Zesty Carrot-Blackbean Burgers


I've been trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my diet recently. Not only is it a great way to cut your grocery bill in half (which my bank account totally needs after the holidays), its a great way to get more fiber in your diet. These blackbean burgers are amazing! They hold together like the real thing, and the carrots add a little sweetness to the smokey parpika and cumin. I also added jalapeƱo for a little kick. I've been crumbling the patties over salads and adding them to wraps too.
Why more fiber-filled meals, though? Well it’s pretty import for your digestive system. The microvilli in your small intestine can only absorb nutrients when they are not clogged and the roughage in a plant-based meal helps “clean you out” your system. Lovely, I know, but this allows you to better absorb nutrients. Fiber-filled meals also slow digestion, giving your body more time to absorb the nutrients in your food and keeping you full longer (which can help control weight).
The fact is that most American’s are only getting around 10 grams to 15 grams of fiber a day when a healthy adult should actually be eating up around 35 grams (read more here). My theory as to why is that most people really only think about fiber when it comes to carbs. “This bread has 5 grams more fiber per serving than this one.” This mentality is largely a product of advertising. Boasting about added fiber in breads and pasta is one of the only healthy things those companies can say about their products. But in reality a much, MUCH better way to get those extra 20 grams of fiber (along with tons of other vitamins and minerals) is by turning to vegetables.
Why add plant-based, fiber-packed meals to your diet?
-          Improve nutrition absorption
-          Prevent colon cancer
-          Reduce incident of heart disease
-          Lower cholesterol
-          Lower blood pressure
-          Decrease inflammation
-          Weight control
Vegetarian meals also are a great way to give your body a break from digesting animal products. It simply takes more energy for your body to process meat, which is actually one of the principles behind many high-protein diets. And I don't know about you, but for me December was filled with rich foods and most meals were centered around a chunk of meat. I think my body could use some recovery time. The less energy your body spends digesting food, the more energy it can spend on housekeeping. I'd much rather my body repair some cells than keep trying to digest a hunk of meat.



Roasted Eggplant Sammies with Caramelized Balsamic Onion

This combination is killer! Smooth roasted eggplant and creamy goat cheese with tangy balsamic onions, a touch of spicy arugula and toasted pine nuts. O yeah... did I mention this is all on top of this delicious garlic bread. It can be served warm out of the oven or cold.

This recipe was inspired by a sandwich I repeatedly get at Kleine Anne (Little Anna :), one of my favorite lunch spots in Frankfurt that specializes in sandwiches. The two ladies who brought this place to life could not have done a better job. Every single sandwich there is life-changingly delicious. They do one that consists of a creamy eggplant-nut spread, more cheese and arugula. This take on their creation not only turned out even better than I expected, it is a fair bit healthier than the original since there is only a touch of cheese, more veggies and since it is open-faced, less bread!

The recipe is so simple and delicious! And you can skip a few of the steps if it is just too much for you. Letting the eggplant sweat before you roast it and adding toasted nuts adds a little something extra, but the dish won't fall apart if you can't be bothered. I can also see this dish coming alive with a bit mint in the summer! Hope you enjoy.