Here's an economical, vegetarian meal even carnivores will love
I am a carnivore through and through. I blame it on my parents: At least once a week, we had steak and baked potatoes, and that love affair combo continues today.
However, I have realized that it is a nice change of pace to switch to a vegetarian meal to grill and significantly less expensive.
Today, I have made a meal for four people to share with you, and the total cost of this meal was $28.12. I bought all the ingredients at a regular local grocery store. Um, sometimes the beef I buy for grilling for four people costs twice that price.
For the first course, I am serving grilled red cabbage with a green sauce. I don't know what else to call this sauce other than delicious. It has parsley, cilantro, jalapeño, spinach, honey and lemon, and it marries so well with the charred cabbage.
Are you trying to save money on your grocery budget? Potatoes will always be my go-to because they are so versatile. Although I live alone, I routinely bake two to three potatoes at a time, let them cool and store the extras whole in the refrigerator until I need them. Dice them up in the morning to make a hash, add them to soups, or slice into steak fries and grill them for the perfect side dish to the star of this menu.
What is the star of this menu, you ask? BLACK BEAN BURGERS! I am shouting because these are so freaking good. Canned black beans are always a staple in my pantry -- so much so that if I notice I have two cans left, I immediately add them to my grocery list. These burgers stay together with oats (I promise you won't taste it!) and one egg, and the trick is to freeze the burger patties for 20 minutes before grilling. They will stay together when you flip them. I cannot tell you how many black bean burgers I've lost to the grill over the years before figuring out that trick.
My dessert is delicious and so inexpensive -- but has a lot of bang for the buck. I bought canned pineapple rings, grilled them after the burgers came off the grill for 5 minutes and let them cool. They were then topped with good vanilla ice cream, chopped pecans and a hit of fresh mint -- a perfect ending to this meal.
I hope you enjoy this meatless menu.
• My Bizzy Kitchen runs once a month in Food. Follow Biz Velatini on her blog at mybizzykitchen.com/, on Instagram at instagram.com/mybizzykitchen/?hl=en and Facebook at facebook.com/mybizzykitchen.
Black Bean Burgers
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup red pepper, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Dak's steakhouse barbecue seasoning or any bbq seasoning blend
½ cup quick oats
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons mild giardiniera
Mix all the ingredients together and divide into four portions and form into patties. Place the four patties on a plate and freeze for 20 minutes.
Heat grill to medium high heat. Spray the burgers with avocado oil spray and cook each side for 5 minutes. Everything is cooked inside; you just want to make sure the burger is hot in the middle. Add your desired toppings and bun.
Note: I use a wide-mouth Mason jar ring, lined with plastic wrap, to form the patties. Use the lid to pack the patty into the ring.
Makes 4 burgers
Courtesy of Biz VelatiniCharred red cabbage makes a wonderful, crunchy summer side dish.
Green Sauce with Charred Red Cabbage
¾ cup grapeseed oil
1 cup parsley
1 cup cilantro
1 cup spinach
1 jalapeño (I left the seeds in for added heat; you can leave them out)
1/8 cup honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons white vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
Half of one red cabbage, cut into quarters
Add all the ingredients except for the red cabbage to a food processor or blender, and pulse/blend until smooth.
Heat grill to medium high heat. Spray both sides of the red cabbage with avocado oil spray and cook on each side for 5 minutes. Remove from grill, plate and hit with salt and pepper and a couple of teaspoons of the green sauce. The leftover green sauce will be good in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Sauce makes 2 cups (2 teaspoons are really all you need to wake up any dish)
Grilled Steak Fries
2 large potatoes, previously baked, sliced into steak fries
Avocado oil spray
Salt and pepper
Heat grill to medium heat. Grill potatoes for five minutes on each side. Salt and pepper to taste.
Grilled Pineapple with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
2 cans of pineapple slices
1 small container vanilla bean ice cream
8 pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
Heat grill to medium heat. Grill pineapple slices for 3 minutes a side, just to get some grill marks. Set aside to cool.
To plate: Lay two slices of grilled pineapple on a plate. Top with a heaping tablespoon of vanilla bean ice cream (I used a melon baller for a scoop) sprinkle pecans and mint over the top.