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Pineapple Jerk Veggie Burgers + Sassy Sides!


These Pineapple Jerk Veggie Burgers are infused with some amazing sassy sweet, tropical flavors. Lively lemon, perky-sweet pineapple, rich tahini, cozy sweet potatoes, creamy white beans and spicy, alluring Jerk spice - a mix of ginger, garlic, allspice, brown sugar, sweet chili and more.

Side of some quickie Cajun Sweet Potato Fries and a Tropical Cool Cucumber Pineapple Salsa. This was a last minute meal that went terribly right..





Cool Pineapple Salsa..


Baked patties. Can also be sauteed with some Panko coating - (my fave)








Operation: pull dinner together.
I didn't have a plan. That often happens with me. But I was in a "use-what-I-can-find" sort of kitchen mood.

Sometimes scurrying off to Whole Foods and picking up exactly what I need to make a planned out dinner is just way to .. easy. And I like a challenge.

Cut to me, my head deep inside the fridge door. Examining the chilled goods - my empty veggie drawer. I swirl around to the pantry. My arms pushing deep into the cabinets - pulling and pushing spices and unorganized canned goods in and out like a game of Tetris. Searching, reaching, desperately for some culinary inspiration.

side note: (Tetris. the old Nintendo GameBoy-famous game. Yes?)

On my tippy-toes, I peer deeply towards the back of the cabinets. A few cans of beans. Soup. Rice. Pasta. Penzey's Spices of all sorts - tiny cute jars labeled Cajun, Jerk, Arizona, Sunny Paris and Sandwich Sprinkle. Then the last stop on my kitechen-pillaging adventure is .. the dark, humming freezer. A gust of chilled, frosty air whooshes out towards my face. Anything in there? Hello, anyone home?

..Hm. A few milky green brussel sprouts winked back at me through an icy plastic bag. The "desperation" stockpile of frozen veggies rarely gets used around here. I slam the freezer door. Not THAT desperate.

Back to the spices...

Jerk Spice Blend - FYI Penzeys: can be used for veggie burgers too!! :)


The JERK seasoning caught my eye. I raised a brow, gazed off into space and let my mind unfold itself in a recipe vision. Burger buns in the freezer? Check? Fresh lettuce? Check. Onion? Check? Bean, rice, sweet potato? Check. Tahini? Check.

What else? Hm. Ooh! Fresh pineapple too - BONUS! And some Persian cucumbers just begging to be used...

Hm. Hm. Hm.

And the cooking (and eating) adventure begins...





Cooking Method Note: In the past, I usually coat my veggie burgers in Panko bread crumbs and cook them via a light saute on the stove. I love the crispy edges and moistness the patties retain from doing this. HOWEVER, I always seem to get many comments about how to bake the patties. So this time I baked them. You can saute or bake or do a little of both. Either way - yummy. I enjoyed the baked version, but I still prefer the saute + Panko crusted method showcased in my Sweet Potato Burger + Avocado.

Pineapple Jerk Burgers
makes 6 burger patties

14-16oz. can white beans (butter beans or cannellini work well)
3/4 cup brown rice, cooked + lightly salted
2 Tbsp tahini
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp Jerk Spice Mix (Cajun spices would be nice too!)
1 cup sweet potato, diced (about 1 small sweet potato or 1/2 a large potato)
1-2 tsp maple or agave syrup (optional for a sweet kick)
1/4 cup white onion, chopped

(If using saute cooking method - you can roll formed patties in Panko bread crumbs before lightly cooking in safflower oil - about 1-2 tsp.)

other: buns, fresh pineapple rings, condiments of choice, lettuce/tomato/onion ..

Cool Cucumber Pineapple Salsa
1 Tbsp tahini
1 1/2 cups Persian cucumbers, diced (Persian cucumbers are extra crunchy)
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
2 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
dash of salt and pepper (to taste)
optional: 1/2 cup chopped mint, cilantro or parsley

Jerky Sweet Potato Fries
1 medium sweet potato, sliced into skinny fries
1-2 Tbsp safflower oil
Cajun spice mix (or simple salt and pepper + cayenne for heat)

Sauces? If you need a quick, nice, sweet, creamy sauce - try this:
1 Tbsp vegan mayo
1 tsp maple or agave syrup
dash or two of cayenne or chipotle powder
dash of black pepper

Serving Tips: BBQ sauce or sweet or spicy ketchup or spicy mustard are also good condiments. Also - add the pineapple salsa to the burger to moisten things up a bit!

Nutritional Info (just the patties - per patty - 6 per recipe)
Calories: 143kcal, Fat: 3g, Protein: 6g, Carbs: 24g, Fiber: 4g
Vita A: 128%, Vita C: 17%, Iron: 10%

tip! Want to boost the protein a bit more: Switch out the brown for another 3/4 cup of white beans - or try lentils!

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Prep your salsa. This is easy. Chop the pineapple and cucumber - optional greens too. Toss them with the remaining ingredients - well. Place in the fridge to chill.

3. Rice. To cut time in half - I use pre-cooked rice - those frozen bags you can simply pop in the microwave - from Trader Joe's. If you have a handy rice cooker - use that. You want your rice to be on the sticky / wet side - not too dry or nutty. Moist.

4. Sweet potatoes: for better, sweeter flavor, bake the potato. For faster prep - you can dice and boil. If boiling, cook until they are just tender enough to mash with a fork. For the fries, peel the skin off the potato and slice into thin strips. The fry-cut potatoes can be set aside for now.

5. In a large bowl, add the beans, tahini, lemon juice, jerk spice. Mash the beans until a thick hummus-like texture forms. Add in the sweet potato and rice. Mash some more. Fold in the onion and salt and pepper - plus optional maple syrup...



6. Grease a large baking sheet with a nice slick coating of olive oil. Form patties with your hands and place them on the baking sheet.

7. Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes - or until the edges become crusty and browned. The burgers will bind and firm up quite nicely upon cooling a bit. So don't overcook them just to try and dry them out if they look like they are falling apart!

8. While the burgers are cooking you can do the fries. Saute them in the safflower oil and spices for about five minutes until all sides are browned and bubble. Then finish the fries off in the oven by baking them for another ten minutes - or until tender. To crisp up your fries - finish them off in the oven at a high temperature - 400 or so.

9. Cool fries a bit. You can also prep your burger components now - slice the onion, ring the pineapple and wash the lettuce. I toss my pineapple ring in a bit of EVOO + spices and placed in the oven for about ten minutes to "grill" on the rack until tender.

10. Serve! Pile your burgers and toppings. Serve with fries and the cool pineapple salsa. You could even add the salsa right to the burger if you'd like.

Enjoy!!

Those Quickie Fries..




Fluffy lettuce on top..








And that's a wrap!..

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