This week’s blog post focuses on ingredient substitution. You do not have to give up a healthy lifestyle to enjoy your favorite delicious foods! By substituting certain foods where possible, you can better incorporate more nutrients in your diet, reduce calories, reduce “bad” fats and excess sodium, and leave a little less guilt for indulging on occasion.
We are big fans of black bean burgers, which surprisingly became a preference over regular beef burgers after playing around with substitutions. There are a few store-bought brands available that are easy to keep in the freezer, but the taste doesn’t compare to homemade.
Additionally, while I have no personal need to avoid gluten, I like to play around with substitutes that might offer similar benefits. Almond flour contains vitamin E, monounsaturated fats that can help lower bad cholesterol, and both fewer calories and more soluble fiber than traditional wheat flour ounce for ounce.
Having worked in the past in various roles as an advocate for independent seniors and those living with disabilities, I began playing around with healthy cooking ideas that worked for people living alone, or with a limited kitchen, which led me to mug meals. This was the foundation for “mug bread” experiments. There are a lot of benefits to mug meals in general, which is for another post, but regarding a healthy bread substitute, the most obvious benefit is the cost; gluten free breads tend to be expensive and unless you’re a regular GF bread or bread alternative consumer, you could end up with food waste, which means wasted money. And you never go wrong controlling the quality of your own ingredients!
Almond flour mug bread
1/4 almond flour
1 Tbsp oil or butter (I used avocado oil in my dairy free version, but grass-fed butter in the picture)
1/2 tsp baking powder
Dash or two of salt
Microwave in Pyrex bowl or mug for 90 seconds. Toast after cooking if you like a little crunch.
I've subbed regular flour and it also worked well. I have not tried any vegan egg replacers yet though, so if anyone tries it, keep me posted.
Black Bean Burgers
1 can low sodium black beans, mashed well
¼ cup minced onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 egg (or 1/4 cup veganaise if you want a vegan)
1/2 cup bread crumbs or ground oats (for gluten free)
Season with whatever you like, I like cumin, chili powder, salt, and Penzy's 'Arizona dreaming' blend.
Mix well and form into patties. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set. Pan fry, grill, or broil.
Serve with your favorite toppings.