Thursday Recipe Exchange – Vegetarian Delights

From our Food Goddess, TaMara, at What’s 4 Dinner Solutions:

I’m travelling, en route to San Diego, so you’re on your own – no keggers and try not to riot. Tonight we’re going vegetarian with two recipes. I’m often asked for vegetarian recipes, so I’m always on the lookout for good ones, can’t wait to see what you guys come up with. Next week: Fruit Desserts
I love black bean burgers, but the frozen ones can leave a lot to be desired. So I’ve been looking around for a good recipe. I found this one, but cannot tell you where, sorry to say. I’ve changed up few things, made it a bit spicier and a bit moister. Grill or fry on medium heat to keep the burgers from drying out. Makes 4 good sized burgers, though you may want to double the recipe to serve 6-8 people.
Black Bean and Cheddar Burgers
15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained, or dry equivalent
6 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (about 1-1/2 cup)
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs soaked in 1 to 2 tbsp milk
1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley
1 tbsp chopped, pickled jalapeno
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsps minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Serve with: 4 hamburger buns; Tomato and avocado slices for garnish
In a mixing bowl, with a potato masher, mash half of beans into coarse puree; add remaining ingredients. Work mixture together by hand until it holds together easily. Shape mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties. Oil a large piece of aluminum foil, place on a grill set to medium heat and place burgers on the foil. You can also fry these on medium heat in a covered, well oiled skillet. Cook for about 8 minutes per side or until browned on outside and heated through to center. Serve on buns, topped with tomato and avocado.
The pasta caprese has appeared here before. I make it both vegetarian and gluten free, so it’s my go-to recipe for company. From one of our Thursday Night Menus (link includes my favorite chocolate cake):

Pasta Caprese

9 oz dry pasta
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
4 oz cubed mozzarella
salt & pepper to taste
Prepare pasta according to package directions. While it’s cooking, mix remaining ingredients together. Drain pasta completely (dab with paper towels, if necessary) then add to tomato mixture. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to let flavors blend. Serve warm or you can refrigerate and serve cold. Add a nice loaf of bread for a complete dinner.
I use a fairly expensive mozzarella for this dish because it’s softer, tastier and absorbs more flavors. Any locally produced mozzarella would work. Also, my local farmers’ market has a pasta vendor, who hand-makes many flavors of pasta. This dish works very well with flavored pastas – fire roasted chili, lemon pepper, tomato basil, red bell pepper – the list goes on. You can also change-up the cheese to a Queso Blanco (again, use a fairly expensive or locally produced one), use cilantro instead of basil and use a chili flavored pasta for a whole new dish. The possibilities are endless.

58 replies
  1. 1
    jenn says:

    Ooh. Those black bean burgers sound good. I’m heading to the grocery store after Starbucks kicks me out, so maybe I’ll try that this evening.

  2. 2
    slag says:

    Saving both of these. They sound amazing!

  3. 3
    Comrade Mary says:

    That looks AMAZING. I’ll cook up some black beans this weekend.

  4. 4
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    Black bean recipe of the year: Beer Black Beans (adapted from Bittman)

    in large sauce pan, saute a diced onion, lots of garlic [and for non veg some chopped up bacon]

    add a couple Tablespoons tomato paste and some chili powder (i like spicy spicy) and cook for a few minutes

    pour in 1.5 cups beer (I like stouts for this), a tin of chopped tomato, a couple tablespoons honey and bring to boil.

    reduce to simmer, add 3 cups cooked black beans and simmer until reduced (ca. 15-20 minutes)

    Eat in burritos, on rice, slightly wetter as soup, under a pile of sharp cheddar or (this is my favourite) with roast duck.

    You can add almost any vegetable to this without any problems – i particularly like red bell peppers and shredded zucchini.

  5. 5
    BethanyAnne says:

    I’m pretty close to vegetarian, and I found a recipe in the Times that I love. I’ve made it several times, and I make extra to freeze and reheat – works wonderfully. Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Chard Really yummy.

  6. 6
    BethanyAnne says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: Ooo, that sounds really good. Might have to make a pot o black beans soon.

  7. 7
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @BethanyAnne: I cannot begin to express how much I love and crave this dish. Bonus: if you’re a home brewer and end up with beer that’s just too old to drink, it’s definitely not to old to cook with your beans.

  8. 8
    Redshift says:

    I’ve been making vegetable stews from the Moosewood Cookbook, and they’ve all been yummy so far. The Caribbean stew is my favorite — ginger and lime, mmmm.

    If I’d had vegetarian food like this, instead of tasteless lentils, I might have become a vegetarian years ago. (I’m not a strict vegetarian now, but I’m a lot closer than I used to be.)

  9. 9
    Billy Beane says:

    After seeing who has their hand out asking for money today on the orange site I thought I would pop in here and sure enough it looks like the board is fucked up again not showing the front page.

    Seems Cole is as good at running a blog site as he is at being right about stuff.

  10. 10
    Redshift says:

    @Billy Beane:

    After seeing who has their hand out asking for money today on the orange site I thought I would pop in here and sure enough it looks like the board is fucked up again not showing the front page.

    If you go to, it shows the current front page. If you go to, sometimes it doesn’t. This has only been mentioned about sixteen times.

  11. 11
    freelancer says:

    Oh man, that black bean burger recipe sounds SO good.

  12. 12
    slag says:


    This has only been mentioned about sixteen times.

    More like sixteen thousand times.

  13. 13
    General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero) says:

    I know these people of the right are nuts, and double so for the fundie religious ones. But help me FSM, what kind of religion or spirituality create something like this? I can maybe see it for the tea party people, as they claim to hate the federal government getting involved with any thing in their lives. Though they are often the first one in line for an Uncle Sam helping hand, when they need some help from the many curveballs life throws to everyone.

    Religious Right Groups to ‘Encircle’ Supreme Court, ‘Praying that Obamacare is Declared Unconstitutional’

    I don’t get it. Have they convinced themselves more abortions are going to happen from the ACA, that is controlled by the Hyde Amendment, that forbids tax money used for abortions?

    If the President’s health care legislation is declared unconstitutional, it would end taxpayer subsidized abortions and unjust and immoral mandates forcing religious institutions to cover abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization in their health coverage for employees.

    So they are willing to continue on with 35 million citizens that can’t get decent health care now, over some idiotic notion that the ACA will create more abortions. Or that women might get affordable contraceptives, that likely they use along with the other 99 percent of the female population.

    I bet these folks are aware of the Hyde amendment, and that this bullshit has nothing to do with abortion, contraception, or even religious liberty. I mean, would Jesus really turn his back on all these people to die for lack of health care insurance, in the richest country in the world?

    I think they just hate anything that has the term liberal attached to it. They have to hate something, so anything remotely considered progressive, even if it is saving lives of their neighbors, and even friend and family. This is phony religion, it is phony faith, and nothing more than small minded mean spirited politics, using Christianity, or their version of it as a weapon to get what they want. They ought to be ashamed. But they aren’t.

  14. 14
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Billy Beane: Either put a www. in front of the domain, or fuck the fucking fuck off.

  15. 15
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    This is phony religion, it is phony faith, and nothing more than small minded mean spirited politics, using Christianity, or their version of it as a weapon to get what they want.

    Phony displays of religious faith for political ends? Surely not.

  16. 16
    Yutsano says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:
    Now now now. Derf is a special Canadian snowflake who gets his feelings hurt easily. I just love the self-delusion that he has any influence here at all.

    Enough of that: recipe coming in a bit!

  17. 17
    patrick II says:

    Bill Maher had a streaming comedy special tonight on Yahoo!. At the end of the show, he wrote a check for one million dollars to the Obama superpac. I assume Maher is pretty well off, but still, that is impressive.

  18. 18
    MikeJ says:

    @Yutsano: Yo, yuts. MEssage in previous thread for you about

  19. 19
    freelancer says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    Or, y’know, use Chrome. It’s entirely up to you.

    @Billy Beane:

    Welcome to Balloon-Juice! Have you told John Cole about your little technical issue? I’m sure he’d love to hear about it directly at his email address.

    PS Great job with the streak in ’02.

  20. 20
    scav says:

    mmm, I’ve been playing with a mix of black beans and lentils plus barley after a soup verged into refritos some-strange-how. Slight adjustment in stuff added and I could make those burgers. I’m really liking my bean+barley mix though. and Joy Joy! I’m already soaking the next batch. Brilliant timing, thanks.

  21. 21
    Yutsano says:

    @MikeJ: Caught it at work thanks. Gonna go cook dinner here but I’ll give a better look-see when I get back. :)

  22. 22
    gnomedad says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    I think they just hate anything that has the term liberal attached to it.

    That’s my take. “Liberal” is synonymous with “evil” and vice versa. Quite literally; no snark. I don’t think they have any concept of what liberalism is about except as a campaign to destroy all that is good and holy.

  23. 23
    Karen says:

    I bought Goya canned black beans once and they were the slimiest things I ever saw. And they were big. Are there the small black beans that I’ve seen in Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice? There’s these small black beans and corn and I want to make that, any suggestions how? And why are the canned black beans so nasty?

  24. 24
    Yutsano says:

    @Karen: You may have to look for dried black beans, but they should be readily available.

  25. 25
    Comrade Mary says:

    Karen, I use canned beans sometimes, but they take a lot of rinsing.

    If you have a pressure cooker, you can cook GREAT black beans. You can even do well with any standard stovetop method. You can always freeze what you don’t eat immediately. The texture will suffer, but they’re fine for mashing into burgers.

  26. 26
    Gretchen says:

    My birthday is next week, and with two newly-diagnosed gluten-intolerant family members, I’m thinking cake is out. Any ideas for fruit tarts or cheesecake that would do as a birthday cake (we can make a graham-cracker crust gluten-free) would be welcome.

  27. 27
    Karen says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    I don’t have a pressure cooker, just some pots, an oven and a microwave. Is there a way I can prepare them? And do I have to soak the dried beans?

  28. 28
    Mary G says:

    I was at Trader Joe’s tonight and the Girl Scouts were there selling cookies, so I got a box of Thin Mints in honor of the Republican guy in Indiana who says they are in league with Planned Parenthood.

  29. 29
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Gretchen: Well, if you were going to bake a cake for yourself, what would it be?

  30. 30
    Yutsano says:


    and with two newly-diagnosed gluten-intolerant family members, I’m thinking cake is out

    Perhaps not.

    Maangchi is seriously awesomeness. She has me wanting to spend my whole paycheck at the Asian market!

  31. 31
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Karen: This oven method, which requires no pre-soaking, looks interesting. I haven’t tried it, but several other reputable sources, like this one, swear by it.

  32. 32
    Percysowner says:

    This is my favorite refried beans recipe
    1 cup pinto beans, carefully cleaned and well washed.
    1 large yellow onion
    sea salt
    cumin (discard that jar of cumin you opened last year and get a new jar; the old cumin has lost all its flavor)

    1. Peel and cut the onion in half. Put the onion and beans in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and then add a bit more water to keep the beans covered as they swell. Cover the pan, put it in the frig, and let the beans absorb the water and soften overnight.

    2. Before cooking, add more water—if necessary—to just cover the beans. Put the pan on the stove and simmer on low heat. Cook the beans slowly for best results. If you need to add water during the cooking process, add BOILING HOT water.

    3. The beans are fully cooked when they’re soft and falling apart. If there’s a lot of excess water, remove the lid from the pan and allow it to cook off.

    4. Pick out the onion if you wish. Add sea salt and cumin to taste, a little at a time, until the beans have the flavor of frijoles you eat at a good New Mexican restaurant. (NB: Never salt legumes before they are fully cooked.)

    Just find a Spanish Rice recipe, add a salad and you are good to go.

  33. 33
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Karen: All canned beans are foul until you rinse them. Otherwise they have a layer of gelatinous glop on them just like Spam.

    I made a veg curry from the old Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook and liked it a lot. Basically small cubes of cauliflower, eggplant, and potato cooked all together with mustard seed and curry powder…

  34. 34
    Gretchen says:

    @Suffern ACE:
    My family keeps trying gluten-free breads, cakes, and pastas, many of which are positively icky, some not so bad, but not like the real thing. I think the way to go is with things that aren’t supposed to have gluten in them in the first place. That’s why when I saw that next week’s topic is fruit desserts, I got the hope that someone will suggest something that will be a good birthday dessert without having that poor-imitation-of-the-real-thing flavor. The birthday isn’t till Saturday, so that will be plenty of time.

  35. 35
    Gretchen says:

    Thanks for the tip. That looks interesting.

  36. 36
    andy says:

    Rancho Gordo has a whole page of bean recipes- lots of them vegetarian/vegan. Every week I make a pot pot of soup I break up into servings so I can have it all week for “lunch” (I work nights). One of the nicest, simplest things I’ve done is just get a whole bunch of beans and cook them up just like in the video.

  37. 37
    Violet says:

    These two blogs about gluten-free living are full of excellent recipes. I’m sure you can find something yummy that would work for birthday cake.

  38. 38
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Gretchen – the link above with the pasta caprese has a gluten free chocolate cake that no one ever believes is GF.

    Off to sleep, long day and lots to do tomorrow, but glad to be away from the snow and ice. And there are harbor seals outside my window, barking. I’m happy. See you next week.

  39. 39
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Gretchen – the link above with the pasta caprese has a gluten free chocolate cake that no one ever believes is GF.

    Off to sleep, long day and lots to do tomorrow, but glad to be away from the snow and ice. And there are harbor seals outside my window, barking. I’m happy. See you next week.

  40. 40
    Billy Beane says:

    @Redshift: Jesus titty fucking christ on a stick. Is that the only problem? Do I have to teach you clowns how to wipe your ass too?

    Add the following 2 lines to your .htaccess file:

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]

    Do I get a free pet calendar now?

  41. 41
    Billy Beane says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: Fuck me, I’m dealing with a bunch of amateurs here.

    Add 2 lines to your .htaccess file and there would be no need for anyone to do that. Oh, and btw it is better for your search engine positioning.

    Fucking amateurs. Give me 20minutes on this site and I can move you up to the top 10 on your key words.

    Fucking amateurs.

  42. 42
    MikeJ says:

    @Billy Beane: We’ve already got the top 4 spots for “skull fucking kittens”. What else could anyone want?

    I’ve never used a www here and never had trouble, but I always hear about people having trouble that I don’t have.

  43. 43
    Yutsano says:

    @MikeJ: I’m actually giggling here. Isn’t this why we have browser histories?

  44. 44
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    @Billy Beane: Derf – bless your heart, but if you’re angling for some SEO work by highlighting your expertise, you’re going about it all wrong.

  45. 45
    hamletta says:

    @Gretchen: You might try Clementine Cake, if you can still get clementines in your area.

    It’s a Nigella Lawson recipe adapted by my girl Deb at Smitten Kitchen. She has a whole gluten-free section.

  46. 46
    Schlemizel says:

    @Billy Beane:
    Maybe Cole doesn’t want a better search engine position because it would mean more asshole like you could find the site. I know the rest of us would be quite content to not have to see your BS. Do you like pie?

  47. 47
    Schlemizel says:

    I had a bunch of stuff ready for this thread but last night was a bad night. I’ll tack a recipe for Palak Panner below. I have a great flourless cake recipe but it looks like others have it pretty well covered. Maybe some other time.
    6 tablespoons olive oil – if you want real authentic taste go with mustard oil I like its flavor but it can be an unpleasnt smell when cooking
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 tablespoon ginger root, grated
    2 dried red chile peppers – or to taste
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    3 pounds fresh spinach, torn – a couple of packages of frozen do nicely too
    1 large tomato, quartered
    4 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves – I prefer fenugreek which I like better and is more authentic but harder to find
    8 oz. Panner cubed- you could substitute tofu but its not the same, I buy fried panner at a local Indian store it is the best way to go
    1. In a large saucepan heat 3 tablespoons of oil and saute onion until soft, add the ginger, and the cumin, coriander. Stir to release the aromas of the spices then toss in the garlic. Add the spinach, handfuls at a time until it is cooked down, then add the tomatoes and peppers. Cook over low-medium heat for 15 minutes or so, you can add water or stock, it can be a bit runny.
    2. Some people blend at this point, I don’t see the point.
    3. Add the panner and salt to taste, when the panner is heated through (5 minutes or so) its ready.

  48. 48
    J.W. Hamner says:

    For a change I do actually have a ton of recipes for this one, but I went to sleep right after I got home from class… oh well.

    I think one of my popular vegan/vegetarian posts of the last 6 months has been the one about Vegetarian Junk Food. The recipes are buffalo tofu and salt and vinegar potato chips. Probably want a salad or a green thing to allow yourself to feel not so guilty.

  49. 49
    Linda says:

    I use a combination of soybeans and black beans for my veggie burgers. Grind it all up in the food processor. I think it needs a better binder, but as I am a carb-counter, adding bread crumbs or wheat germ just ups the carbs (leaving a smaller portion and we can’t have that, can we??). So they are a little mushy. You can add the binders if you want.

    Cook the soybeans in a slow cooker for 4-6 hours on low. Add aromatics to the water, but no salt. It is way easier than the stove-top method.

    I like the basic mix of soybeans and black beans because you can flavor the mix any way you want. Italian, Asian, Indian, Mexican–whatever. As for recipes? I don’t measure, so I can’t tell you. Sorry!

  50. 50
    schrodinger's cat says:

    For a vegetarian recipe that you can serve company and is delicious and also healthy you can’t go wrong with Pao Bhaji (Veggies to be eaten with bread). It is a popular street food in Bombay. Basically you stir fry mashed potatoes and veggies (any left overs will do) on a piping hot cast iron griddle. You keep mashing the sizzling vegetable on the hot griddle with a potato masher. To spice the vegetable mixture use a mix of spices called Pao Bhaji masala, available at Indian Grocery Stores. If you like things spicy add more cayenne and turmeric and a ginger garlic paste and don’t forget to add salt. Garnish with a dollop of butter, finely chopped red onions and cilantro and juice of a lime and serve with lightly toasted and buttered dinner rolls.For the best taste your veggie mix must include onions, green peppers and tomatoes. It is especially great when eaten on the streets smacking your fingers in a monsoon downpour. If any one wants a more formal recipe, let me know.

  51. 51
    Comrade Mary says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Sounds awesome. I think I love Indian food bestest, so I could probably improvise my way through this, but if you do have something more detailed to look at, please link or bring!

  52. 52
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Comrade Mary: I will give it a shot, here goes:

    1 pound potatoes, boiled and cut in a fine dice (I prefer red potatoes)
    2 large onions chopped fine
    1 can of tomatoes whole peeled tomatoes or a pound of fresh tomatoes, diced
    1 large green pepper diced
    1 cup of chopped cauliflower or any other leftover vegetable you have in your fridge.
    1 tsp of cayenne (more if you like it hot)
    1/2 tsp of turmeric
    2 tsp Pao bhaji masala (you can add more later, if you like)
    2 tsp ginger garlic paste
    Butter (quantity depends on how Tunch like you want to get, you can leave it out if you want)
    chopped red onion or shallots
    wedges of lime

    Serve with
    Dinner rolls (pao = Portuguese dinner rolls available in bakeries all over Bombay) lightly toasted

    Use a cast iron griddle, a wok or a large skillet that can withstand high heat. Add the ginger garlic paste, when it starts to brown slightly add the chopped onions, when the onions get transparent add the other vegetables, when they start looking like they are no longer raw add the tomatoes, when tomatoes are completely incorporated into the vegetable medley add the dry spices (pao bhaji masala, cayenne and turmeric). Add the potatoes. Now bring the potato masher and mash the vegetables while they are cooking. Imagine that they are the crazy GOP Presidential nominees, your boss or trolls on BJ, whatever helps. Unleash your fury. Your job is done when you are no longer able to identify the individual vegetables that went into the pan, they have all become one unidentifiable mass.
    Add a little water if the mixture starts sticking to the pan. Continue till everything is nicely mashed and smells wonderful. You could also add some butter if you are not worried about cholesterol and getting Tunchesque. Butter does make it taste better. Add salt to taste. After you are done, put some pats of butter, I use about 1tbsp for the entire mixture, you can serve butter table side so people can add more if they like. Add the garnishes, one neat trick for the garnish, mix together onions and cilantro in bowl, squeeze lime juice and add a pinch of salt. Serve the paobhaji with the garnish mixture and a pat of butter (about a tsp) and the pao (dinner rolls or sourdough bread works well). Enjoy!

    Notes: You can make paobhaji masala, there are recipes online, I can’t vouch for them, since I haven’t used them. I prefer to buy the paobhaji masala from the Indian Grocery Store, I like Shaan and Everest brands, Badshah is OK too.
    This is a very forgiving recipe, I have even used chickpeas instead of the potatoes, any veggies will do instead of the cauliflower. This works as a great dinner idea for company when serving vegetarian guests.

  53. 53
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I may try this, I like to cook Indian food.

  54. 54
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis: Let me know how it turns out if you do make it.

  55. 55
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: You need about 2 tsp of oil to start with. Put the oil in the pan when the pan is hot and then add the ingredients as described above.

  56. 56
    Comrade Mary says:

    Yay — thanks! I have a fridge full of veggies that are going to get used for this.

    Now bring the potato masher and mash the vegetables while they are cooking. Imagine that they are the crazy GOP Presidential nominees, your boss or trolls on BJ, whatever helps. Unleash your fury.

    Heh. Works for me.

  57. 57
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Comrade Mary: You are welcome! Making paobhaji, is great therapy, so it is good for your physical and mental health as well.

  58. 58
    Billy Beane says:

    @Schlemizel: Cole couldn’t find his own asshole even if Glenn Greenwald told him where to look. He clearly has no clue how to configure WordPress so no way you are going to convince me of that sorry.

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