Test Kitchen: Plant-based Bacon!

If you’re like me, you grew up eating bacon. My parents would cook it for breakfast on weekends. In high school, I would eat bacon egg and cheese muffins from unnamed fast food restaurants. In college, I enjoyed BLT sandwiches after workouts or soccer games.

Luckily, bacon really isn’t one of those things that I miss, but I am aware that it has become a classic burger topping over the years. This article alleges the bacon cheeseburger was invented in Houston in 1941. I don’t know who invented the plant-based bacon cheeseburger, but I do know that I made a delicious one today!

Green lentil patty with rice paper bacon and vegan smoked gouda!

I tested four different kinds of plant-based bacon!

It was a short week for me after the What A Vegan Burger Festival this Sunday. I was a bit behind my normal schedule for inventing a burger, so I decided to take this classic burger topping to the test kitchen instead!

I started with a bit of internet research, and I found four different kinds of bacon I wanted to test out:

  • Mushroom bacon
  • Rice paper bacon
  • Tempeh bacon
  • Seitan bacon

How can you make plants taste like bacon?!

Every recipe I looked at involved a marinade step. I took elements from all of the recipes I looked at to create a test marinade for these four dishes.

I was going to do a different marinade for each one, but I decided to keep them consistent across the experiment. I wanted to keep as many variables fixed as I could when deciding which bacon was my favorite.

In order of volume, the ingredients I ended up using in my marinade were:

  • Soy sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Maple syrup
  • Miso paste
  • Liquid smoke
  • Spices

Pretty simple! I had most of these ingredients in my fridge already. I did have to go to the store to buy miso paste and liquid smoke, but I will definitely continue to use these in my kitchen.

The miso paste is a great way to add umami and salty flavors to broths, so that will certainly come in handy if it ever gets cold in Houston.

I am excited to experiment with the liquid smoke. A little bit goes a long way. Off a quick search, I am excited to try it in carrot dogs, mac and cheese, and mocktails!

There were several ways to do this test…

and I decided to see how these bacons tasted on a bacon egg and cheese biscuit. A vegan sweet potato buttermilk biscuit to be exact!

I used Just Egg and Violife cheddar slices for the other elements of the biscuit.

Are mushrooms better as bacon?

After I made my marinade, I sliced crimini mushroom caps into 1/4″ pieces. I like crimini mushrooms because they are meaty and take on flavors well.

I let my mushrooms marinate for about 15 minutes, then put them in the oven at 400º for 20 minutes. I used the slotted baking sheet that came with my Breville Smart Oven, because I wanted to see if these would get an even char on top and bottom without flipping halfway through.

These mushrooms tasted delicious raw in the marinade!

I could have taken 2-3 minutes off of the time, because these came out pretty charred.

Honestly, I think a mushroom, egg, and cheese biscuit would have been better than trying to char mushrooms into bacon texture. Less time and work with a meatier flavor. Matter of fact, I think I will make one of these for breakfast this weekend!

Rice paper bacon? Seriously?!

That’s right, bacon made out of rice paper! I stumbled on a few of these recipes from a quick Google search, and I found out it’s actually pretty easy to make.

The rice paper was also really easy to find. 42 rolls cost $3.50, and each roll makes about 3 pieces of bacon. This one is super cost effective!

I found these in the “International” aisle at HEB. I will definitely be making egg rolls this week!

The process here is fairly simple. First, cut two sheets of rice paper into inch-wide strips. Take two pieces that are roughly the same size, and dip them into a bowl of water. The pieces will stick together immediately – you won’t be able to get them apart if you try!

Next, dip in the marinade to coat. Place the bacon on a piece of parchment paper, and repeat until your baking sheet is full. These go in the oven at 400º for 7-9 minutes.

After about 6 minutes, I watched these pretty closely. Each piece of bacon was ready at a different time based on the temperature profile of my oven. There is a pretty short window for these to go from crunchy to burnt!

You also don’t want to undercook these. Parts will be nice and crunchy, but parts will be quite chewy. Nobody likes chewy bacon!

These passed the test onto the bloom menu!

Whether on a sandwich, breakfast plate, garnish, or quick snack, this rice paper bacon was a success! The marinade adhered really well to the rice paper. I could taste the salty, smoky, and sweet flavors from the mixture.

I just had a piece that had been in the fridge for two days, and it was still really crispy and flavorful! Definitely try this one out!

The first time I had tempeh bacon…

was on the TTLA at Whole Foods – their vegan take on a BLT that has tempeh, tomato, lettuce, and avocado. I liked the texture of the tempeh, and I started to make my own version a while back to save some of that paycheck.

In case you were wondering, tempeh is a fermented soy bean product that originated in Indonesia. Different varieties are made with wheat, rice, millet, peanuts, or coconut. It is high in protein, so it is great for 100% plant-based eaters!

I got my tempeh from Wiwas Tempeh, a tempeh maker here in The Woodlands, TX! Their product is made from soy and Rhizopus, the mold that is used for fermentation. Check out their website to see where you can buy their tempeh, it’s really high quality and very affordable!

I started by slicing this tempeh into about 1/8″ pieces. As I treat other soy products like tofu (or pumfu), I let this tempeh marinade for about an hour.

I grilled half of the batch in olive oil for about 5 minutes on each side. I baked the other half at 350º for 25 minutes, flipping half way through.

Both methods really came out about the same. If you’re doing a small batch, I’d recommend grilling because it’s ready faster. Larger batches are more suited for the oven.

Tempeh is a really good plant-based sandwich bacon!

I really enjoyed the tempeh on the bacon egg and cheese biscuit! It took the marinade really well. I could taste it the most out of all of the bacons.

It was meaty, and a bit crunchy. It’s probably the easiest one to control the crunch on. If you like crunchy bacon like me, you can cook longer to get to that texture. If you like your bacon with a bit more give, take it off a few minutes earlier!

This ingredient is so versatile. I can see myself using it on may other sandwiches – perhaps with BBQ sauce, a cajun dry rub, or a sweet and sour treatment!

We will see tempeh featured in Bloom Foods dishes in the future!

Seitan bacon is last, but certainly not least.

Seitan is a plant-based “meat” made from the gluten in wheat flour. It is sometimes referred to as wheat meat!

I’ve seen seitan used for chicken sandwiches, barbecue ribs, meatballs, pepperoni, and more. After trying it with bacon, will I experiment with it more?

Cooking seitan is a really long process…

It takes about 1-2 hours to cook initially, then a few more hours to cool it and get a good flavor. Since I had never tried this product before, I decided to buy some at the store to see if it was something I wanted to spend more time on.

I checked Whole Foods, and the only seitan-based bacon I could find was by Sweet Earth. The hickory and sage flavor seemed really appealing to me.

This small pack was pretty pricey – 8 pieces of bacon for about $6.

This one was pretty straightforward. I seared two slices of this bacon in some olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side. The result was a crispy piece of bacon that held together really well!

So, whats the verdict on the seitan?

I was a bit surprised at how good it was!

The texture was pretty mind-blowing. The pieces started out flimsy like raw bacon, and they crisped up really well in the pan. I will say, these did continue to crisp a bit after I took them out. I probably should have cooked for 3 minutes on each side like the package says, and let them rest to finish.

The crunch was the most noticeable of all of the biscuits.

The flavor was really solid. It was not as smoky or defined as my marinade, but it definitely got the job done.

If you do not want to go through the steps to make a marinade and do some basic assembly, I would definitely recommend this bacon.

This seitan definitely convinced me to make some from scratch in my own kitchen. Seitan will definitely be on the Bloom menu, maybe as bacon, definitely in other experimental forms!

Take a look at the video

I made to get some good visuals of how each bacon turned out. Check out the recipe for the marinade and bacon preparations below!

Plant-Based Bacon Three Ways

Marinade and preparation of mushroom, rice paper, and tempeh bacon
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Marinade Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes


  • Baking sheet
  • Cast iron skillet



  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or acceptable replacement
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup the real kind!
  • 1/4 cup olive oil unrefined
  • 1/2 tbsp miso paste there are soy free versions available
  • 1/2 tbsp unrefined salt
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke

Plant Bacons

  • 1 cup mushrooms cremini, portobello, other meaty mushroom
  • 2 sheets rice paper spring roll sheets
  • 4 oz tempeh


  • Combine all ingredients for marinade into a bowl and whisk together.

Mushroom Bacon

  • Cut mushroom caps into 1/4" thickness. Coat and toss with 1/4 cup of marinade.
  • Bake in oven at 400 ºF for 15-20 minutes, until mushrooms are golden-brown crispy.

Rice Paper Bacon

  • Cut two sheets of rice paper into 1" strips.
  • Take two equal sized strips, line them up, and dip them into a bowl of water. They will stick together.
    Dip the combined piece into the marinade and lay flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Repeat with the rest of the rice paper strips. Place in oven at 400 ºF.
  • After 6 minutes, keep a close eye on the oven. When pieces look bubbly and crispy, remove them one at a time. Do not remove all pieces at once, their consistencies will vary and some may still be chewy.

Tempeh Bacon

  • Cut tempeh into thin 1/8" strips. Place into a glass dish and cover with marinade. Place in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, preferably one hour.
  • Oven method:
    Place tempeh on parchment-lined baking sheet in oven at 350 ºF. Cook for 15 minutes, then flip and cook for 10 more minutes until golden-brown and crispy.
  • Skillet method:
    Heat skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and cook tempeh on each side for 3-5 minutes. Add some marinade in the pan during cooking for extra caramelization.

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Pumpkin Seed Tofu?!

It hit 50º in Houston a few weeks ago, so I was pretty sure fall was here to stay! I was trying to decide how to creatively put fall on a plate, and I stumbled across a picture of some sweet potato biscuits I made in November 2017.

I trialed these sweet potato biscuits a few times in 2017. They were fluffy and packed with flavor!

This year, I figured I would try to make pumpkin spice biscuits. I bought a pumpkin from HEB and roasted it, but it did not have the richness of flavor that I am used to from local ingredients. I had seen sweet potatoes popping back up at Urban Harvest, so I knew this was going to be the bun for the burger this week!

It turns out local flavors taste better!

I bought about 3 lbs of sweet potato from Gundermann Acres, and I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks for inspiration: The Food Lab. Kenji López-Alt is a nerdy food writer who incorporates science and engineering into the kitchen, and I combined two of his recipes to make these biscuits!

I used natural enzymes to sweeten these sweet potatoes

There is an enzyme in sweet potatoes called beta-amylase that converts the starches in the potato into maltose – a natural sugar. This enzyme is active between 135º and 170º.

I pretty much followed the recipe, it is pretty straightforward. I cubed and parcooked the sweet potatoes within the temperature range for an hour, then roasted them for an hour at 400º.

The only changes I made were

  • not peeling the potatoes. The highest nutrient density is at and right below the skin, and I did not want to lose this.
  • to season with garlic powder and allspice before roasting. This would be a great recipe by themselves, and these flavors were great in the final biscuit!

Now to veganize these buttermilk biscuits…

You are probably thinking buttermilk biscuits must be hard to veganize. After all, butter and milk are in the name of the dish!! But, with a bit of creativity and time, you will not even realize the difference!

I started with this recipe from Kenji and made some changes:

  • I replaced the sour cream with blended super sweet-sweet potato.
  • I replaced the buttermilk with coconut buttermilk.
  • I used 1 part white whole wheat flour to 3 parts all purpose flour.

The sour cream is meant to moisten the biscuits. The sweet potato provides a natural, plant-based alternative, along with a much deeper flavor!

I made coconut buttermilk by mixing a cup of coconut milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice. I like to replace milk with coconut milk in my recipes, because some people have soy or nut allergies. Vegan buttermilks using soy or almond milk “curdle” in about 5 minutes because these milks have a higher fat content. I let my milk mixture sit for 30 minutes to achieve the same result.

When you use all-purpose flour in baking, it results in a great rise. However, I much prefer to use whole wheat flour as much as I can. Because the rise on the biscuit is crucial, and some people don’t like the taste of whole wheat flour, I replaced 25% of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat. If you try a 100% replacement, let me know!

And for the butter…

Traditional biscuit recipes involve cutting cold butter into your flour mixture, then adding wet ingredients. They also typically call for brushing melted butter on top of the biscuits before baking.

I have been using Earth Balance vegan butter sticks for baking, and a 1 for 1 replacement with butter in the recipe came out great! In my video, I actually used half Earth Balance and half Mill King butter. This local butter comes from Central Texas, and the cows are grass-fed & non-GMO, so I feel comfortable using it in my kitchen! Check out their page to learn more about their health and sustainability practices.

Now I could have eaten these biscuits on their own (and I certainly did with a few of them), but they needed a great filling to create a delicious slider!

What in the world is pumpkin seed tofu?!

A few weeks ago, Chef Keith from Kitchen Ninja Services posted a product on his story called PUMFU. This product is made by Foodies Vegan, and it is an alternative to soy-based tofu. I was a fan when I read the ingredients – organic, non-GMO pumpkin seeds and filtered water. That’s it!

Find pumfu in Houston at Vegside Market!

I’ve actually never cooked tofu before, but I just went off of my instincts this time.

In a past life, I would have put some chicken on this biscuit, so I marinated this pumfu like it was chicken. I used jalapeño vinegar (from these pickles), sage, rosemary, parsley, and some satsumas for sweetness.

I let the flavors take over the pumfu for a few hours, and I went to the pan.

Don’t waste that marinade.

I didn’t get much video of my technique, but after an initial sear in olive oil, I basted my pumfu with the juice leftover from the marinade. This produced a beautiful and delicious caramelization that made this slider look so inviting.

I think the pumfu looks like grilled red snapper! It tasted great, and the bite reminded me of chicken. Just a fantastic product.

I could have eaten both of these myself, but I decided to share!

Now for the toppings!

I was leaving the farmer’s market one day, and I saw a tent that I had never seen before. They were only selling one thing – 5 lb bags of SATSUMAS!

Satsumas look just like mandarins to me!

Satsumas may look like mandarins or tangerines, but they have a few characteristics that make them absolutely delightful.

  • They are extremely easy to peel. Almost none of the pith/pulp sticks to the fruit when ripe.
  • They have almost no seeds. I found 2 seeds in a 5 lb bag – that’s about 20 satsumas!
  • They are sweet with just a bit of tang. Versatile, and not as sour as other citrus fruits.

Citrus doesn’t typically make a great jam because of the fibrous skin surrounding the juicy fruit, so I decided to do a quick cook and make a satsuma syrup.

This syrup was pretty straightforward. I cooked down satsumas with a bit of unrefined sugar. When the juices started to melt and the skins started to break down, I crushed some salt, black pepper, thai chili, coriander, curry leaves, and allspice in a mortar and pestle and added it to the fruit.

I finished with a cinnamon stick and a simmer until I got to a syrupy texture. Admittedly, I did this because I didn’t have any ground cinnamon, but the stick packed a lot of great flavor!

And a massage to finish it all off.

This slider was looking pretty orange, and we eat with our eyes. What color goes better on a fall plate than green?!

I looked in the crisper drawer for some greens, and I found some Plant It Forward red Russian kale. This kale is great when cooked down, but I wanted it to stand up a bit. I didn’t want it raw because the stems can be quite fibrous, so I decided to massage it!

I tore the kale by hand, and I added some of the pumfu marinade and a touch of adobo for a smoky flavor. I massaged firmly with my fingers, which loosened up the fiber in the kale. What resulted was a beautiful base layer that stood up to the pumfu and top biscuit bun.

And there you have it, a Sweet Potato Biscuit and Pumpkin Seed Tofu Slider with Satsuma Syrup and Massaged Kale. A fall masterpiece!

Check out the video and read the recipe below!

Sweet Potato Pumfu Slider

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Grilled Pumfu, Satsuma Syrup, and Massaged Kale
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time30 minutes
Parcook/Marinade Time1 hour
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 sliders
Cost: $20


  • Mixing bowls
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Food processor
  • Sauce pan
  • Biscuit cutter or 3.5" to 4" drinking glass


Sweet Potato Biscuits

  • 1.5 lbs sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt half for roasting, half for biscuits
  • 1 tbsp black pepper half for roasting, half for biscuits
  • tsp allspice
  • tsp garlic powder
  • cups coconut milk or other plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 8 tbsp cold butter cut into ¼" pats
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour plus extra for forming biscuits
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

Pumfu Patty

  • 1 block pumfu
  • 1 cup spicy vinegar or vinegar and dried/fresh peppers
  • 1 satsuma
  • ½ tbsp parsley
  • ½ tbsp sage
  • ½ tbsp rosemary
  • ½ tbsp black pepper
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Satsuma Syrup

  • 4 satsumas
  • 1 tbsp unrefined sugar
  • 3 dried thai chilis or other dried or fresh pepper
  • 4 curry leaves
  • ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp allspice

Massaged Kale

  • 2 kale leaves
  • 1 spoon adobo sauce


Sweet Potato Biscuits

  • Heat 2 qt of water to a boil. Cube potatoes.
    Add 2 cups of room temperature water and your potatoes and cover. Parcook the potatoes for at least an hour, up to three.
  • Turn oven to 400° F.
    Drain potatoes, and season with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and allspice. Lay flat on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
    Turn potatoes, and cook for bake for another 20 minutes.
  • Let potatoes cool for an hour.
    While cooling, add 1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to 1 ¼ cups of coconut milk. Mix and let sit for 30 minutes. You can cool in the fridge once 30 minutes is up.
  • In the food processor, blend sweet potatoes into a puree/paste. Remove, and measure ¾ cup of blended sweet potato. If you have extra, you can scale the biscuits, or use for cookies, a smoothie, or a bowl.
  • Wash and dry the food processor. Add flour, salt (1/2 tbsp), baking powder, and baking soda. Add allspice, cloves, and black pepper. Pulse a few times to combine.
  • Cut cold butter into ¼" pats. Add these dispersed around the food processor, and pulse until butter pieces are less than ¼" in diameter.
  • Add flour mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add sweet potato and coconut buttermilk.
    Mix with a rubber spatula until too dense to mix, then use your hands until the dough comes together to a ball.
  • Flour a clean surface and place down your dough. Generously flour the surface and dough so the dough is not sticky.
    Using your palms or a floured rolling pin, press dough until it is about 1 cm thick. Using a bench scraper or spatula, fold the right third of the dough into the center, and do the same with the left third. Repeat with the top and bottom third. You should have a square that is 1/9 the size of the original dough.
  • Flour this dough and the surrounding area of your surface, and press or roll down the dough to its original thickness. Repeat the folding process, then press or roll again.
  • Pre-heat oven to 425°F.
    Flour a biscuit cutter or a glass. Start cutting biscuits at the edge of your dough. Be sure to press down on your dough, don't twist. This will mess up your layers you worked hard to create.
    Gently place biscuits in a cast iron skillet or glass baking dish. Make sure your biscuits are touching close together, this will help them rise taller.
  • Brush the top of the biscuits with your melted butter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove biscuits to a cooling rack. Make sure to let cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting into them!

Pumfu Patties

  • Cut pumfu block into 4 squares. Slice each square into three even pieces.
  • In a glass dish, add cut pumfu. Add spicy vinegar (or vinegar and fresh/dried peppers), satsumas, parsley, sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
    Let sit for at least an hour. Pumfu will hold together overnight or even for a few days.
  • Heat up cast iron pan over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan and place pumfu pieces to sear.
    After initial sear, baste pumfu with marinade mixture. When marinade hits the pan, run seared portion of pumfu on the liquid. This will help get a great caramelization on the pumpkin seed patty.
  • After 5 minutes or golden brown sear achieved, flip and repeat on other side.

Satsuma Syrup

  • Peel satsumas. Add with unrefined sugar to a sauce pan over medium-high heat.
    Cook down and gently release juices from satsumas using a wooden spoon.
    Once juices are released, turn down pan slightly to make sure syrup does not burn.
  • To a mortar and pestle, add thai chili, curry leaves, coriander, salt, pepper, and allspice. Crush and add to the pan.
  • Cook until syrup starts to hold together, but is still slightly runny. Take off the heat and let set to the desired thickness.

Massaged Kale

  • Tear kale with hands into a small mixing bowl. Add pumfu marinade and a spoon of adobo sauce.
    Massage with fingers. You should be able to feel the fibrous veins in the kale softening up.

Assemble Slider!

  • Cut a sweet potato biscuit in half.
  • Place massaged kale on the bottom bun, then pumfu pieces.
  • Top with satsuma syrup and top bun. ENJOY!!

French Green Lentil Burger feat. Revival Provisions Mustard!!

I went into my pantry this week to see what kind of burger I could whip up without going to the store (more or less), and I found these beautiful French green lentils!

These lentils are dotted with black spots when raw. When cooked, the black part seems to dissolve into the broth, resulting in a deep, beautiful color in the pot.

I was told these lentils are a bit heartier than “plain” green lentils, and I definitely agree. I simmered these in water for 20-25 minutes, and they still had a healthy bite, but they held together well too. I soaked my first batch for a few hours before I cooked them, and I really couldn’t tell a difference between not soaking at all.

When I cook lentils I love to use different veggies, and I pretty much always use onion, carrot, and garlic. So for the base of this burger, I used sauteéd onion and raw carrot.

I was going to add some garlic, but I realized I had some Texas Black Gold Garlic in the fridge. This garlic is grown in San Antonio and caramelized for 1-2 months in controlled heat and humidity. The result is umami and complex, with sweet and pungent notes that add depth of flavor.

I have started to use this puree in place of garlic in my cooking. It saves me a mince!

That sums up the wet ingredients of this burger, along with my seasonings:

  • French green lentils
  • sauteéd red onion
  • raw chopped carrot
  • Texas Black Gold garlic puree
  • unrefined salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • thyme – another lentil classic

Now, let us add dry ingredients to this delicious mix! To bind this patty, I added oyster mushroom powder and whole wheat breadcrumbs.

I got the Oyster Mushroom Powder

at the farmer’s market from Flying Saucer Farms. This dried and ground oyster mushroom provides another level of savory comfort to this burger.

The mushroom is complemented well by the right amount of unrefined salt. It’s still fairly warm in Houston, so we should continue to avoid salty dishes for the time being.

To make whole wheat bread crumbs:

I left some experimental burger buns in a brown bag for 3 days, cut crouton-sized pieces, baked in olive oil at 300º for 15-20 minutes, and food processed until fine.

Once I added these ingredients, the patties were forming well and holding together, so I took them to the grill!

Suggested Late Summer cooking method – sear and steam

I got a nice sear on these patties!

After I seared both sides, I added a bit of water to the pan and let the burgers steam. I think this helped the burgers to hold together better – and avoid a messy burger bite. I flipped them twice more after steaming.

On my last flip, I added some Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda cheese.

Don’t get water on the bottom surface of the burger!

Now the exciting part, adding the toppings, and the taste test!

Mustard and Tomato: classic toppings done right

I was planning to do some mustard experiments, then I stumbled on a local mustard company here in Houston – Revival Provisions! I used their Old Faithful mustard on a burger, and it was so much more flavorful than the yellow mustard I had in my pantry. I wanted to hear more about their product, so I decided to reach out to them for a taste test!

Jacob and Aubry put a lot of care into their mustards!

Hear the recipes behind the three mustards we added to our burgers: Old Faithful, Jon Di Baptist, and Spicy Sinner

I really enjoy the flavors of these mustards.

  • Old Faithful is a classic yellow, but I could feel a healthy spice in my nose every few bites. Quite a bit of unapologetic flavor.
  • Jon Di Baptist is a spicy dijon made with rosé cider, tarragon, and shallots. Amazing flavors you can’t find anywhere else!
  • Spicy Sinner is a horseradish mustard made with local St. Arnold’s Guten Tag lager! Perfect for the Oktoberfest season.
Top: Jon Di Baptist, Left: Old Faithful, Right: Spicy Sinner

I really can’t wait to try the rest of these mustards!

I haven’t tried Holy Spirit or The Sacrament yet!

BF Tomato Jam Batch #1

I had some Atkinson Farms tomatoes left from the Great Vegan Cook-off Vol. 3, and I made tomato jam. I used unrefined sugar, apple cider vinegar, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and allspice. Batch #1 was a success!

Use a thick layer of tomato jam on the bottom bun. You will notice pockets of sweet and spicy flavor as your burger disappears.

#2 will swap out the cumin for ginger/turmeric, and dried thai chili for cayenne.

What are your classic burger toppings?

I used verdegreens red butter leaf lettuce, tomato, red onion, and pickles.

Check out the video and scroll back up for the recipe!

French Green Lentil Burger

Put together a savory, classic French green lentil burger in no time!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings: 4 1/3 lb burgers


  • Food processor
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Mixing bowls


French Green Lentil Patty

  • 1.5 cup French green lentils, dry 2 cups cooked
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1.5 tbsp black garlic puree
  • 2 tbsp oyster mushroom powder or other dried mushroom powder
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp unrefined salt

Burger Toppings

  • 4 burger buns
  • Revival Provisions mustard or other local choice
  • Tomato Jam ketchup okay
  • 4 slices Follow Your Heart gouda
  • lettuce
  • 1 tomato sliced
  • pickles
  • red onion sliced


French Green Lentil Patties

  • Cover rinsed French green lentils with 2 inches of water and simmer for 20-25 minutes until just tender.
  • Cut red onion into chunks and place in food processor. Pulse red onion until fine. Sauté in a cast iron with olive oil or water until caramelized – 6-8 minutes.
  • Cut carrot into cubes. In food processor, pulse carrot into medium pieces. Add French green lentils and pulse mixture until about 60% of lentils are broken.
  • Remove lentil-carrot mixture and add cooked red onion. Add black garlic puree, thyme, black pepper, and salt. Mix to combine.
  • Add oyster mushroom powder and bread crumbs. Mix to combine.
  • Separate mixture into 4 balls. Shape into patties by hand or burger press.

Cook Your Burger

  • Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add avocado oil or Earth Balance, and place 2 patties in skillet.
  • Flip patties after 3 minutes. Side should have a light golden-brown sear. Adjust temperature accordingly.
  • Sear second side for 3 minutes, then flip. Add 1-2 tbsp water to the edge of the cast iron, careful not to disturb the sear on the bottom of the patties. Cover and steam for 4 minutes, flipping half-way through.
  • Sear both sides one last time for 2 minutes each. On last flip, add Follow Your Heart smoked gouda or other plant-based cheese to melt.

Assemble Your Burger

  • Toast your burger buns in the toaster oven or on the skillet. Lather tomato jam on the bottom bun, and mustard on top.
  • Place your burger patty down. Top with red onion, tomato, pickles, and lettuce.
    Cut in half and dig in!

Spicy Purple Hull Pea Burger with Persimmon Jam and Spicy Pickled Okra

If you haven’t had a chance, check out this post and video to see how I made the spicy purple hull pea patties!

This purple hull pea burger came out better than I could have imagined!

The burger patty itself was great – I had made a variation of it before, so I was able to tweak the spice level closer to where I wanted it. Luckily, I was most pleasantly surprised with the toppings!

I tried my first persimmon last week after seeing and buying an unknown fruit from Lightsey Farms at Urban Harvest. This is by far the most interesting fruit I’ve eaten. You have to wait for these Hachiya persimmons so get so ripe to the point that they are almost liquid inside, then you scoop them out like a pudding! The fruit is quite sweet, so I thought it would pair well with spicy jalapeño, and I was right! I also added Mexican mint marigold, also known as Texas tarragon, for an amazing herb flavor.

The red jalapeño didn’t lose any of it’s kick in the fruit suspension!

The spicy pickled okra also came out really well. I was about to lose a bit of okra that I bought two weekends ago, so I knew I had to preserve it in pickles. The recipe I used was quite easy – water, ACV, salt, sugar, and eyeball some spices and seeds! And the crunch from the pickles made for a great bite!

I also added some lemon and garlic. Healing and flavorful!

This R&D burger was a complete success – which I’m extra happy for given I made several new recipes to make the condiments. The spicy patty, sweet and spicy persimmon jam, and vinegary pickles resulted in an outstanding overall experience!

I am most excited about this persimmon jam, and I am going to go all out with more experiments. It’s vibrant color along with ability to hold spice makes for an amazing garnish on a dish. Expect it on a Bloom menu coming soon 😏

That jam, and the Verdegreens red oak leaf lettuce 🤤

I’m going to let the video do the rest of the talking. Let me know how you like the recipe and video, and use #bloomburgerhtx when you re-create!

Spicy Purple Hull Pea Burger with Persimmon Jam and Spicy Pickled Okra

I made a sweet and spicy persimmon jam and some crunchy, spicy pickled okra to go on top of my spicy purple hull pea patty!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings: 1
Cost: $3


  • Cast iron skillet
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Small sauce pot
  • Large sauce pot
  • Mason jar


  • spicy purple hull pea patty
  • whole wheat bun
  • plant-based butter for spreading
  • red oak leaf lettuce or other crunchy greens

Persimmon Jam

  • 1 Hachiya persimmon very ripe
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 4 stems Mexican mint marigold dried

Spicy Pickled Okra – makes one 8 oz mason jar

  • 1/2 lb okra
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 1 slice lemon
  • 1 clove garlic smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tbsp unrefined salt
  • 1/2 tbsp unrefined sugar
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns whole
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander seed
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard seed
  • 1 pinch celery seed optional


Prepare the burger

  • Heat cast iron over medium heat, and spray with avocado oil. Add burger patty and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Spray top side of patty with avocado oil before flip. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Spray un-seared portions of burger patty with avocado oil, then flip. This will result in a great sear on your patty.
  • Spray and flip one more time, until your burger is golden-brown with a nice sear. Total time should take about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the patty, and toast the bun in the cast iron with more oil. You can also toast in a toaster oven if you'd like.

Persimmon Jam

  • Open a ripe Hachiya persimmon by hand and empty into a bowl.
  • Finely dice a jalapeño or other spicy pepper. Add to the bowl.
  • Using a mortar and pestle or your hands, crush some dried Mexican mint marigold into the bowl. Dried tarragon or sage would also work quite well.
  • Mix to combine!

Spicy Pickled Okra

  • Sterilize a mason jar by leaving it in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to place a steamer rack at the bottom of the pot – do not let the mason jar rest on the bottom of the pot or it will shatter.
    After sterilizing the jar, take some of the hot water and pour it over the jar lid in a mixing bowl. Leave the lid in for a few minutes to sterilize.
    Save the rest of the hot liquid for later.
  • Add the water, apple cider vinegar, salt, and sugar to a small sauce pot. Heat over medium heat until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
  • To the sterilized jar, add the lemon slices and crushed garlic.
  • Cut the ends off of the okra and jalapeños, and add them to the jar.
    Pour the dissolved ACV mixture into the jar, until about 1/2" air space is left. Use a knife to stir up/remove any air bubbles that may be trapped in the jar, and pour more liquid into the jar until about 1/4" air space is left.
  • Hand tighten the jar. Boil the entire jar for 10 minutes to set the seal.
    Remove carefully, and let the jar return to room temperature in a safe place.

Assembling the Burger

  • Spread plant-based butter onto the toasted buns.
  • On the bottom bun, add some persimmon jam, and top with lettuce.
  • Place the burger patty on the lettuce. Top with some sliced pickles, and more jam.
  • On the top bun, add some persimmon jam and lettuce.
  • Stack and enjoy!

Spicy Purple Hull Pea Patties

I used these spicy purple hull peas to make patties for a Houston, Texas late September seasonal plant-based burger!

Once you have cooked beans, if you have a food processor or blender on hand, these patties come together quite easily. It is also very easy to adjust this recipe to raise or lower the sweet or spicy level. Reduce the carrots if you don’t want a super sweet patty, and raise or lower the number of jalapeños to your desired spice level. I bought bulk carrots this time, but if you have carrots with the greens on them, I would throw some of those in the blender for some additional nutrients!

Check out harvest grain mills for the best rice flour. They ship!

The beans in the bowl are a result of cooking 1 lb of fresh purple hull peas.

For my raw vegetables, I used 5 carrots, 5 small to medium bell peppers, and 8 jalapeños.

I started with about 400 g rice flour. I probably ended up adding a total of around 600 g when it was all said and done.

The veggies really only need a rough chop. Let the food processor do the bulk of the work here!

If you would like, here are Amazon links for the burger press and parchment rounds that I use!

And here is the final result for 12 beautiful patties that came out of this recipe!!! Please check out the video and recipe below, and let me know what you think!

Spicy Purple Hull Pea Patties

I used purple hull peas from Gundermann Acres and other local Houston, TX late summer vegetables to make a plant-based burger patty. Sweet carrots and spicy jalapeños lead to a balance of delicious flavors!
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 12
Cost: $12


  • Food processor or blender
  • Mixing bowls
  • Burger press, optional
  • Parchment rounds, optional


  • cooked purple hull peas 1 lb fresh beans
  • 600 g brown rice flour

Raw Vegetables

  • 5 carrots medium
  • 5 bell peppers small to medium
  • 8 jalapeños red and/or green


  • garlic powder to taste
  • dried thyme to taste
  • dried oregano to taste
  • unrefined salt to taste
  • fresh black pepper to taste


  • Roughly chop raw vegetables and add to a food processor. Gently pulse several times until small, consistent chunks are formed.
  • Season raw vegetables with garlic, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper to your taste. Season brown rice flour with salt and pepper. You can add the other seasonings if you like.
  • Using a large mason jar or other flat surface, smash the beans until about 20% of them are crushed. The consistency should be slightly creamy, with a lot of whole beans still intact.
  • Add seasoned and mixed raw vegetables to the purple hull peas. Mix to combine.
  • Add brown rice flour, starting with about half of the flour. Mix with a spoon. Add more of the flour and mix.
  • When the mixture is too thick to mix with a spoon, use your hand. You are almost there. Add small amounts of rice flour until the mixture is barely sticking to your hand when you try to form a patty.
  • Measure or eyeball 1/3 lb patties. Use a burger press or your hands to form patties. Cook on a cast iron skillet or griddle, or store in the fridge/freezer for later!

First Ever Vegetarian Purple Hull Pea Recipe!

What in the world are purple hull peas?!

I first came across this legume in 2019 at the Gundermann Acres stand at Urban Harvest. These beans usually show up around July or August, and they are available for a few months. They look like black-eyed peas, but the eye at the center has a pink/purple color.

This is the first fresh bean I’ve ever worked with – they are picked and bagged without being dried. Fresh beans can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or the freezer for a few months. For the most part, they cook about the same as dried beans. However, when you soak/cook them, they pretty much stay the same size, whereas dried beans can grow when they absorb water.

Interestingly enough, I never find an excess of liquid at the end of cooking fresh beans, at least these particular purple hull peas. It doesn’t really change the taste or experience for me, but it’s something I noticed.

I found it incredibly hard to find a recipe for these beans that does not involve some sort of pork product. I thought these beans might not have a lot of flavor because of that, but once I cooked them, I could never drown the delicious flavor of these beans in pork. At that point, I feel like I might as well fry a pork chop instead…! So, I’m going to call this the first ever vegetarian purple hull peas recipe on the internet!

To get started, I soaked 1 lb of beans for about 6 hours, covered by an inch of water. I didn’t see a lot of bubbles forming after that time period, so I knew they were ready to cook.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE – soaking beans may not noticeably change the flavor, but it does wonders for your digestion. Soaking softens the skin of the beans and begins the sprouting process, thus making nutrients more available. This also releases phytic acid from the beans, which can impair the absorption of valuable minerals in the beans. I remember reading about the paleo/Whole30 diet, and one of the rules is no beans because of this mineral-blocking substance. A simple soak will solve this issue, and allow you to eat the high-quality plant-based protein that your body needs.

So, now that we have soaked, phytic-acid-free beans, let’s get started! First, I chopped some carrot, bell pepper, jalapeño, onion, and garlic. I wanted these to be spicy, so I added 8 of Farmer Ely’s fresh jalapeños to my pound of beans.

Next, I sweated out the onions on medium-high heat in olive oil and water, and I added the carrots. I cooked the carrots to soften a bit, but I didn’t worry about them too much because they would be braising in the broth. Next time, I’ll probably add my carrots in earlier or chop them smaller. These onions from Lightsey Farms cooked a bit faster than I’m used to.

Now, I added my peppers. The bell peppers came from Gundermann Acres, and the jalapeños came from Farmer Ely. I was ready to eat this colorful pot of veggies by themselves at this point 😀

Then, I cooked the garlic for 30 seconds, until it was fragrant. Please wait until the end of your sauté to add garlic. It makes all the difference!

I then seasoned the vegetables with unrefined salt, black pepper, thyme, and oregano. Simple and delicious.

Can you see the jalapeño seeds throughout the pot? Great natural flavor and spice!!

Now, it was time to add the beans, mix, and cover with an inch of filtered water. The beans were so beautiful next to the colorful vegetables. I knew there was no way these didn’t come out tasting amazing.

I re-seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano, then I did my best to mix the pot and get a picture so you could see how flavorful these were looking. (Note my use of a wooden spoon through this whole process. Metal is more likely to break the beans, so I like to be as gentle as possible.)

At some point, I snuck a few bay leaves in there.

At that point, it was time to bring to a boil and wait for the beans to get tender. These took a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to where I wanted them – tender and creamy!

And there you have it, the internet’s first ever vegan and vegetarian purple hull pea recipe! I’m glad I have one more bag of these in my freezer, because this batch went into my Spicy Purple Hull Pea Patties!

If you can find purple hull peas at the farmer’s market or store, let me know how they come out. They may be out of season at this point in late September, but hopefully we don’t have to wait until 2021 for more!

First Ever Vegetarian Purple Hull Peas Recipe

Creamy purple hull peas cooked with late summer vegetables
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Cost: $7


  • Dutch oven or large pot
  • Wooden spoon


  • 1 lb purple hull peas fresh
  • 1 red onion medium
  • 2 carrots small
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 8 jalapeños
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil unrefined
  • 2 tbsp salt unrefined
  • 1 tbsp black pepper fresh
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 tbsp dried oregano
  • filtered water
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Soak purple hull peas for 4-6 hours.
  • Dice red onion, carrot, and peppers. Mince garlic.
  • Heat olive oil in dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, until partly translucent.
  • Add diced carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes, until carrots start to get soft.
  • Add bell peppers and jalapeños, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season the vegetables with half of the salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano.
  • Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Don't overcook the garlic!
  • Add soaked purple hull peas and mix everything to combine. Cover the mixture with 1 inch of filtered water.
  • Add bay leaves. Bring pot to a boil. Reduce to medium-low. Check on the beans after an 90 minutes, and add continue to add 15-30 minutes to the timer depending on the done-ness of the beans. Beans should be tender and creamy when done!
  • Serve in you favorite bowl, or use for purple hull pea burger patties!

Pink Bean Burgers!!!

I’m incredibly excited to share my process of making this pink bean burger! This is the first in a long series of my weekly plant-based burger inventions. It is a bit risky to invent a burger a week, because a lot of things have to go right. This time it did, and I am feeling great about the future of this project!

If you haven’t already, please visit my posts on how to cook pink beans and how to form the pink bean patties. If you wish, you can follow along and make the burger from scratch yourself!

This burger was truly inspired from my trip to Puerto Rico. I was able to visit a co-op in Manatí called Frutos del Guacabo, where I learned about low footprint farming in a unique microclimate. I left there with an avocado and a yam, and I was able to use these unique elements in my dish this week!

Puerto Rican Avocado
This Puerto Rican avocado is much larger than any avocado I’ve seen before. I thought it was a mango when I first saw it! And this isn’t as big as they get! (plum for reference)

I was also blessed to try some green plantain from the co-op. The owner described the process of frying these to make a dish called tostones. I made it a few times in Puerto Rico, and brought this sweet, salty, crunchy element back to this burger.

Meal using Frutos del Guacabo ingredients
Meal using Frutos del Guacabo ingredients. Tacos with aguacate, berenjena, tostones, black beans, goat cheese, and a guava-passion fruit hot sauce I’m still dreaming about

A meal of coconut rice and pink beans I ate at los kioskos de Luqillo was the final inspiration for this dish. My first time trying pink beans was packed with flavor, and I wasn’t going to wait until I could make it back to the island to try these beans again!

Back home, I did some shopping at Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market, and I saw jalapeños at Farmer Ely’s tent for the first time this year. I had to buy them, and I later realized they would pair great with the avocado.

At the market, I always stop by the Verdegreens tent for crunchy salad lettuce and sprouts. I ended up with their supergreens sprout mix, and it looked delicious on this burger!

So, this sets the stage for the burger! Pink bean patty, tostones, fresh avocado crema, and supergreens. 🤤🤤

I used this recipe for my first try with vegan buns. I substituted the all-purpose flour (because it is refined) with white whole wheat flour (unrefined), and as expected, my buns didn’t rise as much as the picture. I think the bran results in a denser flour, so I’ll have to let these rise more next time. Also, I consulted with some bakers, and I probably over-kneaded my dough. So next time, these will definitely come out better!

At this point, I’ll let the video and recipe speak for themselves. Check them out, and let me know what you think in the comments below! What would you add to this burger in your own kitchen?

Puerto Rican Pink Bean Burgers

A burger inspired by Puerto Rico. Pink bean patty, tostones, avocado crema, and microgreens on a whole wheat bun!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 380kcal
Cost: $2


  • Cast iron skillet
  • Frying pot (dutch oven or other)
  • Mortar and pestle, molcajete, or blender


  • 1 pink bean burger patty
  • 1/4 cup microgreens
  • 1 whole wheat bun


  • 1/2 green plantain
  • frying oil – grapeseed preferred

Jalapeño Avocado Crema

  • 1 avocado ripe
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 lemon or lime
  • cumin seeds
  • black peppercorns


  • Heat cast iron skillet on medium until warm. Heat about an inch of cooking oil in frying pot until 350 degrees.


  • Peel plantain and cut into 1 inch pieces. Add to hot oil.
  • Flip when golden color appears, after about 3 minutes. Cook for 1 more minute and remove to a flat surface.
  • Crush plantain using a plate or another flat surface. Add flattened pieces back to oil for another 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.

Preparing the burger

  • Spray hot cast iron with avocado oil. Add burger patty and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Spray top side of patty with avocado oil before flip. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Spray un-seared portions of burger patty with avocado oil, then flip. This will result in a great sear on your patty.
  • Spray and flip one more time, until your burger is golden-brown with a nice sear. Total time should take about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the patty, and toast the bun in the cast iron with more oil. You can also toast in a toaster oven if you like.

Jalapeño Avocado Crema

  • Roughly dice avocado. Finely dice jalapeño and garlic.
  • Using a mortar and pestle, ground and crush cumin seeds and black peppercorns. Add garlic and blend into a paste.
  • Add avocado, jalapeño, and lime/lemon juice. Blend to desired consistency, until well mixed. Season to taste with unrefined salt.


  • Add avocado crema and microgreens to the bottom bun. Top with pink bean patty, tostones, and more microgreens. Slather more crema on the top bun, and press together.
  • Eat!!!

Pink Bean Patties

I used the pink beans I made earlier this week to make plant-based burger patties! And they came out delicious!

I’ll let the video do most of the work this time, but I did want to mention the yam. I had never used this type of root vegetable before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I haven’t seem yams like this at the farmer’s markets or in Whole Foods or HEB, but I did see them at Fiesta last weekend.

Yam from Puerto Rico
This yam flew with me back from Puerto Rico. I think I’ll buy my next one in Houston 😉

When I put this yam in the food processor, I was surprised at its sticky consistency. It actually reminded me of okra slime (the technical term.) The extreme lubrication made me think this yam is good for joint health and arthritis.

After some research, I learned the yam is:

  • high in manganese, potassium, and copper,
  • is high in starches that increase absorption in the large intestine – prevents colon cancer, alleviates digestive disorders,
  • helps maintain steady blood sugar and gives you a full feeling for longer (like many whole foods),
  • and contains antioxidants with cancer and inflammation fighting properties!
Mixing Yam
This yam was pulling much more that I am used to for my raw veggies. Check out the video at 1:00 to see what I’m talking about.

Overall, I was very happy with the burger. I had to use a bit more rice flour that normal because of the yam texture, but it didn’t affect the final flavor of the patties.

These patties had good flavor, but they weren’t spicy. If you like spicy food, I would double the jalapeños in this recipe!

Check out the video and recipe below, and let me know what you think. If you like the video, subscribe to the YouTube page! If you make the recipe, tag me at @bloomfoodshtx and #bloomburgerhtx ✌🏽

Pink Bean Patties

Plant-based patties made with Puerto Rican inspired pink beans
Prep Time30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Keyword: burger, burger patty, patty, pink bean
Servings: 12 patties
Calories: 240kcal
Cost: $10


  • Food processor
  • Mixing bowls
  • Burger press


  • 1000 g pink beans cooked
  • 500 g brown rice flour

Raw Vegetables

  • 1 yam cubed
  • 1 bunch roselle greens
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 4 jalapeños
  • 1 bunch cilantro


  • garlic powder to taste
  • oregano to taste
  • thyme to taste
  • unrefined salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste


  • Roughly chop raw vegetables, and lightly process with a food processor or a blender. Season the veggies with garlic powder, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper, and mix to combine.
  • Season the rice flour with salt and pepper. You can add the other seasonings as well if you would like.
  • Add pink beans to large mixing bowl. Mash some of the beans for a creamier consistency. Skip this step if your beans are not so firm.
  • Add raw veggies to the beans, and mix to combine.
  • Add rice flour a bit at a time and mix to incorporate. I added my flour in three stages.
  • Add a bit more rice flour if the mixture is too sticky/wet. Add a splash of water if the mixture is too dry/coarse.
  • Use a burger press to press out 1/3 lb (150 g) patties. Cook immediately, or refrigerate/freeze to enjoy later!

Pink Beans (Habichuelas Rosadas)

I went to Puerto Rico for five days to reset and recharge!

Chester in Puerto Rico
The beach by the apartment was great for morning meditation!

I tried not to think too hard about what Bloom burger I was going to create when I got back, but it was on the back of my mind – especially when we went out to eat. We visited the kioskos de Luquillo to get a taste of Puerto Rican food, and I decided to try the Habichuelas on the menu.

The beans were absolutely incredible! I wish I would have gotten a picture, but I ate them too fast with a serving of coconut rice. The beans looked red like kidney beans, but they seemed to be a bit lighter with a different taste. I asked the waiter what kind of beans they were, and he said “rosadas.” These habichuelas rosadas, or pink beans, are a Puerto Rican staple. At that point, I knew they would be in the next Bloom burger!

When I returned to Houston, I went to the Urban Harvest to make groceries and get Bloom ingredients. I asked around about where in the city I may be able to find pink beans, and started on a journey.

I went to Phoenicia downtown, El Canino produce on Airline, Phoenicia in Westheimer, and Parivar Grocers – all with no luck (although I did see some interesting legumes I will feature in future burgers!) Feeling defeated, I decided to stop by Fiesta for a last check. In the frijoles aisle, I finally found what I was looking for!

Goya Pink Beans
Goya Pink Beans (Habichuelas Rosadas)

I took these home for a quick soak – boil for 2 minutes and cover for an hour. Then, I cut some sweet red onion from Lightsey Farms, a green bell pepper, some red and green jalapeños from Farmer Ely, and some fresh garlic.

Pink Beans Cut Ingredients
Soaked pink beans, red onion from Lightsey Farms, green pepper, green/red jalapeño from Farmer Ely, and garlic

With this mise en place ready to go, I started by toasting some coriander seeds in oil until they were fragrant.

Coriander in olive oil

I sweated out the onions, adding a bit of water when they started to stick to the pot.

Sweating red onions

After a few minutes, when the onions got translucent, I added the bell pepper and jalapeños. I also added unrefined salt, black pepper, thyme, and oregano.

The peppers were a bit soft after 3 minutes, when I added my garlic.

VERY IMPORTANT: I recently learned that I had been cooking garlic for far too long. I used to add it along with my onions and let it cook down for several minutes, but this eventually charrs the garlic and removes the aromatic flavor. This time, I added the garlic and stirred for a minute or so, and I could still smell the delicious fragrance. Before I would have to add garlic powder at the end of cooking to get a good flavor, but with this method, five cloves of garlic gave a delicious flavor to a pound of dry beans.

After a minute, I added the soaked pink beans. I like to stir mine into the vegetables. I don’t think it does much, except make for a beautiful picture!

I added a 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes. I would normally use fresh tomatoes, but they are not available locally at this time of year. A trustworthy brand of canned crushed tomatoes typically has better flavor than grocery tomatoes out of season.

Now, all that was left to do was to cover the beans with an inch of water, add some more seasonings to flavor the beans and the liquids, and bring the pot to a boil. I added a healthy amount of the same seasonings as before, and I threw in three small bay leaves (a must!!)

Once I covered my pot, I set the heat to medium-low (3.5-4). This pot is pretty deep, and I’ve found trying to simmer on low doesn’t hold a simmer very well.

I checked the beans after an hour, and they needed a bit more time. I checked them periodically over the next hour, and they ended up being cooked to perfection after a total time of two hours. Here you can see how much liquid cooked down. Isn’t that bright red from the tomato sauce beautiful! 😍

I am going to use these to make burger patties, but I had to have a small bowl just to make sure the flavors were where I wanted them. I have to say, these came out delicious. I felt like I was back at the kiosks on the beach!

And there you have it! These beans will be used to make the first ever Bloom Pink Bean Burger patty! Check out the recipe below!

Pink Beans (Habichuelas Rosadas)

Pink beans (habichuelas rosadas) inspired by a Puerto Rican classic
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Cost: $6


  • Dutch oven or large pot
  • Wooden spoon


  • 1 lb pink beans
  • 1 red onion medium
  • 1 green bell pepper medium
  • 14 oz crushed red tomato
  • 4 jalapeños small
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil unrefined
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp salt unrefined
  • 1 tbsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • filtered water
  • 3 bay leaves small


  • Soak pink beans overnight OR using quick soak method – boil for 2 minutes and let rest with lid closed for an hour.
  • Dice onion, bell pepper, jalapeños, and garlic.
  • Heat up olive oil over medium-high heat. Add coriander seeds and toast for a minute, until fragrant.
  • Add onions and occasionally stir until translucent. 3-4 minutes.
  • Add bell peppers and jalapeños. Add half of salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Mix and cook until peppers are soft. 3 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for one minute. No longer than that!
  • Add pink beans and crushed tomatoes. Add water until beans are covered by one inch (first joint on pointer finger). Add remainder of seasonings and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to medium-low heat.
  • Cook beans for about 2 hours. Check beans after an hour and adjust accordingly. Beans should be slightly firm, but the skins should be soft and they should have a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • Serve with rice and top with fresh cilantro. Or cool overnight to use for burger patties!

The I-10 Burger

The I-10 burger (or a version of it) has been around since Bloom’s first pop up in November of 2019! In this post, I’ll be sharing with you the journey of the burger and how it showcases the principles of Bloom.

When trying to decide what to sell at my first pop-up, I went to the Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market for inspiration. My Saturday morning ritual included (and still does include!) a visit to the farmers market, where I marveled at the array of delicious, local foods. I never strayed from new or daring finds–I found it fun to trust in my cooking abilities and instincts to put create a delicious and local.

The past few Saturdays, I had bought fresh beans from Gundermann Acres, and had especially been enjoying their purple-hull peas the past few weeks – they were new to me and I couldn’t find a lot of information on how to prepare them, so I had the pleasure of relying on my intuition to make them!

One day, I decided to make a burger using purple-hull peas and other whole, plant-based ingredients. I looked at about 20 different recipes in books and blogs, and used this research to come up with a “formula” for the perfect veggie burger. I determined it had to have a filling (beans, rice), a wet binding (egg, flax egg, tahini), a source of fat (coconut oil, olive oil, nuts), and a dry binding (flour, oats, bread crumbs).

At this point, my chemistry lab experience kicked in: I grabbed my lab notebook and started planning out controlled experiments to come up with a great burger! To start, I tried different combinations of fillings, bindings, and healthy fats to make four different burgers. I hand-crafted and tasted all of them, and tweaked some changes. In my next batch, I successfully created a burger held together well, looked appetizing, and tasted great! I was ready to go to market and get customer feedback on my product.

My first “lab experiment” to create the perfect veggie burger!
The burgers to match!

The next Saturday, I excitedly went to Urban Harvest to get purple-hull peas, but was soon disappointed when I was told that I the last bag had been already sold! I tried to remain calm, but it was tough to swallow the fact that I would have to repeat all of my experiments with a new recipe. But I didn’t give up—I purchased red beans after learning that that would be available for another few months.

After hours of testing and 16 burger recipes…I came out with the Fall Bloom Burger! A red bean burger with arugula-pecan pesto, summer squash ketchup, and roasted serrano hot sauce. Finally: a local, delicious burger that I could be proud of and that tasted great.

That next weekend, I took samples of my burger to Eleanora’s Market for the people to taste. The customers loved the taste of the burger and gave me great feedback for how to further improve my burger. To figure out how to make it hold together, I looked at recipes for “Indian cutlets,” a type of dish a dear Indian friend of mine had introduced me to, and is held together by potatoes. A lightbulb went off in my head– potatoes could replace the binding in my patties, add a ton of health benefits and flavor, and make my recipes that much more local with the abundant potatoes I always saw at the Gundermann stand!

Soon after, I tested my new burgers with red beans, sweet potato, ginger, and turmeric. The burgers held together incredibly well and they tasted even better! Feeling even more confident, I headed to Eleanora’s the following week, where people’s reacted overwhelmingly well to the taste of my burger.

The first time I served a hot and fresh Bloom Sandwich at a pop-up

I served the 1/4 lb red bean and sweet potato burger patty as a sandwich for a few months, but I eventually decided to make the burger bigger and better. So I got back in the lab, increased the burger size to 1/3 lb, and tested local vegan buns from around Houston to find the one that would go best with my burgers! (By this time, I had made two more burgers – with pinto and black beans.)

Bun testing was a really fun part of R&D. 1/3 lb patty is on the left, and the other two are 1/4 lb. The bite on the 1/3 patty was so good I had to go with it!

I love all three burgers that are currently on the menu, but the I-10 Burger – Red Bean and Sweet Potato Burger with Arugula-Pecan Pesto, Roasted Beet Ketchup, Verdegreens lettuce, and grilled onions – has a special place in my heart because of the journey it has taken with me through the start of Bloom. I love this burger because it is extremely local, made with whole ingredients, and completely plant-based! It tastes like nothing you’ve ever tried before, and it is undeniably delicious and healing.

Right now, to adapt to COVID-19, I am delivering my patties and burger kits (comes with our house-made sauces/cheese) on Saturdays around Houston for customers to cook and enjoy in their own kitchen. Check out the website to order today!