Monday, November 1, 2010

Portabella Mushroom Burgers and Black Bean Couscous with Feta


I love me a good burger, and if there's bacon on it, even better. In fact, if you order a bacon cheeseburger anywhere in the United States, I instantly manifest, wearing a bib and ready to feast. Despite my love for burgers, I also love the veggie options that are currently out there. When I was first introduced to veggie burgers, it was of the tasteless cardboard variety and I never thought a good substitute would make its way to my plate, so I never ordered one again.

That is, until I tasted the Black Bean Chipotle Burger from Morningstar Farms. Don't get me wrong--the texture is somewhat mushy and the patty tends to fall apart if you stare at it too long, and it can never replace the bliss I feel from eating a meat hamburger, but it's pretty darn good compared to the hockey pucks that used to have the veggie market cornered.

My other favorite type of burger is the mushroom burger. Portabella mushrooms are like the meaty burger patty of the fungi world, and the hold marinades pretty well, so if you're one of those who appreciates the juices that flow from a beef patty and are disappointed by the dryness of veggie burgers, try this simple marinade and grill recipe.

In addition, while fries are the standard accompaniment to burgers (and I happen to adore piping hot fried foods in moderation), I decided on couscous with black beans, cherry tomatoes, spinach and feta as a lighter alternative packed with fiber and protein.

Portabella Mushroom Burgers
4 portabella mushroom caps, cleaned
1 shallot, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt and pepper

1. In a medium bowl, mix shallot, garlic, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Place mushroom caps in a shallow baking dish and pour marinade over to cover. Let stand for 30 minutes, turning the caps over occasionally.

2. Heat a grill pan (I used my George Foreman) to nice and hot. Add mushrooms to grill and cook 3-4 minutes a side. While on grill, place sliced cheese on and allow to melt on mushroom caps. Serve with lettuce, tomato, avocado, caramelized onions, or whatever else floats your boat on a steamed whole wheat bun. Enjoy!


Black Bean Couscous with Feta
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1 cup couscous
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 medium zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 cups baby spinach
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 tbsp. feta cheese

1. Heat chicken stock and 1 tbsp. olive oil until it comes to a boil, then add couscous and remove from heat. Cover and let stand while preparing rest of ingredients.

2. Heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Saute zucchini in oil until soft, about 5-7 minutes. During the last three minutes, add halved cherry tomatoes and saute.

3. Fold zucchini-tomato mixture into couscous, along with baby spinach (I chiffonade the spinach) and black beans. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary.

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