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Not meat, but beet balls with edible greens

If you're interested in vegan foods, you might try combinations of foods, either cooked or raw that you can make from clean, peeled beets. One recipe for vegans to try is a beet and walnut mixture called Fkhali. It's simply beetroot and walnuts. It's on the "About Food – Beetroot Fkhali with Walnuts" site. Also, you may wish to check out the WebMD article based on a study, about beets and blood pressure, "Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure."

Not meat, but beet balls with edible greens.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

One of the best vegan recipes using beets in different ways is a popular beetroot dish called Fkhali (Georgian: ფხალი), pronounced "Fuh-KHAH-lee." It's a vegan popular dish in Georgia and in some Georgian restaurants around the world. It incorporates edible leaves such as spinach, cabbage, nettles, and ground beets with fresh herbs such as cilantro (coriander) and parsley and is served with a sliced red onion. A similar entree also is eaten in Greece and Tuscany and several other nations. It's basically a vegan entree with green leaves, nettles, cabbage, and lots of shredded beets.

Vegan entree with leaves, nettles, cabbage, and beets

You make this vegan meal with a wide variety of edible vegetable leaves, including spinach, nettles, cabbage and beetroot (beets). It can also be made with other vegetables and nuts. If you check out the recipe with many photos at Bassa's Blog. The recipe on preparing beet balls, making Fkhali with beetroot and walnuts is on the "About Food – Beetroot Fkhali with Walnuts" site.

First you need about 2.20 pounds of beets (beetroot). The recipe says 1 kilo, which is about 2.20 pounds of beets in the American weight of culinary measures. The recipe also calls for 200 grams of walnuts, which translated into American culinary measures is about one cup of walnuts. You don't need exact amounts using the fractions. Just round off the weights. Make enough for each person you're feeding.

You also need one teaspoon of the herb, fenugreek, one teaspoon of dried coriander (cilantro), 1 teaspoon of coarse red pepper, 6 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of blue fenugreek, 1 teaspoon of dried coriander (cilantro), 1 teaspoon of coarse red pepper, 6 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 3 cloves of garlic, 10 grams of fresh coriander and 10 grams of fresh parsley, and salt (amount dependent upon personal preference). Ten grams of parsley is about 0.4 of an ounce.

About a half ounce of parsley will do fine as will a half ounce of fresh coriander, which also is cilantro. For more information about blue fenugreek, see the site, "Spice Pages: Blue Fenugreek." Or see, "Blue Fenugreek Products." For more information about fenugreek see, "Fenugreek: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings - WebMD."

Instructions for making beet balls, oblongs, or veggie burgers

First you boil the beets/beetroots. Then you crush the walnuts and garlic together. Put them in your mixing bowl along with the spices. If you're not salt-sensitive, add salt, if desired. After the beets are boiled until tender, peel the skin and chop the beets into small pieces. Then you grind the beets in a meat grinder or the type of food processor or blender that grinds cooked beats into what looks something like chopped meat.

Then you chop the parsley into very fine pieces along with the cilantro (coriander). Add the ground beetroot to the nuts and spice mixture. Add 6 tablespoons of your white wine vinegar and mix. Then shape the mixture into beet balls. You don't have to do any more cooking with the beets. Serve chilled and garnish with raw onion, such as chopped red onions. The famous food of Georgia is called beet fkhali with walnuts. For more information, check out: Fkhali With Beetroot Leaves and Nuts. (Also you may wish to check out the Georgian Recipes site.

Red kidney bean entree

For the red kidney bean entree, go to the website for the bean dish, lobio, which means beans. You can see a step-by-step process of how to prepare this bean dish and other foods such as the ground beets and green leafy vegetables entree called fkhali. The site has lots of how-to photo demonstrations of these recipes and other recipes for Georgian ethnic foods that incorporate lots of vegetables. It's also eaten in some Greek homes, with a side dish of stuffed grape leaves. Or you can stuff collards instead of grape leaves. A mixture of grains and vegetables or legumes can suffice for the stuffed green leaves. If you don't eat tree nuts such as walnuts, you can leave it out of the recipe or substitute seeds instead of nuts, but the traditional recipe uses walnuts.

A number of our family's distant ancestors came from Greece, Tuscany, and also from the Caucasus Mountains such as Georgia. So research showed a lot of Georgian cooking is vegan and sometimes raw vegan, such as the use of beets. In this recipe, the beets are cooked until tender, but all the other vegetables and herbs are raw such as the parsley, cilantro, and onions and the herbs are fresh from the garden.

Make your own vegan beet burgers at home

Here's how to make either totally vegan or ovo-lacto vegetarian beet burgers out of beets and black-eyed peas. Instead of black-eyed peas, you can use green peas or any other type of peas or legumes if cooked and mashed and then added to the beets.

A little olive oil added will help form the crust on the beet burger when you slow cook the beet burger in a skillet. To see a demonstration of this method, on how to make beet burgers, check out the YouTube video, "Didi Emmons, beet burger."

For vegans, you add cooked or soaked, soft millet to the ground beets instead of egg to hold the mixture together. A little wheat germ or other germ, if you like, also can be added as an optional ingredient. The green beet tops are cleaned and chopped up with the beet mixture, and walnut pieces are added, (optional) if desired.

Starbucks acquired Evolution Fresh in 2011 to expand its business beyond coffee shops and in some stores now sells beet juice. About beet juice: In the photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images, at the left corner, an employee pours beet juice from a juice tap during the grand opening of Evolution Fresh, juice store, March 19, 2012 in Bellevue, Washington. In addition to the menu, the juice wall displays animation depending on the juice being poured.

How to prepare beet burgers

If you want raw foods, just peel and dehydrate the ground beets mixed with any herbs, fillers, and spices you add. The best way to make beet burgers is to follow one of the recipes online or watch the video on making beet burgers. View the demonstration video, 23024 Didi Emmons Beet Burger Vegetarian. Also see, Vegetarian Beet Burger Recipe.

Everything's going to be mashed and formed into a patty. If you want to see photos or check out an original recipe, see the site, "Vegetarian Beet Burger Recipe: A Fit Sugar Reader Recipe: Vegetarian Beet Burgers." Also see the video, Cooking Demonstration - Pearl Farmers Market. Chef demonstrates how to prepare a beet burger.

Did anyone ever ask you whether you can turn beets into burgers? The original recipe at one of the beet burger websites uses smoked salt, Chipotle sauce, mustard, and Bragg's Liquid Aminos. All these recipes contain salt

There's an inviting recipe online showing how to make beet burgers. Or you can use a variation of that online recipe. For example, you can use an egg to hold the ground or chopped beets together or substitute for the egg for vegans and use one tablespoon of flax seed meal instead of the egg to hold the burger together. And for the salt-sensitive person with high blood pressure trying to eat more vegetables for their potassium content and the natural salt already in the bread buns and in the black-eyed peas and beets, this variation on the recipe leaves out the salty ingredients.

Also the original recipe calls for dairy (butter). But in your own version of a beet burger recipe, instead of butter, you can use extra virgin olive oil or any other oil such as coconut oil, macademia nut oil or walnut if if you're interested in leaving out the long-chain fatty acids. For example, a teaspoon of melted coconut oil with medium chain fatty acids could be used, or grape seed oil, rice bran oil, or walnut oil.

Shoppers interested in varying their burgers and patties are turning to beet burgers as a substitute for meat burgers

You can call them patties, but beet and black-eyed pea burgers are becoming more popular than the commercial, frozen veggie burgers you find in most supermarkets and food stores that are made of soy protein, are high in salt, and may also contain spinach, egg, or rice. Some veggie burgers you'll find in the frozen food coolers of food markets, and some health food stores, usually in the coolers at the natural food aisles. But some brands may contain yeast extract and hydrolized protein powder.

Check out this YouTube video on how to make a beet burger. Also view the Didi Emmons beetburger recipe and cooking demonstration on uTube. Instead of buying frozen veggie burgers, you and your children can make beet burgers or beet balls from scratch using fresh, organic foods not frozen.

Why buy commercial veggie burgers that are frozen all the time if you can make veggie burgers at home such as beet burgers without adding hydrolized vegetable protein or various forms of yeast to extend the taste, fill the burger, or preserve color and shelf life? And what if you want a veggie burger without soy or protein fillers and without salty condiments or yeast added?

A few years ago, supermarkets recalled certain foods containing some types of commercial hydrolized protein. See, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) recall leaves food consumers. Also see, How Natural Are So-Called Natural Corn Chips Veggie Burgers? Choose the ingredients you enjoy according to what you need for your health requirements.

Here's how to make beet burgers. The recipe becomes vegan if you leave out the dairy product (butter) in the original recipe and use the oil of your choice or other liquid instead of oil

Also, instead of using one can of drained black-eyed peas with all the salt content of the can, since some canned vegetables contain more than 500 mg of salt and others less, how about just boiling your own black-eyed peas without adding salt, if you're trying to lower your salt intake? Also some brands add calcium chloride to maintain color. Some people have a significant rise in blood pressure from eating foods with added calcium chloride.

Here are some alternative ingredients for those who don't want to add salty condiments, dairy, or even eggs. For example 1/4 cup of ground flax seed takes the place of one egg, for vegans who don't want animal products in their beet burgers.

See the site, The Cooking Inn: Egg Substitutes. The quarter cup of flax seed (ground meal) holds the patty or batter together when baking instead of using one egg.


1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion (finely diced)
2 cloves of garlic (grated or finely diced)
2 roasted beets (peeled and finely diced)
1 cup of cooked and mashed black-eyed peas
1/4 cup of ground flax seed for vegans or 1 egg for those who are not vegans. The ground flax seed (flax-seed meal) substitutes for egg. The ratio is 1/4 cup of ground flax seed equals one egg in its ability to hold things together in baking.
1/4 cup garbanzo bean/chickpea flour
2 tablespoons of chipotle BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon of no-salt added sauerkraut
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of dried basil
dash of black pepper, dash of turmeric, dash of curry powder, optional 1/4 teaspoon thyme, optional 1/4 teaspoon oregano or 1/4 teaspoon of tarragon


Sauté the onion in olive oil or any other oil you choose until the onion is translucent and add the garlic. Sauté for a minute or two more and then add the diced beets and cooked, mashed black-eyed peas.

Cook until the peas are soft and the beets are heated. Add in the, apple cider vinegar, spices, and season to taste. Cool the mixture a bit and add the ground flax seed meal if vegan or the egg if not vegan and garbanzo bean/chickpea flour. Ground legume flour also can be used, such as lentil flour. Or sweet potato flour can be used instead of garbanzo bean/chick pea flour. Finally, puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor.

Form the mixture into patties. Then bake your burgers instead of frying them to keep the grease at bay. Bake the patties at 350-degrees for about 25 minutes. The burgers/patties also can be shaped and stored in the refrigerator for a day, if necessary.

Another variation is to partially bake the burgers as the original recipe states, but then you'd have to refrigerate them and heat them up again on a grill. But why use a grill to char food which is defeating the purpose of eating food not charred at high heat where it could form AGEs. See, Health Correlator: High-heat cooking will AGE you, if you eat food and WHFoods: High-Temperature Cooking & The World's Healthiest Foods.

Exposure of food to high heat may be convenient and quick, but high heat causes end products (AGEs) to form in various foods that cause more tissue damage and inflammation than foods cooked at low heat or are dehydrated or fermented

So the healthiest move to make would be to just bake the patties/burgers until they hold together and have the chewy feeling of other types of veggie burgers as far as consistency. Your stomach really doesn't crave charcoal or or smoky flavor, even if your nose is drawn to that scent. Most commercial veggie burgers are made from soy protein and vegetables.

What you get out of making your own vegan or vegetarian patties or burgers at home is that you don't have to add hydrolyzed vegetable protein to your burger to get the ingredients to hold together in a patty shape.

You can just let the patty chill in the refrigerator a few hours and bake them. Then put them on a bun, a whole-grain corn tortilla, or serve on a bed of leafy vegetables.

A few years ago, many commercial foods were recalled due to problems with hydrolyzed vegetable protein. See the article, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein Recall | Child Nutrition.

What's really in "natural flavorings" you see on hundreds of food labels in the supermarket?

According to the USDA site on "Food Safety: Natural Flavorings on Meat and Poultry Labels, "The USDA site answers the question: "What substances or ingredients can be listed as "natural flavor," "flavor," or "flavorings" rather than by a specific common or usual name?"

USDA notes that, "Spices (e.g., black pepper, basil, and ginger), spice extracts, essential oils, oleoresins, onion powder, garlic powder, celery powder, onion juice, and garlic juice are all ingredients that may be declared on labeling as 'natural flavor,' 'flavor,' or 'flavoring.' Spices, oleoresins, essential oils, and spice extracts are listed in the Food and Drug Administration regulations."

For further information on cooking with beets, check out the beet burger recipe sites, The Beet Burger | Macheesmo, Beet Burgers, Roasted Beet-Tofu Burgers | recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen, Cook's Hideout: Beet Burger, Beet Burgers blog Beet Burgers and The SOS Kitchen Challenge! | Diet, Dessert and Dogs, Vegetarian Beet Burger Recipe, and Beet Burger.

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