- Erinn Simon
My family loves to remind me of how I marched off to college a staunch vegetarian, only to return for the Thanksgiving holiday starving and begging for a cheeseburger.
I struggled with my food identity through my late teens and early twenties. There were so many solid reasons to stay veggie, and so many tasty reasons to go carnivore.
These days my relationship with meat is simple. I like it, and so does my family. We don’t eat it every day, and when we do we try to buy as responsibly as we can. During the summer we get as much of our meat as possible from the farmers market. We particularly love the ground beef from Stony Pond Farm in Fairfield.
At the Burlington Children’s Space I try to keep a 50/50 balance of meat and veggie dishes, but there’s no denying that the kids are always thrilled to see meat on the menu. And just like at my house, burgers are a definite favorite. At school and at home I’m always looking for ways to make old faves healthier, so I did some experimenting with my standard burger. Some onions and garlic, along with a little chopped kale and quinoa really ups the fiber and nutrients and tastes amazing.
Now, I love French fries as well, but I usually opt for roasted or mashed potatoes when I’m cooking. My new favorite burger companion is a delicious roasted potato dish I adapted from the fantastic blog food52. It’s billed as a potato "salad", but that moniker doesn’t do it justice. My kids have been known to groan when I serve roasted potatoes, but we scraped the bottom of the bowl the first time I made these.
Make this combo for dinner, and you’ll never think of burgers and fries the same way again!
Kale Quinoa Burgers
2 lbs ground beef, turkey or chicken
2 cups kale (tough stems removed, leaves chopped finely)
½ of a medium onion, finely chopped
½ cup uncooked (yes, uncooked!) quinoa
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until everything is well incorporated.
Form into 4-inch patties and lay on a shallow baking tray.
Bake for about 20 minutes. Check internal temperature with a meat thermometer (beef should be at least 165 degrees, turkey and chicken at least 160 degrees), and flip over for another 5 minutes or so if necessary.
Serve on whole wheat buns. We like to add greens and slices of cheddar cheese at our house.
Roasted Potato Salad (Adapted from food52)
Serves 6 as a side dish
1.5 pounds small potatoes (white or red)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Quarter the potatoes and add them to a good sized mixing bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Toss to coat the potatoes and spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake the potatoes for about 30 minutes, making sure you turn them over once or twice during roasting — you want them to turn a nice golden brown.
When they’re ready, take them out and let them cool just a bit. The original recipe calls for them to cool completely, but I like it better when they’re still a bit warm.
In another bowl combine the last ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the chopped garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Mix well and pour over the cooled potatoes, tossing gently to make sure they’re all coated.