Spicy Black Bean Burgers

You may have noticed I’ve been on a veggie burger and vegetable-kick lately. I have have been looking for new recipes for my meat-loving husband to try and challenging myself to find the occasional meatless (or semi-meatless) recipe for him and I to enjoy! Don’t get me wrong – I’m not becoming a vegetarian (far from it), but am trying to learn to cook veggies in ways that I don’t normally try to. And these burgers take the cake – they’re B’s favorite vegetarian thing I’ve made this year so far.

homemade spicy black bean burgers

Spicy Black Bean Burgers (adapted from Eat Live Run)

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • ½ medium red onion
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ fresh tomato, diced
  • ½ c panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ c canned corn

Here’s what you do:

  1. Chop jalapenos in half and remove seeds. 
  2. Add de-seeded jalapeno and garlic cloves to a food processor and mince finely. 
  3. Add chopped onion to food processor and continue to dice.
  4. Add one of the cans of beans and flaxseed to the food processor and combine with jalapeno and garlic mixture.
  5. Add cumin and mix until the mixture is has a texture that is similar to that of an oatmeal cookie.
  6. Using a spatula, stir in panko bread crumbs and mix well. 
  7. Stir in chopped tomato, canned corn and remaining can of beans. 
  8. Form mixture into small burger patties. Mine made about 10 patties.
  9. OPTIONAL PRE-COOKING STEP: Pop in the freezer for a little while to help patties harden. This isn’t necessary but definitely helps the texture since the patties are very mushy and crumbly when they cook. Since they made 10 patties, I made mine over the weekend and froze them ahead of time and only took out 4 to cook the evening of (2 for B, 1 for me for dinner and 1 for me for lunch the next day).
  10. Spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium. Fry black bean burgers on each side: if fresh, 5 min per side will do, if frozen you will want to cook longer, 10 min on each side or until completely defrosted and crusty and golden on each side.
  11. Enjoy how you like your burgers! I enjoyed mine with avocado and sriracha on an English muffin.

For me the recipe made 10 medium size burgers.


Make ahead and freeze! I wrapped mine in plastic wrap and foil and put in tupperware.

black bean burger patties

burgers before cooking

black bean burger meal

How I ate my burger – with a side salad, cooked spinach and topped with avocado and sriracha

Spicy Kale with Lentils and Sweet Potato

Looking for a filling and satisfying vegetarian dinner one night? Or a comforting vegetable side dish, perfect for this winter? Then this is for you! Again, B is a pretty serious meat eater, but he somehow agreed to try this (along with some chicken). I’m not sure how much he liked it, but I really enjoyed the dish. I got it from Eat Live Run and made a few modifications.

Spicy Kale with Lentils and Sweet Potato


Spicy Kale with Lentils and Sweet Potato (modified from Eat Live Run)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 c diced onion
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 serrano peppers, chopped finely
  • 6 baby carrots (or 2 large carrots), diced
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • one bunch kale, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 c chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c lentils (dry)
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper

Here’s what you do: 

  1. Dice the onion, celery, serrano peppers and carrots. Chop up the sweet potato into 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium sized pot.
  3. Add the onion, celery, carrot, peppers and sweet potato and cook for about six minutes, until softened.
  4. While the onion, celery, peppers and potato cooks, dice the garlic and chop up the kale. When cooked, add the garlic and kale and continue cooking until kale wilts.
  5. Add the lentils, dried rosemary, cracked red pepper and broth (use vegetable broth if you want a vegetarian recipe). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until lentils are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid.
  6. Enjoy!
chopped veggies look so pretty don't they?

chopped veggies look so pretty don’t they?

Spicy Kale with Lentils and Sweet Potato

Zucchini Fries

This weekend, B and I did something we hardly ever do – we hit the grocery store and picked up supplies to make a homemade dinner every single night this week. every night but Friday night. each of the 3 nights B and I will be home together this week. The plans? Chicken marinara with mozzarella and spinach, Moroccan-style chicken with chickpeas and zucchini, and eggs with hamsteak. But of course this morning I remembered that B and I are hitting a movie on Thursday (Movie #3 of 4 on our list to see as part of the Cleveland International Film Festival!) shortly after our work/training run and likely won’t have time to cook – so that leaves us with 2 nights of meals.

Knowing the zucchini wouldn’t stay until next week I decided to use it tonight anyway and make some zucchini fries! These are a delicious way to enjoy some healthy “fried” food and also get some extra veggies in.

Zucchini Fries

Here’s what you need (serves 2-3):

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • ¼ c panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ c Italian style breadcrumbs
  • ¼ c grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ c Egg Beaters

Here’s what you do:

  • Slice the zucchini into thin, fry-like strips. I find it easiest to cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then in half the other way and cut each portion into smaller portions. The thinner the fries, the crispier and less zucchini-like they taste.
  • Mix the dry ingredients – panko breadcrumbs, Italian flavored breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic and onion powders.
  • Prepare a baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with Pam or any other olive-oil type spray.
  • Make the fries! Take each strip and coat thoroughly in the Egg Beaters. After coated in Egg Beaters, place in the dry ingredient mixture. Shake it up to coat evenly. After coated, place onto the prepared baking sheet. Do this with each strip.
  • Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping about halfway through to evenly brown.

Enjoy! I like serving my fries with homemade tomato sauce and sometimes add some red pepper flakes for some extra heat in the sauce.

Summer = Farmer’s Markets

Source: Positively Cleveland

This weekend was the unofficial start of summer! Which not only means we can wear white (does anyone actually follow that rule?), but also enjoy fresh, locally grown produce in Northeast Ohio. One of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available everywhere, especially at Farmer’s Markets. If you work/live downtown like me, besides going to the West Side Market, there’s no better way to get fresh fruits, veggies, and other food (including my favorite, Ohio City Pasta!). Some downtown Farmer’s Markets I’m looking forward to frequenting during lunch breaks include:

  • Public Square: Fridays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. through October, opens June 10th
  • Cleveland State University (in front of the law school on Euclid between E 18th and E 21st): Thursdays 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. through November 17th, opens June 9th
  • East 9th Street Pier: Thursdays 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. through Labor Day, opens tomorrow (June 2)

Not lucky enough to hit one of the downtown spots? A full listing of NEO markets can be found here.

Where’s your favorite place to find fresh produce? Do you have another favorite Farmer’s Market?

Kale is the new spinach (Subtitle: Healthy Crockpot Recipe: Tuscan Chicken Sausage, Kale and Vegetable Soup)

I got  a crockpot! I got a crockpot! I got a crockpot! (can you sense my excitement?)

A few months ago, B and I registered for a slow cooker (correct term… but that’s the only time you’ll hear me use it) at Macy’s. Here’s the model in case you’re interested. Well, one of my best friends got it for me for my wedding shower gift and I was super pumped to try it out. The review? Awesome! It was easy to clean, easy to use, and everything turned out great!

For one of my first recipes, I wanted something truly no fuss and healthy. This meant no searing any meat before using it, not toooo much chopping (I haven’t gotten my Mini-Chop yet from my registry:)) — something I could truly throw together before work and return home 12 or so hours later to eat. So when I found the Tuscan Turkey Sausage, Kale and Vegetable Soup recipe I was really excited to try it out — and it didn’t disappoint! See below for a fabulous, easy and healthy crockpot soup.

Tuscan Turkey Sausage, Kale and Vegetable Soup

adopted from RecipeGirl.com


  • One (12-ounce) package of turkey or chicken sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (I used Al Fresco Sweet Italian Style Chicken Sausage)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 medium bunch kale, stems removed, & leaves chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 3 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • One (15.5-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • One (15.5-ounce) can great Northern beans, rinsed & drained
  • One (14.5-ounce) can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (or water)
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • shredded Parmesan cheese, optional (I’m a huge cheese fan … I ended up using Romano because that’s what I had on hand)

Directions (it really is as easy as 1-2-3)

  1. Chop all ingredients — chicken/turkey sausage, garlic, onion, carrots, celery and kale.
  2. In a slow cooker, combine all chopped ingredients except Parmesan. Stir to combine.
  3. Cover and cook on low until the vegetables are tender, 8-10 hours.

Yield: 6 servings (1 1/2 cups per serving)

* Nutritional Information (without Parmesan): calories 241, fat 5g (sat 5g & trans fat 0g), cholesterol 37mg, sodium 1,258mg, carbohydrates 31g, fiber 8g, protein 19g, calcium 158mg

* according to Recipe Girl

If you liked this recipe, or want more slow cooker recipes, check out the ones I’ve tried and shared, here.


Here are a few of my other favorite soup-like recipes:

Slow Cooker Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Soup

Beef, Lentil and Spinach Stew

Sweet Potato Chicken Chili

If you liked this kale recipe, check out some more!

Shrimp and baby kale fajita salad i crashed the web

Shrimp and baby kale fajita salad