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 jalapeño 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.

Zesty Carrot-Blackbean Burgers

Makes 8 burgers
1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, pelled and chopped
1 1/2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 jalapeño without seeds, finely diced (or 2 T. pickled jalapeno)
1/2 tsp. salt, paprika and cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne
2 eggs
1/3 cup panko or normal bread crumbs
Optional: 2 spring onions, finely chopped
2-4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped1/2 avocado

8 buns + burger fixings (lettuce, tomato, pickles avocado, etc.)

1. In a pan on medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. oil and saute onion and carrots until soft. Turn heat off and add crushed garlic and seasonings.
2. Pour warm mixture into a food processor with beans. Pulse a few times until everything is blended, but not smooth. *Note: You can also use an immersion blender and pot or do it the old-fashioned way and mash things together with a potato stamper or fork.
3. Pour mixture into a bowl and fold in spring onions and parsley. Taste mixture and adjust seasonings to taste.
4. Add eggs and mix until combined. Do the same with the bread crumbs.
5. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil to pan on medium heat. Spoon approx. 1/3 cup of mixture into pan and form into a patty. Repeat until you pan is full! Cook patties for about 3-5 minutes on each side or until they begin to brown and hold together.
6. Put patties on buns and top with you favorite fixings.

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