Spinach Artichoke Veggie Burgers


I don’t know why Spinach Artichoke Dip is so awesome, but it is. Spinach, cheese, and artichokes are all tasty components, but nothing blow-your-mind amazing. For some reason though, when you bring all that together and morph it into a hot and creamy dip, you get what can only be described as addictive molten bliss, and it fits on a chip nonetheless.

Because Spinart Dip is such a fantastic, crowd-pleasing favorite, I also love to enjoy it in other non-dip forms like Spinach Artichoke Nachos, Spinach Artichoke Mac & Cheese, or even Spinach Artichoke Pizza. The problem with all of that stuff is that none of it has a significant amount of nutrients. Can’t I have the goodness of Spinart Dip and get something healthy out of it besides a few strands of spinach?

Alas, we can have it all, so save your regret-filled songs, Adele. With my Spinach-Artichoke Veggie Burgers, we get every delectable bit of Spinart Dip in the form of a hearty, nutrient-rich veggie burger. That’s a double-win, like when you get an extra bag of chips for free from the vending machine.

Each burger is loaded with three kinds of cheese, fresh spinach, tangy artichoke hearts, brown rice, chickpeas, and a little bit of heat, evoking all the flavors of a good Spinart Dip while filling you up and giving you the nutrients you need. These babies are hearty, flavorful, and gobble-‘em-right-up good. You’ll inhale every last crumb, but you won’t have to feel as guilty as you would downing a whole bowl of dip.

Embrace the burger, my friends.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. For extra heat, switch out the Monterey jack with pepper jack cheese.
  2. Fresh spinach saves you time, and it tastes better. You don’t have to thaw it or squeeze it dry.
  3. You don’t really need a bun for these burgers; they’re that good.
  4. You can substitute the Egg Beaters with 2 whole eggs.
  5. The burgers will be a bit more “wet” than a meat burger; that’s normal.DSC_0316

Spinach-Artichoke Veggie Burgers

By The Smart Cookie Cook


  • 2 16-oz. can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained & rinsed
  • 3 generous cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups cooked & drained brown rice
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup grated Monterey jack cheese
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Egg Beaters
  • 2 ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Ro-tel, for garnish, drained


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray liberally with nonstick spray.
  2. Place the chickpeas and artichoke hearts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until it starts to break down into small chunks. Add the spinach and continue to pulse a few times more so it’s smoother but still a bit chunky.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together the chickpea mixture with all the remaining ingredients until well-combined, making sure to break up all the flour. If you like, you may reserve some cheese to top the burgers with later.
  4. Form burger mixture into big, thick patties (about 1 cup’s worth). Pack it together tight and place on baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until brown. Top with extra cheese and Rotel if you like.


Hearty Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

My Hearty Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers were born on a whim. One night, I was dying to cook something, but I didn’t know what. I scanned the contents of the fridge and peered into the pantry, but no little light bulb illuminated above my head. I knew I wanted something at least remotely good for me. And despite my burning desire to hop in the car and high-tail it to a fast food joint for some grease-filled joy, I restrained. I kept praying there would be something in my kitchen worth making.

All of a sudden, I remembered the Cheddar Quinoa Veggie Burgers I made a few weeks back. I was almost tempted to make those again, but then I realized something: I eat multiple veggie burgers a week, and I absolutely love them, so why haven’t I tried to craft my own original recipe yet?

Once that seed was planted in my head, there was no uprooting it . I rifled through the pantry, pulling together ingredients as if in some sort of trance, like the food spirits had taken over my body, and I was selecting ingredients according to their orders. In only a few minutes, I whipped the burgers together and popped them into the oven to get good and golden brown. Could a burger that pieced together so perfectly and effortlessly also turn out delicious?

Why yes, yes it could.Out of the myriad of frozen veggie burgers I’ve had, the handful I’ve eaten at restaurants, and the few recipes I’ve attempted, these Hearty Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers are, hands-down, the best veggie burgers I’ve tried yet. Don’t be fooled by the whole “veggie” thing; these are some meaty son-of-a-guns. I guarantee that just one of these hearty, flavorful burgers will fill you up with all its gut-busting goodness.

The key to the meatiness of these delectable devils is protein-packed black beans and chickpeas, hearty sweet potato, and filling brown rice. In combination, this tasty trio creates a burger that is not only substantial, but downright delectable. And don’t worry about missing out on protein; we’ve got beans, egg, brown rice, and cheese to take care of that.

Of course we need some dynamic flavor to dress up all the tasty components of these burgers, so I employed flavorful herbs like savory cumin, kickin’ cayenne, and fresh parsley. The finishing touch, which is optional but always recommended, is a blanket of gooey cheddar cheese.

I don’t even need a bun. Just give me the burger, and no one gets hurt.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Of course you can fry these, but you save fat and calories by baking them, and I don’t believe they’re any worse for the wear. I baked mine, and they were just fantastic.
  2. These would also be wonderful topped with pepper jack cheese.
  3. Avocado = a delicious topping.
  4. Make these in the morning and refrigerate until the evening when you’re ready to eat.

Hearty Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 2 cups cooked & drained brown rice
  • 1 16-oz. can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 a 15-oz. can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 2 big sweet potatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup all-pupose flour
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Line a microwave-safe plate with paper towels. Place the potatoes on the paper towels and use a fork to poke holes in the top of each potato. Cook in the microwave on high for 13-14 minutes, or until fork-tender. Let the potatoes cool for a second then make a slit in the skins and squeeze the potatoes out of the skins. Discard skins. Roughly chop the potatoes.
  3. In a food processor, puree the beans, chickpeas, and onion until smooth but slightly chunky.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the rice, beans, chickpeas, onion, garlic, salt, cumin, cayenne, paprika, egg, flour, parsley, and potatoes. Mix well with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Use your hands to separate the mixture into 4 or 6 portions, depending on how big you want your burgers (I like big burgers, so I make four). Roll each portion into a ball then flatten out to a 3/4-inch thickness. Place burgers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are beginning to brown and warm in the center (they should be just about done). Sprinkle each burger with cheese and return to oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and burgers are hot in the center. Serve plain or on a bun with your favorite toppings.

Cheddar Quinoa Veggie Burgers

The key to a good veggie burger is recognizing that is not now, nor will it ever be, meat. If you’re expecting a veggie burger to taste like its cow-filled cousin, then you’re going to be disappointed. It’s not meat, so why should it taste like it? However, even though veggie burgers don’t taste like meat, they can still be meaty. And by that I mean they can be just as protein-packed, filling, and hearty as a hamburger.

You see, the goal of veggie burger-making should be to make it delicious and hearty. It is not meant to be a meat-imposter; It’s a veggie-packed replacement, and veggie burgers are just as awesome in they’re own way. Embrace this twist on the beef between buns that you already love, and you can find happiness in a veggie burger.

What I have for you today is a great choice for ditching your veggie burger virginity: Cheddar Quinoa Veggie Burgers. They’re easy to make, nutritious, and so very good. The components consist of quinoa, brown rice, sharp cheddar cheese, eggs, and more. The substantial level of heartiness combined with the generous dose of cheese makes these veggie burgers indulgent like the best of hamburgers. However, the quinoa, eggs, brown rice, and carrots give these guys something that meat-based burgers don’t have: gobs of nutritious benefits.

You’ve got to think beyond the beef when searching to satisfy your burger dreams. These Cheddar Quinoa Burgers are tender, filling, and flavorful. I absolutely loved them. Regular hamburgers are pretty one-note, but these guys have multiple dimensions of flavor and texture. In fact, mine was so good I didn’t even use a bun. I just ate it with a fork, topped with fresh and creamy avocado. Pure veggie patty perfection.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You can use zucchini in place of the carrot.
  2. I had roasted butternut squash on the side with these burgers. So delicious!
  3. Just because I didn’t use a bun doesn’t mean you can’t. Go whole-wheat for extra health benefits.
  4. Toppings are endless: caramelized onions, tomatoes, lettuce, condiments, or avocado like I used.
  5. I used a brown rice-quinoa blend because I couldn’t find plain quinoa. You can go straight quinoa if you like.

Cheddar Quinoa Veggie Burgers
Adapted from Eating Well, Living Thin

Yield: 4 burgers


  • 2 generous cups quinoa or quinoa-rice blend, cooked according to boxed directions
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 green onions chopped, including white parts
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Toppings of choice: onions, lettuce, mashed avocado, more cheese, condiments, etc.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, parmesan, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.
  3. Separate mixture into 4 equal balls. Place each fourth on the baking sheet and flatten out to 1/2-inch thick. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve on buns or eat as is. Top with whatever you like!

Healthy Cookie: Loaded Taco Bowl

This is a vegetarian taco bowl. Why did I not mention that in the title? Because I know half of you will run away in fear at the mention of anything vegetarian. But I need you to trust me. I’ve never led you astray before. I give you my word that you will never be able to tell these bowls are vegetarian. And why is that? Because they’re packed with not one, but two kinds of protein!

First, we’ve got  hearty, tender beans, an obvious component when we’re talking mexican food. Then, we amp up the protein with a chopped-up black bean veggie burger. These burgers are made by Morningstar Farms, and I adore them. They’re so delicious, you’d never know they came out of the freezer. And when the zesty black bean burger comes together with the beans, you get one hearty and filling bowl that could trick even the biggest carnivore into thinking there’s meat in it.

Now, we’ve still got to bring more to this fiesta; it is a loaded taco bowl after all. So, I added kickin’ taco seasoning and some melty cheddar cheese. Then, I bring in my secret weapon: salsa. This really kicks it up a notch. Plus, when combined with the cheddar cheese, it’s almost like queso. Finish this big bowl of taco goodness off with fresh, crisp lettuce and tasty little black olives. The whole heaping bowl is less than 300 calories, but you’d never know it. It’s just too filling and too delicious!

This is lick-the-bowl good. Don’t try to fight it; just let the flavor fiesta happen.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Use whatever kind of beans you prefer.
  2. Don’t like salsa? Use fresh chunks of tomato instead.
  3. Don’t let the single-serving recipe stop you from making this meal for your family. Just double, triple, etc. according to how many mouths you’re feeling. It’s a great weeknight family meal because it’s quick, delicious, and nutritious!

Loaded Vegetarian Taco Bowl
By The Smart Cookie Cook


  • 1 Morningstar Farms Black Bean Veggie Burger
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp. taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. salsa
  • 2 tbsp. fat-free cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup chopped lettuce (iceberg or romaine)
  • 2 tbsp. sliced black olives, drained


  1. Place the veggie burger on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 30 seconds then flip and cook for another 30 seconds.
  2. Spray a small pan with nonstick spray and bring to medium heat. Cook the veggie burger until golden brown then flip and cook the other side until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and cut into chunks.
  3. Meanwhile, pour the beans into another small pan over medium heat .Add the taco seasoning and the water. Stir to combine. Cook until hot and sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. If sauce gets too thick, add more water. Once beans are hot, turn off the heat. Add the salsa and cheese and stir until cheese is melted.
  4. Pour the beans into a bowl. Add the burger chunks and stir. Top with lettuce and olives. Enjoy!

Pizza Burger Pita

Pizza is my lifeline.

I need it; I crave it. I inhale that sliced stuff at least once a week. I don’t know what is about pizza, but it calls to me. Pizza, I love you.

…Except for when pizza “calls to me” on days when I’m eating healthy. Then we’re not friends, Pizza. You see, Friday nights are typically reserved for pizza in the Smart Cookie household. So when it’s only Tuesday, and the thought of pizza starts wafting through my impressionable brain, I lose my cookies.

One of my favorite ways to show those cravings who’s boss is with my Light English Muffin Pizzas for under 200 calories. SO GOOD. However, I often forget to buy English muffins at the grocery store, and then I’m up the creek without a paddle.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a new, possibly even more delicious way to satisfy those nasty pre-pizza night cravings: The Pizza Burger Pita. I must credit this brilliant meal to my mother, who dreamed it up. I guess I should pass a little credit to my sister as well, since it was seeing her actually make my mother’s creation that prompted me to try one as well. Thank who you want to thank for this Pizza Burger Pita. All I know is, it’s delicious.

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