Is it just me, or are more of the men in your life ordering salads?
As far as my feel good food is concerned, my rule of thumb has always been to never tell white bread eaters– i.e. men or children – that what they’re having for dinner is actually healthy. But for the former, I’m beginning to rethink my disclosures.
Ever since my Cosmo article came out last month, I’ve been keeping tabs on what they’re writing about over there (…secretly, at the nail salon). I came across a totally on point article about the new renaissance of man diets and the emergence of my favorite new term: manorexia.
I’ve noticed the shift with my weekly client and her husband, who once upon a time hated vegetables, but now if you tell him something is healthy, goes full throttle inhalation. But I’ve also witnessed this new behavior first hand during my Sunday night dinners.
When I was writing my cookbook 3+ years ago, especially the dating and food section, I thought there was a very specific strategy for cooking your way into a man’s heart (both platonically and in more extreme emotional conditions). My strategy was usually meat and potatoes. Sometimes pasta. Always butter.
But I’ve gotten a little bit lazier and more selfish in my old age, and my own food preferences have also gotten more difficult to satisfy with the above equation. So when I started hosting my Game of Thrones night, I stopped caring about the gender ratio showing up to watch, which, given HBO’s quota for full frontal nudity, was clearly going to skew towards male.
On several occasions, I made a gluten-free pasta dish. Normally, I try not to inflict inferior noodles on others. So I decided not to mention anything. But when everyone saw me eating it as well, they asked. And when my guy friends found out that they were actually eating quinoa pasta, they got even more enthusiastic and went back for seconds.
Eventually, after many a successful night of health food, I decided to go all-in and serve what is decidedly the most dubious substitution of all: the veggie burger.
Given the deliciousness of these hot dogs, I decided to go an Indian route and make a curried lentil-chickpea mixture with a little quinoa thrown in there. On a platter, they looked like a pile of cow pies. If these pictures are any indication, that’s a generous description. But they tasted delicious, especially with a little raita on top.
Everyone at the table happily dug in, and the boys didn’t even want the buns I had bought.
Hope you all had a fabulous 4th! Maybe by next year, we’ll all work up our courage to serve veggie burgers off the grill.
The burger mixture can be made a few days in advance.
- Olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated or julienned
- Sea salt
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- One 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a medium non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over a medium-high flame. Saute the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, curry powder, turmeric, zucchini, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue to saute until the zucchini is soft, another 3 minutes. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a medium food processor, pulse the chickpeas, lentils, Dijon, lime juice, cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until coarsely pureed.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the lentil mixture, quinoa, and zucchini mixture. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary. Form the mixture into heaping 1/2-cup sized patties. Arrange on a plate and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, or overnight.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Cook the veggie burgers, flattening them with the back of your spatula on the first side, for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Remove to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Then serve open-faced or inside burger buns.