• August 20, 2014

Lighten up meals ahead of the holidays

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Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 4:30 am

If you’re like me, you know you’ll be putting on a few pounds over the holidays.

Between snacks from co-workers and holiday gatherings with family and friends, it will be hard to say no to all the tempting treats.

In preparation, I’ve been extra careful about what I eat, opting for low-fat, low-carb, high-protein meals to help me shed a few pounds so I can enjoy the treats I love at Christmas and New Year’s without feeling guilty.

One of my newest finds — and favorites — is this quinoa veggie burger. It’s so tasty, I don’t even miss the meat. And once the holidays are past, I’ll continue to enjoy this satisfying dish.

QUINOA VEGGIE BURGER

Makes: 8 burgers

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Total time: 90 minutes

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup red quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups finely chopped cremini or white button mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup whole pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 8 small whole-wheat burger buns, toasted if desired

Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, marjoram and oregano; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Beat egg in a medium bowl. Add the quinoa, mushroom mixture, cheese, pecans, oats and soy sauce; stir to combine. Scoop scant ½-cup portions of the mixture onto the baking sheet and shape into 8 patties, about 3 inches wide, leaving about 1 inch of space between each patty. (The mixture will be crumbly; patting it into burgers on the baking sheet makes it easier to work with. The burgers hold together very well once baked.)

Bake the burgers until crispy, 28 to 30 minutes. Serve on buns with your favorite garnishes.

Make ahead: Individually wrap and freeze cooked burgers for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in a skillet with a little oil.

Nutrition per serving (With bun): 280 calories; 12 g fat (2 g sat, 4 g mono); 29 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrates; 4 g added sugars; 11 g protein; 6 g fiber; 320 mg sodium; 353 mg potassium.

Adapted from eatingwell.com

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