You're busy; you're tired, and the last thing you want to do it cook. I get it! I work long hours in my own business, and there are days when I don't have time to prep and cook, so I bulk cook once every month or two to save time down the line. If eating healthy is important to you (as it most likely is if you are reading this right now), then you'll enjoy this simple life hack on bulk cooking healthy and tasty meals- particularly veggie burgers.
We all know that pre-packaged grocery store-bought food doesn't taste as good as a home-cooked meal, and everyone prefers home-cooked meals. Busy people need energy and also struggle to find healthy options that don't take a lot of time. Hence this is where bulk cooking comes in very handy. Have you heard the term "set it and forget it?" Well, instead of cooking for one meal (which takes about an hour and a half), we are going to cook for about two months' worth and take the same amount of time of 1.5 hours.
By making more substantial portions, you cut the clock by 120 hours in two months! That's an extra 60 hours a month! Think of all that spare time you'd get to spend enjoying yourself and doing more of what you love without having to stand long hours, prep, clean up & break out the pots and pans. If you invest a little smart strategy into your life, you will not only save time but also lose weight, have more energy, and keep your belly (and mind) happy, healthy, and strong.
This veggie burger recipe is super easy and pretty fun- even your little ones can help. Get the whole family involved! It's basically just feeding your food processor, cooking for a few minutes, and throwing it into the oven to bake & bag. Hey, teaching others in your household to bulk cook can come in very handy! Trust me! I think your mind is beginning to get the idea.
Health Facts: This all-natural veggie burger is packed with protein and nutrients (see infographic below) without any unhealthy additives or oils. This recipe is a "whole food" plant-based burger, and it keeps well in the freezer for months (mine never last more than two months because we eat them all). Throw your patty on a bun with all the fixins' you enjoy and don't forget the ketchup pickle and mustard! Now you have a delicious healthy treat!
Not only can you lose weight and gain health, but these burgers taste so dang good you'll forget they are vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and healthy! Save time, cook in bulk, and enjoy more healthy, convenient food! Everyone loves BURGERS! Burgers are one of the most fun America foods and your meat-eating friends will love these too. Shall we get started on delicious time-saving health packed veggie burgers? Let's do it!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes depending on how you like your burgers (lighter, darker)
Preheat Oven 250
Tools: Food processor, cutting board, large pot, cookie sheet (lined with a piece of parchment paper or oiled tin foil), potato peeler if peeling yam, mixing spoon, ice cream scooper, spatula, cake spatula.
Before getting your ingredients together, know that almost all ingredients are going into a food processor, so your prep time is pretty dang easy. But we are going to sautee some things first so, don't start dumping everything in yet. There is a sequence. However, if you are in a hurry, you can drop it altogether in the food processor and then cook it all at once; however, it will have a bit more flavor if you follow my directions.
Ingredients: Step 1
- 1 cup of peeled & grated Garnet Yam, which is sweeter than Jewel Yam, but both will work).
- 1.5 Onions -more or less based on your desired taste.
- 6 Cloves of Garlic.
- 1.5 Bell Pepper -any color will do, but red and green are beautiful for color).
- 1-2 Lg Portobello Mushroom or whatever you have. The more, the merrier.
- Black Pepper -season to taste.
- Pink Salt 1-2 pinches or as desired.
Ingredients Step 2
- 1 cup mixed vegetables (frozen or fresh) zucchini & carrots work great, your choice.
- 3 pinches or so of Pink Himilayan Salt or Sea Salt -whatever you prefer.
- 3 Tbls Molasses -optional but gives a nice depth of taste.
- 6 Lg leaves of Cuban Oregano (or any herbs of your choice you could use Rosemary, etc.).
Ingredients Step 3
- 1 can of tomato paste. Tip: after emptying tomato paste into the pot, fill the same can with water & add to pot).
- 1 can of tomato sauce -this is really up to you, but I add 1 jumbo large can.
- 5 good shakes of dried Italian Seasoning.
- Cinnamon (4 good hard shakes into the mix).
- 1Tbsp Chocolate Nut Butter (Trader Joes / Whole Foods fresh from the machine), but this is an optional ingredient, and I sometimes leave it out, and you can too. It does give a nice little kick to the sauce.
- 1/2 cup honey or real maple syrup or sweetener of your choice.
- 2 cups of uncooked red lentils.
- 1/3 cup uncooked Gluten-Free Rolled Oats.
- 1/4 cup raw Chia Seeds. You can also add ground flax seeds.
The water in the mix will fluff out the lentils in time (you can also cook the red lentils beforehand for faster cook time). If you choose to cook red lentils separately- use 2 cups red lentils to 6 cups water & boil for 15 minutes & add after Step 1 and Step 2.
Ingredient Step 4
Cook everything together & add thickeners (oats and chia seeds) until mixture is like a thick paste. If you still have too much water you can add more flour. TIP: I added 1/2-3/4 cup Coconut Flour sometimes if too runny. Any flour will do but that one drinks up a lot of liquid and you need less than other flours many times.
Ingredients Step 5
Add your sweet love & veggie patty building skills!
Check out the awesome infographic below that shows just a few of the nutrients inside your healthy veggie burger. Brain food, heart-healthy, nerve, and bone-building! Can't beat that!
Step 1 (more detailed)
Grate the yam in the food processor & then empty processor of grated yam into a bowl and set aside. Don't bother cleaning the food processor between steps. Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, fresh herbs, bell peppers, to the food processor and blend away but not to a liquid. You want to see the colors and chunks in the veggie patty later, so be careful not to over blend. Once blended, remove everything from the food processor using a cake spatula, mixing spoon, or whatever you have, Transfer into a large cooking pot (not a sautee pan). We are going to add all of the rest of the ingredients later and cook it in the big pot, and it won't fit into a sautee pan. Add a few shakes of cumin & set aside do not cook yet unless you are great at multi-tasking. I do cook it while multi-tasking the other things in this recipe, so it's up to you. Use a timer to remind you not to burn it.
Step 2 (more detailed)
Add 1 cup of the frozen or fresh veggies (carrots, zucchini, whatever you want) to the food processor, add the whole leaf raw Cuban Oregano & whatever herbs you desire that are whole and not dried. Once blended, you will leave in the food processor and set aside.
Now you will go over to the pot from Step 1. Turn stove on low, medium heat and gently sautee and sweat all the Step 1 ingredients over low, medium heat in a large pot until onions become slightly transparent and a bit of the water evaporates. Approx 8-10 minutes, likely depending on the stove.
Step 3 (more detailed)
Combine the Step 2 ingredients from the food processor to the same pot as Step 1 ingredients and start sauteeing everything together, stirring and getting everything mixed and lovin' on each other. Add more herbs here if desired and sautee a few minutes. Now that you have combined Step 1 & 2. ingredients into pot and cooking on medium-low heat, your food processor is empty.
Step 4 (more detailed) we are almost to the most fun part!
Now that we are all sauteed up from Steps 1-3, we are going to add the rest of the ingredients to the pot to make the sauce; then, we will add the dry red lentils. If you didn't pre-cook the lentils, this is where you will make the sauce and then add the dry red lentils to the sauce so they can soften.
Directions for sauce
Open the tomato paste, sauce & water and add to the pot and mix on medium heat. Add the lentils and let cook for about 20 minutes. Once lentils are soft, add everything else on the ingredient list except the yam.
The yam will go in raw as a mix at the very end of our cooking because it will bake in the oven, making the patties sweeter & more flavorful and be AWESOME! But first... Add the thickeners- the Chia Seeds and the Rolled Oats. Use these to soak up the water in your mixture and wait about 10-15 minutes. Once the chia and oats drink up the liquid, you will have a thick holdable paste. You will want to make sure the mixture can hold shape reasonably well since we will be making a nice half-inch thick patty about the size of a good bun (4 inches works great).
Now that the mixture is cooked and you have the veggie burger ingredients tasting the way you want (yes, taste, and add here)! If it's not flavorful enough for you, then add more honey and salt until you like the flavor. Once everything is cooked, turn off the stove and add the yam mixing well. Turn oven on at 250 degrees. Set out the lined cookie sheets. I like using parchment paper because it doesn't need oil and cooks nicely without using aluminum, but use what works for your baking needs.
Step 5 (more detailed) Making the Patties & Baking!
Remember when you were a kid and made mud patties? Well, this is exactly like that, and I happen to LOVE it!. You will want the kitchen sink close by or to be set up, so you don't need to open any drawers and get the kitchen messy. Hand towels also help here. I suggest putting everything on one side of the sink so you can have the other side for washing your hands easily if need be.
All you do from here is start making little balls and flatten into patties and set on the lined cookie sheets. You may want to use a measuring cup or ice cream scooper and simply dip into the mixture and plop on the sheets and then flatten into half-inch burgers you go. I like using my hands, and I also do like using the ice cream scoop method. Don't worry about how soft they may seem because when they cook on one side, you will flip and cook again, and they will harden up nicely. Remember, these will also be frozen and baked, so even more moisture will come out over time.
Bake in the oven at 250-275 degrees. Once in the oven, you will cook on one side for about 20 minutes and then flip and cook on the other side for 20 minutes. This is why 1/2 inch patties work best. Keep them thick around the edges, and you will be able to flip them with a spatula easily.
When you are finished cooking burgers, make sure they're cooked in the middle by inserting fork or toothpick. Cook lower and longer if need be as times vary depending on your oven.
Cut some parchment paper into squares and place patties on top of each other and carefully place them in a freezer zip lock bag. These will be ready all through the month when you need a quick meal. Just pop into the oven on 450 for about 5 -10 minutes and fashion your burger and viola! You just made yourself a healthy vitamin-packed meal that will keep your energy up and mind alert without adding anything bad to your diet! You did awesomely! Be sure to share the love with your friends and family! They will enjoy the love and time you put into them, and no one has to know you bulk cooked them a month or two ago!
Congratulations! You did it! Bon a petite!