Black Bean Burger with Kimchi and Cheddar


I love a good black bean burger, and I have been tinkering with my recipe for the burger itself for a long time. Recently, I had dinner at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington, Vermont, and  I was inspired by how this burger described on their menu. Since I make my own kimchi and pickled jalepeno at home, I was decided to follow their example and try this topping combination! You can also buy both kimchi and pickled jalepeno easily at the grocery store. The result was everything that I hoped it could be – packed full of flavor and deliciousness. This is an interesting mixture of beans, pickled vegetables, sweet, and sour tastes that blend together well.

Serves 4


For the black bean burger:

  • 2 cups/16 oz cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup/4 oz mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, about 4 oz/ 1/2 cup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • olive oil for cooking

For assembly:


In a medium mixing bowl, mash the beans using a potato masher until they are broken down into a paste.

Dice the mushrooms and onions very finely into about 1/4″ dice. Add these to a large skillet with about 1 tbsp. olive oil and cook over high heat until they have lost a lot of their water. The mushrooms should look wilted and starting to crisp up and the onions should be translucent. Remove from heat and add to the bowl with the beans. If there is any liquid from the mushrooms in the skillet, don’t add the liquid to the mixing bowl.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to break up the yolks. Then add the eggs and all of the other burger ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir together to evenly distribute. For a vegan burger, omit the eggs. Instead of making four patties, form five smaller ones.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in the large skillet over medium high heat. Rotate the pan to spread the oil around.

Divide the mixture up in to four patties. Form patties by holding part of the mix in your hand and shaping the mix into a ball. Flatten it slightly in your palms and then place it in the skillet. Fry until the bottom is crispy and the patty is starting to firm up – slide a spatula under to check. Then, flip the burger over and cook until crispy on the other side. As soon as you flip the burger, place a slice of cheese on top (optional) so that it will melt while the burger cooks.

Remove the burgers from heat and assemble the sandwiches! Start with your burger, topped with cheese and one quarter of the kimchi, jalepeno, and cilantro. Finish with barbecue sauce and enjoy!


Quick Tempeh Bites


Hello again! I’ve been on a short hiatus – Jake and I have been doing some traveling this month, and I have also been experimenting with recipes for the pumpkin challenge – more on those in a later post! For now, here are some quick tempeh bites for lunch or a snack to share. Sometimes when I am working from home I am in the mood for a warm lunch, but something quick to keep my energy going. This was a perfect quick meal, and it is really flexible towards whatever veggies you want to include. You can add a side of rice and kimchi or other pickled vegetables, like radishes or carrots.

Serves 1.


  • about 4 oz. tempeh (half a package)
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp palm sugar or granulated sugar
  • oil for frying
  • 1/3 cup vegetables like red bell pepper, green beans, carrots, etc – something with a little crunch
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • pinch chinese five spice, or substitute cinnamon (optional)


Cut the tempeh into small bites of whatever size you’d like to eat. I cut mine into about 1/2″ dice. Add these to a skillet over medium heat with a little bit of oil, the soy sauce, and the sugar sprinkled over top. Stir this occasionally so they don’t stick to the skillet while you prepare other ingredients.

Dice your vegetables (I used some leftover red pepper I had, but any vegetables with a little crunch will do) into a dice of a similar size as the tempeh. Set aside. Slice the green onions thinly, using the white and tender green parts, set aside.

Now, your tempeh should be browning and will have absorbed most of the liquid in the skillet. Add the diced vegetables and stir them into the tempeh to incorporate. If you think the tempeh seems too dry, add another dash of soy sauce. Add a sprinkle of five spice, if you are using it – I like just a bit of this, so just be careful to taste after you add a bit to see if you’d like more. Cook everything together until the vegetables have just started to wilt and the tempeh is a nice brown color. Remove from heat to a plate and top with the green onions and cilantro.

Grapefruit and Arugula Salad


This is simple salad has nicely balanced flavors, and I made it as a satisfying but light lunch for one! While you are peeling the grapefruit, use a small paring knife to cut away the outer skin and pith.

Serves 1.


  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 naval orange
  • 1/2 cucumber, about 3 inches
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 3 large basil leaves (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/8 tsp each of sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 radishes (optional)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (optional)
  • 1 tsp olive oil


Peel the grapefruit and orange, using a sharp knife to remove the skin and white pith. Peel the segments over a bowl until you can easily wiggle them loose. Place in a salad bowl.

Peel the cucumber and dice into a 1/2″ dice. Add to the bowl.

Roughly chop arugula and basil. Rinse and dice radishes. Combine these and the rest of the ingredients in the salad bowl and toss to mix. Enjoy as a light lunch!

Pumpkin and Bean Nacho Dip


For the fourth year in a row, Jake and I are embarking on the Pumpkin Challenge! During the month of October, we try to eat pumpkin in some way once each day, as a way to explore one of our favorite foods. We’ve found a lot of interesting foods over the years – some are easy, some are complicated, sweet, or savory. To start, here is a yummy layered nacho bean and pumpkin dip – happy October!

Serves 4 as a generous snack.


  • 2 cups (or one 16 oz can) of cooked black or kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup tomato
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup pickled peppers
  • 1/4 cup jalepeños, onions, and carrots en escabeche (substitute 1 jalepeño)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp each of coriander seed, cumin, oregano, and unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp each allspice, chipotle chili powder, and cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1/2 cup cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese to top


If you are starting with dry beans, place about 1 1/4 cup of dry beans in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, and boil until the beans are tender. This can vary from 30 – 45 minutes depending on how dry your beans are, just check until they are completely soft every so often.

Preheat the oven or a toaster oven (if your baking dish will fit) to 400 degrees F.

Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients. Dice the tomato, escabeche, and pickled peppers to the size you like, I like about a 1/4″ dice. Dice the onion and divide the diced onion in half. Combine the cooked beans, half the onion, the tomato, escabeche, peppers, corn, oregano, the lime juice, and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper in a square baking dish – stir so the ingredients are evenly distributed.

If you have whole allspice, cumin, and coriander seed, place these spices in a dry skillet and toast for about 30 seconds over medium heat until they are fragrant. Use a mortar and a pestle or spice grinder to grind into a paste. Otherwise, use powdered spice. In the same skillet, add a tsp of olive oil and the rest of the diced onion. Cook over medium heat until the onion is starting to become translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, then combine onions, pumpkin, coriander seed, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, cocoa powder, chili powder, and 1/2 tsp salt in a small mixing bowl. Stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed, then pour over the vegetables into the baking dish, using the back of a spoon to spread out the mixture.

Grate the cheese and sprinkle it over top. Bake the dish for about 20 minutes, until the cheese has started to brown. Now the cheese will be lovely and gooey and the flavors will have baked well together! Top with some sour cream and cilantro if you like and enjoy this dip with tortilla chips! I think it would probably also be good with some extra rice wrapped up in a burrito.



I love Ratatouille! It is a very tasty meal that takes a bit to cook but not too long to prepare the vegetables – a great dinner to set up, walk away, and come back to. I like to prepare it this way because the vegetables here are not overcooked, but instead retain just enough of their own flavor and character to work wonderfully together. Here, there are not specific measurements of vegetable ingredients – simply work with what you have and how much food you think you would like. You can easily add more vegetables to this recipe as well.

Serves 3 – 4.


  • 1 large globe eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper or 3 – 4 mini bell peppers
  • 1 white or yellow onion
  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp herb d’provence or italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  •  parmesan to top
  • olive oil


Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. Lightly sprinkle each slice with salt on one side, leave all of the slices in a colander to sweat some of their water while you prepare other ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice zucchini, mushrooms, red peppers, and tomatoes into about a 1/4″ dice. It doesn’t matter what size your slices are – I like it if they are all roughly the same size, about 2″ square. To cut the bell pepper, slice across the whole pepper so thaty you have rings of pepper rather than thin slices. Remove the seed tissue. Slice the onions – cut off the ends of the onion, then cut the onion in half, perhaps even quarters depending on your preference, and peel away layers of the onion to create different pieces. Combine all the vegetable slices in a mixing bowl, mix in about a tsp of salt, a few good shakes of pepper, the herbs d’provence, and about 1 tbsp of olive oil – mix to combine and cover the vegetables in a thin coat of oil. You can add more of these to taste.

Pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel, then combine it in the bowl.

In a Dutch oven or a square baking dish, pour half of the tomato sauce and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Peel and slice the garlic and sprinkle it over this sauce. Now, you can either add the ingredients all at once and spread them out evenly, or I like to layer them in so that each type of vegetable alternates into a spiral. This is a little more work, but when I have time I like to do it because it reminds me of the movie Ratatouille! Now, pour the rest of the tomato sauce evenly over the vegetables.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about five minutes, then top with parmesan cheese and the parsley (you can give it a rough chop if you like). Serve with a crusty bread or an olive bread to soak up the juices!

Amish Style Potato Salad


If, like me, you are lucky enough to have access to Amish markets, you know the deliciousness that is Amish potato salad! This potato salad is tangy and sweet, although I have cut down on the sugar that goes in most Amish style recipes. If you have rutabaga, use it to lend an additional slight sweetness! If not, add a fourth potato instead and an extra pinch of sugar. Either way, this is a great salad to make ahead of time – if it weren’t for leftovers and foods I pre-make, I would rarely eat lunch, or I would get by on some potato chips from the vending machine. Make this potato salad to serve as a side, take for lunch, or include in a picnic basket. It keeps well for several days and goes well with breads, crackers, and on sandwiches!

Makes 6 – 8 side or lunch servings.


  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped rutabaga
  • 1/4 cup milk (optional)
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (substitute regular paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp powdered mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp deli mustard, I like stone ground mustard
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/4 cup combined fresh parsley and/or dill
  • 1/2 tsp tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 2 – 4 hardboiled eggs (optional)


Wash the potatoes and chop them, or peel them if you don’t like the skins. Cut into a 1/2″ dice. Peel and dice the rutabaga similarly, then add both to a pot and just cover with water. I like to add a 1/4 cup of 2% or whole milk when I boil potatoes, I think it gives them a nice softness, but this is not necessary if you don’t have milk to spare. Bring the pot to a boil and let it simmer while you prepare other ingredients, until rutabaga is just tender. The potatoes may be soft before the rutabaga is, it won’t hurt them to keep boiling. When they are done, strain the mixture and add the root vegetables to a large mixing bowl where you will combine all of the ingredients.

If you’d like to add hardboiled eggs, you can make them now, too. Add the eggs to a pot and cover with cold water, bring to a boil. Then, turn the heat off, cover the pot, and let sit for eight minutes. Remove the eggs and put them in cold water to stop cooking and let them cool off, they are now ready to peel. Once you have peeled the shells off the eggs, roughly chop them and add them to the bowl.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the celery stick, chop the parsley and dill, mince the garlic, and slice the tender white and green parts of the green onions. Combine these in the mixing bowl and add all of the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly, then taste the salad. If you’d like it saltier, add more celery salt in pinch, mix, and taste again. Add a pinch of sugar for more sweetness, a splash of apple cider vinegar for more tang, or tabasco sauce for more of a kick.

Enjoy as a party side dish, picnic salad, or a lunch side throughout the week!

Ricotta Manicotti with White Beans in Marinara Sauce


Last night I was in the mood for some savory Italian flavors, so I broke out the ricotta and the manicotti shells and got to work. This manicotti is not as cheesy as most recipes – I was in the mood for something that was cheesy and good but also made me feel good afterwards! If you like, you can substitute the zucchini for mozzarella cheese and an extra whipped egg to make this manicotti very cheesy, if so, bake for 35 minutes. In any event, this was a delicious mixture of beans, artichokes, tomatoes, garlic, and cheese – plenty tasty for me!

Serves 4 – 5.


  • 1 cup cooked cannelini or white beans or one can of precooked beans
  • 1 tomato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup artichokes, chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, copped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • one package of manicotti shells (12 – 14)
  • 1 1/2 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • salt and black pepper
  • grated Parmesan for serving


If you are using dried beans, cover beans in water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add about 1/2 tsp of salt and boil until soft.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Add onions, celery, zucchini, and garlic to a skillet with about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Saute over medium heat until the vegetables have begun to lose their water and become translucent. Combine the vegetables (trying to omit their liquid) with the ricotta, nutmeg, sage, rosemary, and oregano. Temper in the egg, then taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Precook the manicotti shells in the boiling water until they are al dente, according to package directions. Drain, then fill each shell with the ricotta mixture. This may be easier if you use a wide fitted pastry bag or a large plastic bag (freezer or gallon sized) with the tip of the bag cut off, filling with the cheese and pushing it out into shells. Oil a large baking dish, then layer in the filled shells.

Combine drained beans, parsley, artichokes, and diced tomato. Add a pinch of salt and a few shake of black pepper. Spoon this mixture over the shells. Then top with the marinara sauce, evenly spread.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until you are satisfied with how hot the dish is or how much the egg has set. Top with parmesan cheese and serve!