Vegetarians, vegans and Meatless-Monday adherents don't have to miss out on a Fourth of July burger this year with Alissa Cohen's delicious recipes to choose from. This raw food guru's burgers serve as a healthy vegan alternative and a creative way to entertain backyard guests.
Raw, vegan burgers might sound strange, but there are many advantages to incorporating these alternative recipes every so often. Raw and living foods are alkaline-rich and contain important enzymes; heating food above 112 degrees destroys these enzymes, along with almost all nutrients.
Overcooking food can also be downright dangerous. Consistently cooking food to the point of browning or charring means a diet full of carcinogens. The most harmful overcooked food is charred animal fats — an unfortunate reality for frequent burger grillers.
Eating raw meals a few times a week diversifies one's diet and maximizes nutritional intake. For anyone wishing to turn this healthful habit into creative backyard entertaining, here's my favorite burger recipe from Cohen's new book, Raw Food for Everyone
Serve with a scoop of guacamole and sweet potato chips
2 cups hydrated kelp
8 portobello mushroom caps, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves
1/2 jalapeno chile, diced
1 shallot, diced
1/2 fennel bulb, diced
2 tablespoons hemp oil
1 cup ground sunflower seeds
1 cup hemp seeds
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Put the kelp in the food processor and blend until finely chopped, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the mushrooms, garlic, jalapeño, shallot, fennel and hemp oil and process until well chopped. The mixture should be the consistency of ground meat. Stop and scrape down the machine as necessary.
2. With a spatula, scrape the mushroom mixture into the bowl with the ground kelp. Stir in the sunflower and hemp seeds, as well as salt and pepper, for a burger-like consistency. Divide and shape the mixture into 6 large or 12 small patties.
3. Place the burgers on olive-oil-brushed mesh dehydrator racks and dehydrate for 10 to 12 hours. Bistro burgers should be crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
If you're looking for more creative summer recipes, Cohen's book also has instructions for "Sunny Burgers" and "Star Anise Papaya Steak," as well as some fun cocktails and mocktails for patio parties.
Photo courtesy alissacohen.com