Not Your Traditional Burgers and Fries

Hello friends! I hope that your week is going great so far. Today is kind of like my Friday since I don’t have to work tomorrow, AND one of my closest friends is coming to visit from Friday to Tuesday. I am so lucky this is a short week, otherwise I would most likely go nuts from excitement (I am very much like a kid in this respect).

I’ve been trying to nail down a super exciting new recipe for you all, but I have come across some road bumps: they aren’t turning out exactly how I want, my pictures aren’t great, or I forget to get a picture of an important step. So the some recipes are still forthcoming.

Lately I have been trying to be more conscious of our grocery bill for a number of reasons. My husband is allergic to wheat, and most gluten free substitutes are more expensive, so that’s one reason. Another is that it is so easy to just fall into a routine of buying the more expensive items (I am looking at you bagged salads), and why waste the money? I want a house and a dog and I love shopping, so why not make each paycheck go a little farther?

I am doing this a few ways, one of which is making more vegetarian meals. A can of beans is so much cheaper than a pound of [organic grass-fed] meat (we can have the meat debate another day, I can feel this post getting long as it is!).

My most recent vegetarian success was inspired by Sarah, aka Mama Pea’s, amazing blog, get ready to kiss an hour of your life goodbye to browse her fantastic recipes. One that caught my eye in particular was her Yukon Gold White Bean Basil Burgers.

I made these burgers according to her fab recipe, but my grocery store AND farmer’s market didn’t have fresh basil. After resisting the urge to flop on the ground and sob, I asked the farmer what was up. I guess the long winter and practically non existent spring we had here in Utah has delayed my beloved fresh basil. So, I sprinkled in a hefty portion of dried basil as well as some cyan pepper (you will learn soon enough I add this to most things).

To round off the incredibly amazing meal I made a salad inspired by a dish I used to eat at my favorite pita place in California and sweet potato fries. It was SO MUCH DELISH food. I couldn’t even begin to finish what was on my plate it was so filling and yummy.

Yukon Gold White Bean Basil Burgers: Check out the original recipe. I made mine in a skillet, and they were great. I used gluten free flour which may have contributed to these falling apart a bit, but this means you just need to eat fast :). Makes four burgers, but I could have made five or maybe six with my batch. Serve on your choice of bun (we used gluten free) with pickles and tomatoes. You can also throw on some cheese, we just happened to have some around.

Cucumber Tomato Salad:
(makes about 2-4 servings depending on how much you want)

1 large English cucumber (or a few smaller Persian or pickling cucumbers, whatever you can find)
3-4 Roma tomatoes 
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion 
2 tsp olive oil 
lemon juice
salt/pepper
Optional seasonings: dried parsley, sumac powder (I could NOT find this to save my life, even at Whole Foods, but I think that this is what they used at the restaurant).

Dice the cucumber and tomato, mix in a bowl with the onion. I don’t like chunks of seeds or onion so I seeded both the tomatoes and cucumber and chopped the onion SUPER small. Drizzle with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil.

Here is where it gets technical: Add salt, pepper, and either parsley or sumac to taste, then drizzle with lemon juice. I am being vague on purpose because this is totally based on your personal tastes. I bet I used about a tablespoon of parsley and half that of lemon juice, if you want a jumping off point.

Mix all the ingredients and let sit in the refrigerator for as long as you can, this is great five minutes or five hours after it’s made.

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries:
(makes 2-3 servings)

one large sweet potato cut into fries (peeling is up to you, I like to get in those extra nutrients!)
olive oil spray
salt/pepper
2 tsp garlic powder 
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 

Preheat the oven to 400º F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray. After you have cut the sweet potato, place in a large bowl, spray with cooking spray, add spices (you can always add more or less depending on your taste), and toss to combine. Place on cooking sheet. Cook for 10-20 minutes (my oven is on ‘roids so keep an eye on them), take out and flip the fries, and bake until they have reached your desired crispness.

Alternatively you can use store-bought frozen sweet potato fries. Toss with seasonings and then follow the package directions.

This is just the ultimate summer meal in my opinion, burgers and fries, but without the added fat and excess calories. Plus it isn’t as heavy as a traditional burger and fries, who likes to feel weighed down and heavy after their meal when it’s so hot outside?

What is your idea summer meal? Do you try to incorporate vegetarian options into your diet?

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