Smoky BBQ Veggie Burgers from 'Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking'

Things have been busy around here for the last few weeks. We've been preparing for my inlaws, who arrive this Sunday. Every time they come to visit us, our house is in a state of construction/disaster. This visit will probably be no different, but we'd at least like to have a functioning kitchen for them to use. I mean, we have a functioning baby for them to play with, so if we can't get the kitchen in order, that should be good enough???

Brent is building our kitchen island. When I first met him I would have never imagined him as a future carpenter. For the last month or so, he has been carrying his tools from the basement to the back deck to set up his workspace, which would take anywhere from 30 min to an hour. On days where the rain was less predictable, he would often have to tear down and set up multiple times. If you get where I'm going with this story, the whole operation was really inefficient. Last week he splurged and bought a table saw to set up in the basement. Me, being the paranoid one in this relationship, convinced him to go out and also buy a ductless venting system, which is a wonderful contraption that collects all of the sawdust in a giant tube so it doesn't go flying around the house forcing me to spend every waking second of my life dusting.

I'm pretty impressed with the whole setup, and now this means that he can work on the cabinets after work and whenever he gets spare time. I'm pretty happy about it all, especially because he really loves woodworking, and I get cabinets for a fraction of the price. Last summer we hired a carpenter to put up some siding on our bathroom, install some beadboard on our front porch roof and a few other small jobs. Even though I really liked the carpenter and actually really missed his company when he left, I almost cried when I got the bill.

Last weekend was my first Mother's Day and we decided to celebrate on Saturday to miss the crowds. Personally, I wanted to extend the celebration out the whole week cause I was having a lot of fun doing nothing and using the whole Mother's Day excuse. We had an amazing brunch at Cafe Flora.

I ordered a grapefruit mimosa, cinnamon rolls (yes 2), lemon blueberry pancakes with a side of cheesy grits. The whole meal was so delicious that after I finished, I hated myself only slightly for eating a half ton of carbs. After brunch, we drove 30 miles outside of the city to Flower World, a beautiful flower and tree farm with a huge selection of plants for the half the price you would spend in the city. Despite the low cost, I managed to spend an insane amount of money and am rather impressed that we were able to fit them all in the back of our Subaru with the car seat and stroller. I've spent the better part of the last 2 weeks in my garden, which I feel really good about because we were definitely bordering on the overgrown, jungle, trashy, 'those people need to really cut their grass' look.  I'm almost to the point where I don't have an inch of bare space left to plant (landscape plans achieved). I only have a few minor things left - lattice the roses, finish hacking away at the neighbor's ivy and plant grass seed. I finally made a decision about patio furniture, and we ordered some online from a furniture warehouse in Florida with a really bad website design. A little voice deep down questioned the legitimacy of the operation, but Trusted by Google assures me that they are legit. I'll let you know how that goes.

Seeing as our kitchen has been in a state of chaos for some time now, my elaborate meal creations have consisted of pureed sweet potatoes and beans for Sebastian, and everything on the grill for Brent and I. Oh, I almost forgot the pizza. There's been a lot of that, which is really kiboshing my attempts at getting 'bathing suit ready' for summer.

Last week I received a copy of Minimalist Baker's new cookbook 'Everyday Cooking', which was a huge relief because Dana is notorious for creating quick and healthy plant-based recipes, which is something I really need right now. Dana's book is full of super approachable vegan recipes, with ingredients that you probably have tucked away in your pantry or fridge. After flipping through and highlighting the recipes that I need to make immediately (which is basically all of them), I knew that I wanted to share with you guys her Smoky BBQ veggie burger recipe. These burgers aren't your typical heavy bean-y veggie burger. They are made up of quinoa and chickpeas, with a whole lot of spices. The quinoa adds a light texture to the burger while the chickpeas add a crucial crunch. The combination of spices adds a wonderful umami flavor, which is what really makes these burgers special. I found myself just wanting to eat a patty on its own. I've actually made these burgers twice now, despite the insufficient work space in my kitchen. They are incredible.

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Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking

makes 4 burgers

prep time: 20 minutes

cooking time: 20 minutes

3/4 cup cooked quinoa

1 - 15 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2  cups bread crumbs

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp chili powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp barbecue sauce

2 tbsp canola oil


4 burger buns, lightly toasted

1 avocado, sliced

2 cups red cabbage, sliced

4 tbsp barbecue sauce

Cook 1/2 cup dry quinoa in 1 cup of water or broth. You should be left with roughly one cup of cooked quinoa. Reserve 3/4 cup for the burgers.

In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas until you have a crumbly texture with some small pieces throughout.

In a large bowl add the quinoa, chickpeas, bread crumbs, spices, brown sugar, and 2 tbsp of barbecue sauce. Combine. If the mixture appears too dry (it won't hold its shape) add a tbsp at a time of barbecue sauce until it comes together into a patty.

Divide the mixture into four patties. Shape with your hands. Make sure to press the burgers firmly. Place onto a plate while the oil is heating.

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium. Once the oil is hot, add the veggie burgers. Fry on each side for 4 - 5 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Don't be alarmed if the burgers crumble, just smoosh them together with the spatula. If you want a firmer texture, you can continue to bake them at 350ºF for 15 - 30 minutes.

Serve with suggested toppings.