A Recipe Makeover

This week’s assignment for my Cooking Lab, ‘Cooking with Whole Foods’ was to makeover a recipe of my choice and turn it into a healthier version, explaining my rationale. We are not allowed to use an actual recipe for our makeover dish, so you have to do your best to come up with a recipe of your own. I chose to makeover the ‘nom nom burger’.

Original Dish

Nom, Nom Burger from Holstien’s

Nom Nom Burger w Descr.

INGREDIENTS and COOKING METHOD (Taken from their menu or estimated)

  • Kobe Beef (Broiled)
  • Cheddar Cheese (Melted)
  • Thousand Island Dressing (Mayonnaise, Egg, Cream, Ketchup, Mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, Lemon Juice, Paprika, Vinegar)
  • Potato Chips (Deep Fried and served inside the bun)
  • Bun


  • French Fries (White Potatoes Deep Fried)
  • Onion Rings (Deep Fried)
Here is my Recipe makeover. I tested it out and it turned out pretty darned well and made for a tasty meal! One of the things that the instructor emphasized in class, is that all recipes are really just a template. You can substitute ingredients based on what you have available in the pantry or refrigerator, to work around food allergies or intolerances, or simply because you like another ingredient better. A recipe is just a guide, so if you fancy giving these a try, feel free to switch out any of the ingredients you like. You could use a different bean or use a variety of beans. You could try some different veggies or put a different twist on the flavor with your favorite spices. Have fun and be creative!

Chickpea & Veggie Burger

Version 2


CHICKPEA BURGER (Replaces Kobe Beef Burger) Makes 6 -8 Burgers)

  • 1 cup dried Chickpeas (Washed and Sorted, Soaked Overnight and Cooked with Kombu (to improve digestibility)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, medium dice (sautéed in olive oil)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • Salt, two pinches
  • 1 tsp Cumin, 1 tsp Cardamom and ½ tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper, fine dice (roasted in oven, skin removed)
  • 10 Sundried Tomatoes, diced (rehydrated)
  • 4 Carrots, grated
  • 3 tablespoons of flaxseed to ½ cup of water OR 1 egg
  • Parsley, minced ¼ cup
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
Version 2 Version 2 Add chickpeas to food processor and pulse, retaining some texture. In a large bowl mix the chickpeas, carrots, roasted red pepper, sundried tomatoes, parsley, flaxseed mix (or egg). Heat the oil in a sauté pan, add the onion and a pinch of salt, stir well. Sweat the onions, add the garlic, cumin, cardamom and chili powder to release flavor. Add to bowl with rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Form patties by hand. Heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan and add the burger patties. Cook for approx. 3 minutes each side.

SWEET POTATO FRIES - BAKED (Replaces French Fries)

  • 1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes, ¼ inch baton shape
  • Salt, pinch
  • Paprika, ½ teaspoon
  • Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, add olive oil. Add sweet potatoes and coat with oil. Sprinkle with salt and paprika. Bake in the oven (400 degrees for approx. 20 minutes).

SWISS CHARD (Replaces Onion Rings)

  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, chiffonade
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • Salt, pinch
Heat the oil in a sauté pan, add the onion and a pinch of salt, stir well. Sweat the onion until translucent. Add the Swiss chard and a small amount of water, simmer with the lid on until Swiss chard is tender. Season with lemon juice and add more salt if needed.

AVOCADO DRESSING (Replaces Thousand Island Dressing)

  • 1 Avocado
  • Garlic Powder, ¼ tsp
  • Lemon Juice
  • Add the avocado, garlic powder and lemon juice to a food processor. Process till smooth and creamy.
Version 2 I chose to makeover the burger with chickpeas because according to Jukanti, Gaur, Gowda and Chibbar (2012) they are an excellent source of carbohydrates, protein and fiber and their protein quality is deemed superior than that of other pulses. In addition, they state that chickpeas are a great source of unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic and oleic acids, giving them a variety of potential health benefits, including potentially positive effects on diseases like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. This high fiber heart-healthy food is an excellent substitute for the high calorie, high saturated fat content of the Kobe beef. In addition, the burger has the added benefit of three vegetables high in carotenoid antioxidants (the carrots, red pepper and tomatoes). Johnson (2002) explains the many health benefits offered by dietary carotenoids, including decreased risk of various diseases including cancer and eye disease. Wittenberg (2013) talks about the importance of having the right type of fat in your diet for ideal health, like the healthy mono-unsaturated fat found in avocado, in addition to reducing your intake of saturated fats like those found in thousand island dressing, making this a healthy switch. The baked sweet potato fries are a healthier alternative to the deep fried restaurant version. I chose to replace the deep fried onion rings with the beautiful and nutritious Swiss chard. Wittenberg (2013) explains that chard is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family known for it’s immune boosting, disease-fighting abilities. Swiss chard’s rich colors are packed with health promoting phytonutrients, Wittenberg (2008). Including vegetables in the burger and as a topping also helps a person easily increase the amount of servings per day they are consuming. This recipe utilizes a variety of real, whole foods, herbs and spices using healthy methods of preparation. It is a more nutritious, health supporting, balanced meal and yet still satisfies a person’s craving for a burger, fries and a creamy topping. Please let me know if you try out this recipe and what substitutions or changes you make. Maybe you already have a recipe you’ve made over in some way that you’d like to share. We’d love to hear! email_signoff1
Please let me know if you try out this recipe and what substitutions or changes you make. Maybe you already have a recipe you’ve made over in some way that you’d like to share. We’d love to hear!
Johnson, E. J. (2002), The Role of Carotenoids in Human Health. Nutrition in Clinical Care, 5: 56–65. http://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-5408.2002.00004.x
Jukanti, K., Gaur, P.M., Gowda, C.L.L. and Chibbar, R.N. (2012). Nutritional quality and health benefits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): a review. British Journal of Nutrition, 108, pp S11-S26. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114512000797
Wittenberg, M. (2008). New Good Food: Shopper’s Pocket Guide to Organic, Sustainable, and Seasonal Whole Foods, pp 11. New York: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-1580088930
Wittenberg, M.M. (2013). The Essential Good Food Guide: The Complete Resource for Buying and Using Whole Grains and Specialty Flours, Heirloom Fruits and Vegetables, Meat and Poultry, Seafood and More, pp 24-25, pp 217-219. New York: Ten Speed Press.
ISBN 978-1607744344

Go with the flow! The Benefits of Eating What’s In Season

I think we would all agree that’s its easier to be in the natural flow of things than trying to fight against it. This is just as true when it comes to eating. Sometimes we have to be reminded to change our diet with the season. So many of us eat the exact same thing for breakfast everyday, don’t vary our lunches very often and have a few go-to dinner recipes. This does make our busy lives just a little easier. However, let’s keep the seasons in mind and try to follow the natural order of things. Our ancestors would eat with the season, not because they were trying to be fashionable but because they simply didn’t have a choice. They didn’t expect to be eating peaches in the winter and Brussels sprouts in the summer. Technology and our modern food system allow us access to most foods all year round and grocery store shelves don’t vary that much from season to season anymore.
Eating seasonally is simply trying to include foods in your diet that are grown at the same time of the year that you actually eat them.
Eating seasonally is good for your health, the planet and can save you money! IMG_1092

Higher Nutritional Content

Produce harvested and eaten at its peak generally has more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than produce harvested before it’s really ready and then shipped long distances. You know what a big fan I am of those free-radical fighting antioxidants helping to keep our bodies free from disease! Foods that are grown out of season are often sprayed with all sorts of chemicals to help them survive in a growing season that’s not natural for them. Therefore, these foods are often full of pesticides, waxes, preservatives and other chemicals that are used in order to make them look fresher than they are. YUK! More preservatives = Less nutritional value


Fruits and vegetables just taste better when they’re eaten in season. A great example is the perfect, juicy tomato ripened by the summer sun versus the bland, not so juicy green house grown winter version

Variety is the spice of life

When we eat for the seasons we naturally get a broader variety of foods in our diet. This can encourage us to try new things and consequently, expand our palate. This can also help create a more well-rounded and better balanced diet. Nature knows best and seasonal foods often harmonize with our nutritional needs. In winter we are provided with foods that help keep us warm and in summer with foods to cool our body down and keep us hydrated. So as winter approaches, think about replacing that lunch salad with a bowl of hearty soup. Eating seasonally also allows us to rotate the foods we eat which may help prevent us from developing food intolerances to certain foods and reap the health benefits of a diverse diet that is naturally detoxifying. IMG_1020

Value for money

When a food is in season, and plentiful its also usually less expensive. When it’s out of season it can cost a small fortune. Think about the teeny wee tub of blueberries that costs double what it did a couple of month ago. Ouch! When you buy what’s in season, you’re buying that food at the peak of its supply and it costs less for farmers and distribution companies to harvest and deliver to your grocery store or local farmers market. Out of season food either grown in an unnatural environment or shipped half way around the world is not only not as good for your health but can break the bank.

Save the planet

By eating seasonally this often in turn means you’re eating more locally grown produce. This not only helps support local farmers and your community, it also cuts down on fuel costs and pollution. IMG_0880


Eating with the season connects us to the calendar, the earth and each other. We can recall or look forward to the activities associated with certain foods such as blueberry picking with a friend or a special seasonal family dinner.


As with everything, we shouldn’t get too hung up on trying to eat “perfectly” with every season.   Yes, there are health benefits to this food movement, but stressing out over it will reduce those benefits enormously. Just keep the seasons in mind and try to work with them and not against them. If you love a certain fruit or vegetable that’s out of season, it’s not a crime to eat it, but keep in mind that there might be a seasonal or local alternative that’s just as delicious and good for you!

Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup

Talking of expanding our vegetable horizons, Tania from The Cook's Pyjamas www.thecookspyjamas.com created this recipe to do just that – try new winter veggies! http://thecookspyjamas.com/hearty-winter-vegetable-soup/ Hearty-Winter-Vegetable-Soup-3

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Jamielyn from I Heart Naptime www.iheartnaptime.net takes you step-by-step through how to roast the perfect veggies! http://www.iheartnaptime.net/roasted-winter-vegetables/ roasted-winter-vegetables-7-e1358487693365 Do you feel like you already eat with the seasons? Or want to give it a try? Share below any tips of favorite foods you enjoy at this time of year. email_signoff1