Happy April everyone! It feels like we might be out of the woods with this whole winter thing finally. And just in time for BBQ fantasies, today’s obsession brings us a homemade veggie burger recipe that sounds completely beyond… Two questions:

1. Annette, or someone in the audience, what would be a good replacement for the bread crumbs in this recipe to make it GF?

2. Do you have any veggie burger recipes to share?

Dietary Leanings: Vegetarian with the very occasional hit of meat if my body is asking for it, which it does (weird!)

Ingredient: Mushrooms

Known health benefits: Low calorie, fat free, no cholesterol and low sodium. One cup of mushrooms contains vitamins C, D, B6, B12, plus large doses of riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid along with calcium, iron, potassium, and selenium.

Favorite way to eat this food: Mushroom burgers. I got this recipe from an episode of The Chew (thank you, Clinton Kelly) and I have made a batch every week since. You can make and cook the burgers to reheat, or you can mix the ‘batter’ then form and cook them as you go. Either way, they are fantastic! I have eaten them as burgers, but more often, I eat them as ‘meat’ over grains or in a wrap with veggies. So freakin’ good!

Some changes I made: I left the cheese and the parsley out, I only used 2 cloves of garlic (6?
Really?) and I used Ener-G egg replacer instead of the eggs. I also used 1 teaspoon dried oregano in place of the fresh.


Olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms (portobello, crimini, button, shiitake), chopped
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cups quick cooking oats
3/4 cup grated Parmigiana cheese
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated carrot
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup parsley
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
6 slices Provolone cheese
6 Brioche burger buns

Heat three tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and toss to coat. Season with a large pinch of salt, the chili flakes and a few cracks of black pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms. Add more oil if the pan seems dry. Cook for 5 minutes until onions are soft and mushroomsbegin to brown. Stir in garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant.

Pour the mushrooms into a large bowl. Stir in the oats, cheese, breadcrumbs, carrot, eggs, parsley, and oregano. Season with another pinch of salt. Mix well and form into 6 patties.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Carefully add patties to pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook patties 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Add a slice of cheese to each patty in the last minute. Serve on buns.


Peanut butter!

Dietary leanings: Pescetarian! And trying to eat as seasonally as I can. But I crave peanut butter year-round.

Ingredient: Fresh ground peanut butter

Known health benefits: (from The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth) Peanuts rank about as high as strawberries in antioxidants. Also, researchers at Purdue University found that “including peanuts in the diet significantly increased magnesium, folate, copper, vitamin E, and arginine consumption, all of which play a role in the prevention of heart disease.” Peanuts are also high in niacin, a vitamin B important for keeping the digestive system, skin, and nerves healthy. Also, they’re great at keeping you feeling full with all those healthy fats!

My favorite way to eat this food: Smeared on apple slices, in smoothies, or in one of my raw oat concoctions.

Way #1: 1/4 cup of raw oats, 1/4 cup of almond milk, almost 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, 1 tsp (or more!) of raw honey, and between 1 and 2 tbsp of peanut butter. Stir it around until it’s mixed together pretty well and then eat (I usually lick the bowl, but that’s up to you).

Way #2: I’ve been eating this for breakfast lately. I make a strawberry/rhubarb compote that I eat instead of store-bought jams (basically I just cook a pint of strawberries (sliced) with 2 stalks of rhubarb (also sliced), add a little water to get it going (not much), a dash of cinnamon and cardamom, and maybe a tiny amount of maple syrup if it needs it). Then I take 1/4 cup of oats, 1/3-ish cup of the compote, and then a tbsp or 2 of peanut butter, add a bit of almond milk if it needs thinning out, mix that all up, and it’s like a pb&j without having to eat wheat!

Also my fiance makes an awesome spicy peanut (butter) sauce to put over roasted asparagus. Oh! And that one recipe you guys posted forever ago with the Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and maple syrup! Bomb!

P.S. Did I include enough exclamation points to get across how excited I am about peanut butter? Because I took some out.


My Meatless Obsession: Ch-ch-ch Chia

Despite last week’s clash over another meatless menu, we have no plans to give up on Meatless Mondays. Eating less meat is a proven boon for both health and the environment (not to mention your looks). But we do think it’s time to mix it up from the menus.

Introducing a new series: My Meatless Obsession. What plant-based food are you in love with these days? Is it almond milk, sunflower seeds, or the carrots showing up in your CSA? How do you fit this ingredient into your menu, and what are its health benefits?

Rebecca is kicking the series off with chia seeds, and Siobhan and Alexandra will get in the game too. Of course, we’d love to get your Meatless Obsession—just email nomoredirtylooks  at gmail dot com with OBSESSION in the title!

Dietary leanings: Vegan, gluten free, mostly raw

Ingredient: Chia seeds (yes, the things used to grow chia pets)

Known health benefits: Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (great for your heart and blood vessels, brain, skin, joints, etc.). They contain all the essential amino acids and are a good source of protein. The seeds are also an excellent source of fiber and calcium, plus other minerals. I’ve read about Aztec warriors and modern ultra-marathoners using chia for energy. I know when I eat chia for breakfast, it gives me enough energy for a vigorous run/hike/bike or a long morning of work.

My favorite way to eat it: So many ways!

I love multi-taskers in skin care, and in food too. Chia seeds can be incorporated into any meal, fitting nicely into many dishes. Sprinkle them on salad, cereal, or yogurt. Mix them into smoothies, dips (like tahini, hummus, guacamole) and dressings. They can be used in baking as well, though I never bake and haven’t tried it. One day I will try making my own raw energy bars in the dehydrator using chia.

Chia seeds add a pleasant, mild nutty crunch to a dish. If you want to keep the crunch then add them at the very last second, because these little guys will soak up 12 times their weight in water.  This is a very cool thing, though, because you can use them to thicken sauces and make “pudding.”  I use chia quite a bit, and here’s my current favorite “recipe”:

While my first cup of tea is brewing, I pour a couple of tablespoons of chia into a short glass. Then I add fresh orange juice and fresh almond milk in about equal proportions, a total of about one cup of liquid. I mix it up with a spoon to make sure all the seeds are covered. It needs about 15-20 minutes to thoroughly soak up the liquid, and if I stir a couple more times while I’m packing my lunch it keeps the seeds distributed uniformly throughout the liquid instead of clumping (if it clumps, just break up the clump and mix). I let it sit while I do yoga, which is way more than enough time for it to get quite thick. You can play with the proportion of seeds/liquid to get something like a bubble tea consistency, all way to a thick pudding. When I’m ready to eat, I mix in some ground flax and banana slices and eat it with a spoon. I’ll be using blueberries when the season hits! I love it for breakfast, but it’s a great energizing snack too.

By the way, remember to check your smile after eating chia seeds. They gravitate to the spaces between your front teeth. And if you eat them away from home be sure to carry floss or toothpicks! Are you a chia fan?

Image via LA Times


My MM: Nancy’s Meatless Monday Menu

Meet Nancy. She’s pregnant, she’s mostly vegan, and she’s a hydrating machine. Enjoy her awesome menu!

Name: Nancy Lili

Home: I’d call Austin home, but I currently live in Odessa, Texas

Dietary Leanings: Two years ago, due to an extreme bout of food poisoning where I almost lost my large intestine and appendix, I became a “selective omnivore,” (read Eating Animals). Then I saw a video of a pig slaughter—and though I’d seen videos of animal slaughter and had been brought to tears by them before, this one hit me in a different way. I’m now 100% vegetarian with vegan tendencies.

My favorite vegetable: I love a perfectly in-season avocado and I love beans. All beans. Black. Pinto. Chickpea. Navy. Northern. Canned. Fresh. Beans, beans, beans.

Monday morning I…

Began the day with 20 ounces of lemon-water (the trick to drinking two liters of water a day is to find a large jug you like, carry it absolutely everywhere, and re-fill as necessary). I then also had 8 ounces of Yogi’s Mother-to-Be tea (am nine months pregnant), and a bowl of cereal. The cereal is a combination of Central Market’s Raisin Bran, a muesli, and a mix of chia, hempseeds, and flax. I use Silk’s Unsweeted Original Almond Milk.

A few hours later…

I ate two and a half brazil nuts. (My dog always begs for whatever I’m eating, so I’ll give her the last half of the third nut.)

In the blender, I added ice and an organic banana to Vega One’s nutritional shake in vanilla chai to water, and ta-da. That keeps me satiated for awhile.

Then for lunch…

One slice of Rudi’s Honey Sweet Whole Wheat toast with organic omega-3 mayonnaise with flax oil (by Spectrum) and with Central Markets’ red pepper hummus with a black bean pattie on top (usually by Amy’s), and a few slices of organic pickles on the side.

At least another 20 ounces of water, too.

For a mid-afternoon snack…

I juiced a cucumber, green pepper, cilantro, pink lady apple, sliver of ginger (all organic)—just the extra veggies I had lying around. Again, I make sure to drink another 20 ounces of water before dinner.

Then for dinner…

I roasted eggplants, portabello mushrooms, and zucchinnis in the oven with olive oil, Himalayan sea salt, and pepper, and top those with a mix of grape tomatoes, basil, and Amish gorgonzola cheese (an easy dinner to make, inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2011/09/roasted-eggplant-with-tomatoes-and-mint/). I also made organic brown rice and served that alongside this, drizzled with yet more olive oil, Himalayan sea salt, and pepper. With dinner, I drink coconut water, about ten ounces.

For dessert…

I had frozen grapes and frozen mango chunks, and I go ahead and eat about 20 ounces of crushed ice too. (I know it’s bad for my teeth, but I crave it!)

By the end of the day, too, I’ve anywhere from 60-100 ounces of water, not including other beverages.


My MM: Maddie’s Meatless Monday Menu

Holy moly Maddie, this is one heck of a clean meatless menu. We’re curious to know how the no-gluten-or-sugar eating (and no caffeine) is feeling? We love a lot about the Body Ecology Diet—but have a hard time sticking to something so restrictive. For those who have followed similar plans, was this level of disciplined eating sustainable longterm?

In other news, we are low on meatless menus! If you want this sometimes-controversial series to continue, please email yours to nomoredirtylooks@gmail.com with “My MM” in the subject.

Name: Maddie

Home: Brooklyn, NY

Dietary Leanings: Right now, I am (trying to be) gluten- and sugar-free, per my naturopath’s suggestion. I avoid meat but I’ll make exceptions for special events or if I’m really craving it. I also recently read the Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates and I now try to follow the food-combining principles explained in the book (and feel better for it!).

My favorite vegetable: Tomatoes and avocados when the weather’s warm; right now, roasted turnips.

This morning I…

First, had a glass of water with a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar. On my way out the door, I had some decaf coffee with almond milk. (I’m about to cave and go back to fully-caffeinated coffee soon… I miss it too much!)

A few hours later…

That’s usually when hunger kids in for me. Today’s breakfast was Greek yogurt with cinnamon and almonds.

Then for lunch…

I had a big bowl of leftover soup. Over the weekend, I had roasted two butternut squash, a turnip, and a radish from my CSA, along with a little garlic… then pureed all the veggies with some organic butter (my favorite food item, ever!), homemade vegetable stock, sage, nutmeg, and S&P.

For a mid-afternoon snack…

I had some orange-spiced hot tea and two helpings of delicious spinach saag that was brought in to the office!

Then for dinner…

First I had more ACV with water and a bit of the kimchi I made yesterday (to check on the flavors/fermentation, but also because I just really wanted a taste!). Then I steamed fingerling potatoes, purple carrot, and some baby kale from my CSA, along with some white onion—all seasoned with sage and S&P and drizzled with melted organic butter. I topped it all off with some fresh scallions.

If I’m hungry later, I’ll have a few spoonfuls of organic peanut butter with cinnamon (my sweet tooth is now non-existent, so this is plenty dessert-y for me!). Finally, I’ll have a cup of hot herbal tea before bed to help me sleep.