Gluten-free vegan quinoa burgers with potato salad

Gluten-free and vegan!  Excitement! 

Update: As my roommate and fellow food blogger Brittany has kindly informed me, I should probably clarify that the bun is not GF, only the burger patty itself.  There. Now go forth and cook.

My summer burger craving got resolved the healthy way.

Like: square burger patties. Dislike: harsh sunshine shadows

I was in a bit of a rut last night when trying to figure out what I wanted for dinner.  The balmy summer weather and sweaty bike commutes were making me drowsy and in desperate need of something that resembled an easy going weekend BBQ.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve virtually stopped using meat in my dishes (besides chicken, because chicken is just so damn good), a result of both my inherent cheapness and the fact that meat now makes my stomach feel like it wants to rip itself to shreds.

Anyways, my attempted vegetarian-minus-chickenism, led to the finding of an alternative burger source.  Back in the winter I made a chick pea burger, which turned out to be awesome and extremely photogenic (like I’ve said before, food miraculously tastes better if it’s also pretty).  Since I couldn’t very well duplicate a recipe, I settled on making quinoa patties.  Chalk up another win for my favourite protein-filled summer grain!

I had no idea how to make quinoa burgers, so I googled recipes, settling on the very first one I read.  From here, I actually tweaked the recipe a lot (translation: left out a few non-critical thing), making my burger so incredibly cheap (without sacrificing taste).  There were loads of delicious spices that made for a tasty patty and a pretty pan:

And because no impromptu Thursday night BBQ is complete without a salad, I quickly whipped up a potato one, matched with crunchy celery and red pepper and drizzled with a smooth dijon vinaigrette.

Dinner was eaten on the patio in our hammock.  Bliss.

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Rawlicious (#HilarysTorontoAdventures, take two)

If there is one observation I have made thus far from my time in Toronto, it is that the city is obsessed with the suffix “-licious.”  Seriously, Rawlicious, Veggielicious.  I’m starting to get flashbacks to that awkward period in grade nine when I loved Fergie and that annoying (but admittedly catchy) song Fergielicious.  It’s not good.  Please Toronto, cease and desist with the licious-ing before I am forced to take this online rant to the realms of Twitter and Facebook.

But anyways, the next stop in my culinary adventures was Rawlicious.

The restaurant is Toronto’s only raw dining location, and is also a safe haven for veganites, of which I am not one.  Located a short ten minute walk from my aunt’s house, Rawlicious was the next logical step in my dinner samplings.  My best friend Brittany (who has a new blog, CHECK IT OUT!) almost had a heart attack when I told her about the restaurant.  Apparently this female guitarist who she has the biggest, most unhealthy straight girl crush on always goes to this place.  She had a major fan girl moment.  On top of allowing Britt to vicariously experience a semi-brush with fame, Rawlicious was included in this *sigh* veggielicious festival, meaning that I got a discount on a super meal.

Ah, so what was this super meal you ask?  Well included in the aforementioned special was the following:
– A 16 oz smoothie of choice.  I got a chocolate milkshake made with nutmilk, raw chocolate powder, avocado, agave, and vanilla;
– Taco wrap with seasoned nut-loaf (to replace the ground beef), guacamole, chopped tomatoes, shredded romaine, salsa, and nut cheese; and,
– A mixed greens salad with a tangy lemon dressing.
Total: $15

Not included in the special, but very much necessary was an $8 piece of lemon cashew baked cheesecake on top of an almond crust.  It was drizzled with a tart raspberry syrup that was just lovely.

Even though I was at a raw/vegan specialty restaurant, I still somehow managed to underestimate the amount of green that was going to show up on my plate.  When the waitress brought over my dinner, my jaw dropped (or at least the jaw in my inner mind did).  SO MUCH GREEN.  The Hulk could have easily been chopped up and put on my plate.  Even the tortilla for the taco wrap was a green lettuce leaf.  A year earlier I would have walked right out of that place to the nearest pizza joint.  NOW, I am a brave food warrior.  I shoveled the first fork full of leafy greens into my mouth, bracing myself for my body’s rejection of healthiness.

It didn’t happen.  Raw vegetables were actually yummy.

Now, the salad was good, just as really any salad is.  I’m not too picky with salads.  It was the taco wrap that I was really worried about.  Turns out my fretting was premature (as it almost always is).  The nut loaf meat replacement thinger was AWESOME.  It genuinely tasted like ground beef.  I know this is probably a pretty standard statement, but I could totally go vegan if someone cooked like this for me.  It was great.  Filling, tasty and, of course, super healthy.  Mission veggie accomplished.  Also, the chocolate milkshake tasted kind of weird at first, but I eventually got over the initial “no dairy” thing and embraced the sweet flavour of avocado.

Not only was the food at Rawlivious excellent (albeit a little pricy), but the innards of Rawlicious were great as well.

I sat in the window area where, if the place had been a clothes store, they would have had the creepy mannequins on display.  Instead, there was an area scattered with fancily adorned pillows.  After I finished my meal I stuck around and read for a bit.  It was nice.  I felt hippie-to-the-max, but hey, a girl’s allowed to feel like a flower child once in awhile, right?

Gallery below.

Spicy Potato and Lentil Soup

Okay, so you know how a few posts ago I said that my borscht was the cheapest thing I’ve ever made?  Well I lied.  Poor Mr. Borscht didn’t hold his title for very long, and this new soup quickly edged it out in both taste and price.  While I could go on and on about how great this soup was, I think I’ll condense my admiration down to four main points *ahem*:

1. It was SO fast to make.  Since I’m apparently never home for dinner anymore, I decided to make this soup at 9:15 a.m.  Yes, I had soup for breakfast, don’t judge me.  I had to be at school that day for 10:45, so let this tight schedule attest for how quickly this soup cooked itself up.

2. I’m not really a fan of chopping things, so I was relieved when this soup only required two potatoes, a celery stalk, and an onion to be chopped.  BUT HOLY, on that note, I cut up the most potent onion ever!!!!!  Seriously, I was crying like a teenage girl listening to Taylor Swift.  I wiped my eyes on my shirt so many times that my sleeve was partially drenched by the time I was finished cooking.  I need a set of these!

3. This soup just confirmed that my taste buds are way more high maintenance than in my “I’m just going to eat plain rice for supper” days (aka last year).  I was not at all happy with how little cumin and cayenne pepper that the original recipe requested, so I simply added a teaspoon more of the cumin, and about ten pinches of cayenne pepper (versus the original single pinch requested).  Mmmmm, that spice, combined with the explosion of fresh parsley, made my life.  Also, for anyone that is stuffed up or sniffly from a winter cold, this soup is so spicy it is sure to clear your sinuses!  Who needs cold fx, right?

4. Last but not least this soup was, of course, cheap.  I calculated my total cost per serving to be about 80 cents a bowl.  Stellar!!

Recipe: Canadian Living (with a few spicy adaptations by yours truly).