Chickpea and Walnut Burgers

These burgers take less than 45 minutes to put together and are full of the kind of goodness your body craves after a stressful day. They make the perfect evening meal choice as one of the ingredients is especially fantastic for improving your sleep – that ingredient is walnuts!! Walnuts naturally contain melatonin which helps control your sleep cycle. This means that eating them a few hours before bed can really help you to get to sleep. As we get older our natural melatonin levels will decrease, making it all the more important to get it from dietary sources.

Using chickpeas in these burgers is great for the consistency as well as the overall nutrition of your meal. One cup of chickpeas contains an impressive 15 grams of protein as well as 13 grams of dietary fiber and just 4 grams of fat. Add to that that there is no bad cholesterol in chickpeas but there is a fantastic range of much needed vitamins and minerals.

To make a batch for yourself, get hold of the following ingredients:

½ an onion, diced,
1 cup of walnuts
1 cup of chickpeas
1 cup of whole-wheat flour
1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ a cup of dairy-free milk
A dash of sea salt
1 tbsp of basil
Coconut oil

chickpea_walnut_burgers_the_flexi_foodieTo begin, sauté the onion and mushrooms in a large skillet with a tablespoon of the coconut oil. You can also preheat your oven to 180C at this point. Once the onions and mushrooms begin to brown, add them into your food processor with the walnuts, chickpeas, flour, garlic, milk, salt and basil and blitz. The mixture doesn’t have to be totally smooth. If you find it is too dry then add in milk as necessary or if you find it is too moist then feel free to add in more flour.

Take a handful of the mixture at a time and make into patties before placing onto the baking tray. Place in the oven for 15 minutes before you remove, turn over and put back in for a further 15 minutes. After this time you can remove from the oven and eat however you like!

Kale, Fig and Walnut Risotto

When I’ve had guests over for supper, and I’m making something plant-based, I usually go for the staple risotto – can’t go wrong there!  But I got bored of making the same ol’ mushroom risotto over and over again… and so did my dinner guests!   One time while visiting my in-laws down in Dorset, my father-in-law had this gorgeous fig in front of him that he meticulously sliced open and then slowly bit into it, savouring every juicy bite.  And that’s when it hit me, why can’t I do figs in my risotto?  So I started thinking, I wanted a ‘complete’ meal – the green leafy vegetable for my chlorophyll, the nuts for my protein and the fig for my anti-oxidants.  And bingo, this risotto was born!

kalewalnutandfigrisotto grassrootsandgrains
To make enough of my risotto to serve four people as a main course, you’ll need the following ingredients:

500g of Arborio Rice
1 onion
8 cups water of mixed with bouillon veggie stock (more if you need)
200g of Walnuts
2 large handfuls of kale (a good mix if you can find)
5 delicious figs – quartered
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of coconut oil to gently fry the onion

kalewalnutandfigrisotto grassrootsandgrains7

The first thing you need to do is melt the tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pan and add the chopped onion. Fry the onion for between five and seven minutes, until it becomes translucent. You can then add the rice along with eight cups of vegetable stock. Bring the pan to the boil and then allow to simmer gently, giving it the occasional stir. If necessary then it’s okay to add more of the stock. Do this for about 25 to 30 minutes.

kalewalnutandfigrisotto grassrootsandgrains5

Whilst you’re waiting for those 30 minutes to pass, you must dry roast the walnuts. You can either do this is a pan or in the oven. As soon as the stock has absorbed into the risotto, add the nutritional yeast, kale and walnuts then give it all a good stir. At this stage your risotto should be nice and creamy so it’s time to gently include the figs into your dish and stir slowly. Once all of your figs are in, your meal is ready to be served!

kalewalnutandfigrisotto grassrootsandgrains3

Figs are a fruit and are uniquely nutritious. They have an amazing calcium count and are also a great source of fibre. Studies have suggested that fibre from fruit can lower the chances of a postmenopausal woman developing breast cancer. Additionally, they are a rich source of magnesium, potassium, iron, several B vitamins and vitamin K. If you are eating figs for the nutritional value then it’s best to choose those that are riper as there are more antioxidants present in ripe figs.

kalewalnutandfigrisotto grassrootsandgrains2

Walnuts are a fantastic source of energy and health boosting properties. They are especially good for getting omega-3 into your diet and can help lower your bad cholesterol levels whilst increasing the amount of good cholesterol in your body. Eating walnuts regularly will help to prevent strokes and coronary artery disease!

kalewalnutandfigrisotto grassrootsandgrains4

Kale is without a doubt, one of the healthiest vegetables you can find. Eating just one cup of it will provide you with a decent amount of fibre, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C. Eating kale is amazing for your body and your overall health, making it a much loved and much used ingredient for super food fans!

Click here to find out more about nutrition and remember, if you love this recipe then like my Facebook Page!

Click here to sign up to my newsletter and get my Top Ten Healthy Living and Eating Tips!