In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I will supply you with a green recipe – not just in color, but in healthy plant-powered goodness! But first, a little history on our good friend Pat. Did you know that he wasn’t even Irish? He was a Brit who was kidnapped and enslaved by Irish pagans, but apparently he came to like his captors and, when he escaped, vowed to return. Fast forward thirty years and old Pat had become a Christian, converting people left and right, and was ultimately responsible for converting that little island called Ireland to Catholicism. So in homage to this great non-Irishman, we drink copious amounts of alcohol, dance around with shamrocks on our heads and pretend to be Irish. God, I love holidays…
Now that you understand the meaning of Saint Patrick’s Day so well, why not show your Irish pride by whipping up some spinach tempeh burgers? Tempeh is made from fermented whole soybeans, and is one of the best ways to consume soy because the fermentation process breaks down some of the phytic acid found in unfermented soy (like tofu). This is beneficial for maximum nutrient absorption and healthy digestion, not to mention you’ll be getting a truckload of protein! Combined with brown rice, toasted sunflower seeds, and spinach and you’ll be satiated until that drunken 2am I-need-food-to-absorb-some-of-this-guinness attack.
1 T cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 package tempeh, crumbled (I recommend SoyBoy)
1 small onion, diced
3 T dried herb seasoning (I recommend Penzey’s Bouquet Garni, or a mixture of savory, rosemary, thyme, Turkish oregano, basil, dill weed, marjoram, sage and tarragon)
Pinch of chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder or 4 cloves minced garlic
Generous splash of white wine, any variety
1 tsp tamari
1/2 cup + stock (I recommend Imagine Foods No-Chicken Stock)
Pinch of smoked sea salt (optional, but delicious – I recommend alder smoked sea salt)
1 tsp arrowroot powder
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Handful of nutritional yeast
3/4 cup short grain brown rice, cooked in 2 cups of stock
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds + 2 T, toasted
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour (to coat patties)
Add brown rice and stock to a saucepan, bring to a boil, then turn down flame and simmer for about 40 minutes. In a big saute pan (I use cast iron), heat oil over medium flame and add onions. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes, then stir in crumbled tempeh, chili powder, herbs, and garlic powder. Cook for another 4 minutes or so, until tempeh is beginning to brown. Now deglaze with a sizable splash of wine, carefully scraping up any pieces of tempeh that might have become stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add tamari, stock, and smoked sea salt, then stir to incorporate into mixture. Add more stock if needed (you want to almost submerge the mixture in liquid). Dump spinach on top of bubbling tempeh and lower the flame to a lively simmer. Once half of the liquid has been absorbed, stir and add nutritional yeast and cooked brown rice. Turn off flame and set aside.
Toast sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over low heat until brown and fragrant. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt. Pour 1/4 cup of seeds into a food processor along with tempeh mixture, and pulse about 20 times, or until mixture is combined but still has texture. Pour into a mixing bowl and add remaining sunflower seeds. Time permitting, allow burger mixture to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Form into patties, then coat with flour. In a saute pan, heat 2 T refined coconut oil over a medium high flame. Add patties (depending on size of pan, you may have to do this in batches). Cook until brown and crispy on bottom side, then flip and repeat, until both sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. To serve, toast some whole grain sprouted bread or lay atop a bed of greens with your favorite burger toppings! I recommend pickles, avocado and dijon mustard. Makes enough for 6-8 drunken unicorns guilty of using Saint Patty’s Day as an excuse to get inebriated.