From left to right, have the onions, the flour mixture, the breadcrumbs mixture and lastly the baking sheet. Dip each onion slice into the the flour, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the breadcrumbs bowl and use the other hand to sprinkle a handful of breadcrumbs over the onion, to coat completely. This may take a bit of practice. Carefully transfer each onion to a single layer on the baking sheet. Make sure you use one hand for the wet batter and the other for the dry batter, or you’ll end up with club hand.

Spray rings lightly with cooking spray and bake for 8 minutes. Flip, and bake another 6 minutes. Rings should be varying shades of brown and crisp.

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