Burgers; the ultimate comfort and fat food. The embodiment of unhealthy. But can you make it healthy? I can tell you, yes you can! This is a healthy, plant based and incredibly delicious version of the most popular fast food. A healthy black quinoa teriyaki burger.
Why aren’t burgers healthy?
First things first. We always hear burgers aren’t healthy. But what exactly is it that is not healthy? A lot of people think it is the bun. Because bread has the reputation to be unhealthy. But I need to disappoint you if you were believing that because this is not true. Bread is a good source of carbohydrates and vitamins. Also it has some protein and little fat and sugar (although store bought burger buns may have a lot of sugar, so keep an eye out for that). Sure, if you choose a wholewheat burger bun it would be healthier. But this is not what I am referring to. The unhealthy parts of most burgers are the meat, cheese, bacon and sometimes even sauces.
The meat oftentimes is not healthy because usually fatty meat is used. This adds more flavour but also more calories and more fat. Bacon goes along the same way. Bacon mainly is made of fat and sodium. Which both is not healthy for us. And of course the cheese. Sure, cheese does have protein but again, the fat is the less healthy macronutrient here. Do not get me wrong, fat is not necessarily bad for our bodies and we do need it to live but the amount which is in one burger is not really healthy anymore.
The when I said that sauces aren’t always healthy, this may have surprised you. Why , you think? In most burgers you can find mayonnaise. High quality mayonnaise is made out of oil and egg yolk. This is not unhealthy when consumed in right amounts. It is high in calories but those calories have a nutritional value. But most store bough mayonnaises have hundreds of other ingredients in them. Most of which you cannot pronounce. This is not very good for our bodies. To summarise: high quality mayonnaise can be healthy when consumed in right amounts, highly processed ones are not good for us.
But mayonnaise isn’t the only sauce. In many other sauces there is a lot of butter or sugar added to get more flavour. Butter and sugar both, I think most people are aware of that, are not great sources of nutrients. While oftentimes we assume that the sauces do not make much of a difference, they actually do. 2-3 tablespoons of high calorie sauces can quickly add up to 200-300 kcal. So be aware the next time you choose it.
But please, after reading about the nutritional information about burgers, do not say that you will not have them again. Having a good and super tasty burger once in a while is more than alright. Not stressing out about it too much also is important for a healthy relationship with food. Just be aware that this is not the ideal meal to nourish your body and it should be consumed in moderation if you want to eat a healthy diet.
How to make it healthy
I think we now have talked enough about why it is not healthy. So let’s focus on making it healthy. This comes down to super easy swaps. For example instead of taking a beef patty you can substitute it for a plant based one. Here we are making one out of black quinoa from Reishunger (you can get it here). But you can also long for one made out of beans of ground turkey for example. Instead of bacon we are using mushrooms. May sound a little boring at first, but once you’ll try it out, you’ll be convinced. Instead of store bought low quality mayonnaise, you can use a homemade one. Or you can use ketchup without added sugar. If that’s too boring for you, I am sure you are going to find sauces at the supermarket that do not have a lot of added sugar. Last but not least, we probably need something else. Avocado. Don’t be fooled thinking that this is just another ago trend because it isn’t. Avocado in your burger is life changing.
How to build the perfect burger:
This is a very important part. This can change your burger 180°. No but honestly you can ruin so much when you build it the wrong way.
- toast your bun. This crispness it up and adds a lot of flavour. No matter whether you are doing this in a toaster of a pan, this step is essential.
- Sauce. Right on top of the bun that is the first layer, we are adding a sauce. Ketchup, homemade mayonnaise, barbecue sauce. Whatever.
- Greens. They won’t change much of the taste but much of the vitamins you get in. Also it is important to add a layer of greens before adding something else because when you add the patty or something else like tomatoes or cucumber right onto the bun it will get soggy.
- The patty. Pretty self-explanatory.
- Bacon/Mushrooms/other add ins. they have a good flat surface to lay on.
- Soggy veggies. Now you can add tomatoes, cucumber, or anything else containing a lot of water. It s not next to a bun so it won’t turn anything soggy.
- Avocado/ sauces. To finish it up, a nice layer of sauce or smashed avocado to add extra flavour and consistency.
- the top bun. Again, I would recommend to toast it.
The Quinoa Patty
Making a burger out of quinoa may sound a little weird but it is so good and so easy. The black quinoa adds an extra bit of flavour and depth to it. You can find black quinoa at Reishunger.com . It is important to completely cook the quinoa through until it has absorbed all of the liquid. This way it will give a perfectly mushy consistency when blending. What also is important is the seasoning. Since it does not have as a strong flavour itself as meat does, we need to season it well. Here we are doing it with a super simple teriyaki sauce.
Meal prep and serving:
You can batch make the quinoa patties and freeze them before cooking. Whenever you wanna have one, let them thaw a little bit and fry them up in a pan.
The burgers are best served with some homemade fries or sweet potato fries or just a simple little salad.
I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I do and have fun cooking it!
Black Quinoa Teriyaki Burgers
Healthy Plant Based Burgers. A ton of flavor. A ton of goodness. Pretty easy, pretty good.
What you will need
- 100 g quinoa
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp sriracha or hot sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp oil
- 200 g mushrooms
- 1/2-1 Avocado
- 2 burger buns
- a handful greens
For the vegan mayonaise (makes about 8 servings)
- 125 ml soy milk can use any plant based milk alternative
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 200 ml oil
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp salt
Add the quinoa to a pot along with 200 ml of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes until all water is absorbed completely.
In the meantime make the vegan mayo. Add the milk alternative, oil, salt and vinegar into a tall container. Take an immersion/ hand blender and place it on the very bottom. Turn the speed onto low and pull it up in one go until you have reached the surface of the liquids. Keep blending until it begins to emulsify and becomes creamy. Add the mustard and continue to blend for about 1 minute until it if smooth and creamy. Place in the fridge.
Slice the mushrooms into about 0,5 cm thick slices.
In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, hot sauce and conrnstarch. Make sure there are no big lumps of cornstarch in the mixture.
When the quinoa is done transfer it to a food processor. But make sure it has really absorbed all liquids, otherwise the burger patty will fall apart. Add about 2/3 of the teriyaki mixture to it and blend well. It should all stick together and form a big ball.
Slightly flour your hands so they are dry. Divide the quinoa mixture into 2 and form them into patties. Do this by first rolling a ball in your hand and laying it on a flat surface. Then press it down with the palm of hand to make a flat surface.
Heat up half of the oil in a pan. Sautée the mushrooms in there for about 3 minutes. reduce the heat and add the remaining teriyaki sauce.
Mash the avocado. Half the burger buns and toats the bottom half.
Heat up the remaining oil in another pan. Once hot add the quinoa patties and fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes.
Once the bottom bun is toasted add a generous spread of mayonaise. Top it with some salad. Add the black quinoa patty on top. Then theh mushrooms and some sliced cucumber if using. Lastly, add the mashed avocado and the top half of the burger bun. Serve and enjoy!
Katie // Une Petite Cuisinière