Tag Archives: plant based diet

KALE BURGER – Guest Post by Karon Hampton of Brooklyn Eats

Kale Burger by Brooklyn Eats
Kale Burger by Brooklyn Eats

Today we have a guest post from Karon Hampton of Brooklyn Eats.  Karon started this blog as a platform for sharing the  menu making she does on (a modest budget) with her family and friends.  She can sometime be found sharing the rest of her life through the blog as well.  Enjoy the awesome kale burger…

~

I just want to be clear about what we are talking about here – a burger made of kale. Not ground meat mixed with kale. Not a portobello mushroom topped with kale. Not even a black bean, potato and kale patty – no, this is simply kale in burger form. I couldn’t find the frickin recipe anywhere online so I gave up and made up my own – and a few versions later, it worked!

The idea, like so many of our food ideas, came from a great local restaurant here in Brooklyn. We treated ourselves to iCi for brunch and A got the kale burger with caramelized onions on a kaiser bun (ok, ok, and goat cheese but it was just a teeny bit!). We were blown away not only by the taste and texture but by the fact it was pretty much just kale – no visible beans or potatoes or anything besides the light, crunchy breading on the outside. They served it with pickled rhubarb and fried artichokes and altogether it was the stuff dreams are made of.

Back home, Google searching turned up all of the afore-mentioned recipes but nothing quite like the iCi burger. So we improvised and came up with a really delicious kale burger that is just as good as iCi’s (if I may be so modest). The exact same? No. But I look forward to continued testing and tweaking!

inspired by the wonderful iCi in Fort Greene (check it out if you’re in the area!)

INGREDIENTS

1 large bunch kale, well-washed and mostly dried

sea salt

1 large tomato, chopped

1 tablespoon almond butter or tahini

1/2 teaspoon garlic or 1 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon coriander

cayenne to taste (if you like)

heaping 1/4 cup almond meal

heaping 1/4 cup flour

olive oil

[1] Remove stems and chop kale into very thin ribbons; sprinkle with sea salt and gently massage; let rest 15 minutes. The kale will turn a bright green and soften. Meanwhile in a food processor or blender combine the tomato, tahini or almond butter, garlic and coriander. If your tomato is not super juicy, add a tablespoon or two of water.

[2] In a large saucepan heat a little oil. Add the kale and sauté for a minute; then add 1/2 cup or so of water and cover loosely. Let cook 5 to 8 minutes (the fresher the kale the shorter the cook time) until it’s just wilting but not totally limp. Transfer kale (leave behind any remaining water in the pan) to large bowl. Meanwhile mix the almond meal and flour in a small bowl. If desired, you could add a little cayenne to this mix too.

[3] After it cools enough to handle, add 2/3 of the kale to the blender with the tomato mixture and blend. You don’t want it to get too smooth; maybe pulse on and off for a minute or two. Transfer this blended mix back into the large bowl with the reserved kale and mix it all together, adding a couple of tablespoons of the flour/almond meal mix too. You should be able to make patties from this mix that hold together fairly well. If too wet, add more flour/almond meal; if too dry, drizzle in some olive oil or water. Form six burgers and coat each burger in the remaining flour/almond meal.

[4] Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick frying pan. Cook each burger for 4 minutes on each side, adding more oil if need be. They will get a nice crunchy outside with a hot, tasty middle. Serve and enjoy.

outside - perfectly crisp. inside - chewy but not grainy, soft but not mushy.

outside – perfectly crisp. inside – chewy but not grainy, soft but not mushy.

These are great on a lightly toasted whole wheat bun with caramelized onions, or my favorite is on a fresh kaiser roll with onions as well as roasted red peppers and some baby greens mixed with a homemade goddess dressing. If you are not averse to dairy, try the goat cheese. I could go on and on but just try it – tasting is believing!

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

15 Comments

Filed under Gluten Free, Guest Blog, Main Dish, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

PROTEIN: Quality, Not Quantity Is Paramount

People are always so curious about where I get my protein.  There is a misconception that plant based diets are deificient in protein.  I stumbled upon the post below and thought you might like to read Brendan Brazier’s take on protein.  This post is from Crazy Sexy Life By Brendan Brazier on March 5, 2009.  To read the post directly on the Craze Sexy Life website click here.

Brendan Brazier - photo from Crazy Sexy Life

Brendan Brazier - photo from Crazy Sexy Life

Brendan Brazier: Professional Ironman triathlete, two-time Canadian 50km ultra marathon champion , bestselling author on plant-based performance nutrition, and formulator of Vega whole food nutritional products. www.brendanbrazier.com

Properly balanced plant-based protein can offer several advantages over more traditional animal-based options. I discovered this along the way when I was searching for a performance advantage. At the age of 15 I made the concerted decision that I wanted to race Ironman triathlons professionally. Aware that staking the odds of making this happen in my favor would rely heavily upon a sound nutritional strategy, I began to search for one. Going somewhat against the grain, I decided to experiment with a plant-based diet. As you might imagine, criticism flowed: where would I get my protein? Until it worked. I raced Ironman triathlons professionally for seven years, all on a plant-based diet. I honestly believe that the detail I applied to my nutrition program was a large reason for me even having a Pro Ironman career at all. The following is what I learned about protein and how you can apply it to boost your overall performance, improve muscle tone and increase your energy level.

It was once thought that only animal protein was complete and therefore a superior source to plant-based options. Complete protein is comprised of all ten essential amino acids. By definition, essential amino acids cannot be made by the body; they must be obtained through dietary sources. And, in fact, there are actually several complete plant protein sources. However, to obtain all amino acids in high quantities, it’s advantageous to consume several complementary sources of protein on a regular basis. For example, hemp, yellow pea and brown rice protein make up a superior amino acid profile that rivals any created in the animal kingdom.

Additionally, one of the big advantages of properly balance whole food, plant-based protein over animal protein is its only slightly acidic or neutral pH. In contrast, highly processed foods are acid forming, and even more so are animal based foods. Whey protein isolate, for example, is highly acid forming. Whey, strait from the cow, would be numeral and even slightly alkaline, but once the protein gets isolated (therefore rendering it no longer a whole food) and it is then pasteurized, these two steps of processing lower its pH, making it considerably more acid-forming. Meat, pork in particular, is also highly acid forming. Acid forming foods include all those that are cooked at a high temperature or highly processed. Among the most acid forming are meat, coffee, pasteurized milk and cheese, prescription drugs, margarine, artificial sweeteners, soft drinks and roast nuts as well as all refined flour-based foods. Refined flour-based foods include: most commercial breakfast cereal, white pasta, white bread, conventional baked goods.

As a basic rule, the more that has been done to the food, the more acid forming it will be. The less that has been done to alter its original state, the more alkaline forming it will be.

It’s advantageous to maintain a neutral pH. Eating too many acid forming foods will promote inflammation, reduce immune function and cause highly-alkaline calcium to be pulled from the bones to keep the blood in its neutral state of 7.35. This of course leads to lower bone density and in many cases, osteoporosis. In fact, the over consumption of highly refined foods is the reason that we as North Americans are contracting osteoporosis at a younger age than ever before in history.

The most alkaline forming foods are those with chlorophyll, the green pigment in many plants. Leafy greens for example. Hemp is an excellent example in that is contains complete protein, yet the fact that it is not isolated and that it contains chlorophyll helps maintain a more alkaline pH.

A large salad is also a good high-quality protein option. I realize that when many people think salad, protein is not usually what comes to mind. Although, dark types of lettuce are up to 40% protein and spinach registers at about 45% protein. Since leafy greens are light, of course, this doesn’t add up to astonishingly high numbers in term of grams of protein. However, since protein in leafy greens is already in amino acid form, the kind usable by the body, it doesn’t have to be converted; therefore it saves the consumer energy. The body can’t use protein as is, it must convert it to amino acids first. Therefore in my book Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, I classify foods with this quality as “one-step nutrition” foods. They offer a significant advantage. Since the step of converting protein to amino acids is eliminated, the body will conserve energy through the assimilation process. And, because of this energy savings, you will have a greater amount. If you don’t spend it, you still have it; that’s the premise of another one of the core principals in Thrive called “energy through conservation as opposed to consumption.”

If a large enough salad is eaten, taking into consideration its “one-step nutrition” quality and therefore its ability to provide more energy than foods that don’t assimilate as efficiently, a substantial amount of usable protein will be ingested.

“Pseudo grain” is the term given to what is technically a seed, yet commonly referred to as a grain. Examples include: amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa and wild rice. Since they are all in fact seeds, their nutritional profile closely reflects that. They are gluten free, and higher in protein than grains. They can also be easily sprouted. The sprouting process converts the protein in pseudo grains into amino acids, putting them in the one-step nutrition category, thereby significantly improving their digestibility. Additionally, sprouting raises their pH making them an alkaline-forming food. And with greater than 20 percent protein in amino acid form and superior digestibility, pseudo grains are a sound protein source. Adding half a cup of sprouted buckwheat to a large salad will certainly yield a high-quality protein meal.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Education, Protein, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian