To those who only know me as Namely Marly, I have something to tell you. I have a last name. Crazy, I know. Right? And I happen to love my last name. A lot. It has personality. Grit. History. And there was a TV show named after it once. What is it? McMillen. Cool name, eh? My dad liked it too which is why he oftentimes went by the nickname Mac. He wasn’t a small guy either so people mostly called him Big Mac. When you grow up in a small town and people call your dad Big Mac, it gives you a sense of importance. I may not have carried any social weight myself in that small town, but most everyone knew my dad…for better or for worse. My dad was also fairly well known for eating not just one but two hamburgers in a sitting. That’s why I’m naming this sandwich, the Vegan Big Mac, after him. He would have liked it that way.
I’ve been contemplating this Vegan Big Mac sandwich for quite awhile. I mean, how could I not. My own daughter has never even had the Big Mac at a certain golden arches restaurant. She’s never had special sauce. Can. You. Believe. It?
This was a situation that only I could fix. Talk about a sense of self importance. Sheesh!
But I’ve been on a quest to create the perfect veggie burger for this sandwich. It had to be nice and thin to accommodate two burgers in one sandwich. And it had to taste good. Darn good.
Once I discovered the Red Quinoa, I knew I was on to something.
I created a little ditty about this burger. Do you want to hear it? Ok. Here it goes:
Two all-pinto patties
Vegan Special Sauce
On a dairy-free bun.
A little wordy, but otherwise, not too bad, eh?
You want to hear something weird? My daughter? The one who hasn’t even tried the sandwich at the golden arches? She doesn’t get this song.
I should tell you something about how I raised my daughter. She did not have a vegan childhood. It was not even vegetarian. Some of this was because her dad wasn’t vegetarian and also because she was the typical picky eating kind of child. So, if she wanted chicken nuggets, I would get them for her. When she went to preschool she ate what the other kids were being served.
I didn’t want to force my choice for a vegetarian diet on her. Obviously we ate lots of vegetarian food together. But I wanted her to decide for herself.
And she did. When she was around seven years old she started talking to me about giving up meat. So she gradually moved toward a vegetarian diet.
I decided to go vegan a few years after that and again, I didn’t pressure my daughter to follow suit. But eventually she did. Now, I should clarify. She and I? We’re related. And as such we share similar traits. In other words, we’re both kind of sensitive to dairy. In fact, we both have kind of sensitive stomachs overall. It’s our lot in life. It’s not a lot, but it’s our life. [Name that movie!!]
So this Vegan Big Mac is more than just a vegan version of something I used to eat years ago. It’s a connection between my dad, the original Big Mac in my life, and my daughter. Family and food. It’s what connects us in so many ways.
The recipe below looks a little intense, but it’s not all that bad. Make the special sauce the night before and then when you get the Pinto Bean Quinoa Patties done, you’ll be ready to assemble these guys in no time at all. I promise, it’s well worth any effort involved!
- 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon dried chopped onions
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon celery seeds
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 tablespoons corn meal
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon Bragg (or soy sauce)
- 1 cup red quinoa cooked according to package instructions
- 1-2 tablespoons water
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ½ cup vegan mayo
- 2 tablespoons "french" dressing
- 3 teaspoons sweet relish
- 2 green onions (the white parts) finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Micro Greens (or sprouts)
- Vegan Cheddar Cheese (I used Daiya Cheddar Slices)
- Pickles (I prefer sweet, but you can use tangy ones if you prefer)
- Buns - I used a regular bun for top and bottom buns and one part of a thin bun for the middle piece
- 4 dairy-free buns
- 2 thin buns, such as Nature's Own Thin Sandwich Rounds
- Pinto Quinoa Patties
- Vegan Special Sauce
- Combine the pinto beans, ground flax seeds, corn starch, dried chopped onions, garlic powder, celery seeds, paprika, corn meal, nutritional yeast flakes, and Bragg (or soy sauce) in a food processor. Pulse for several seconds and then use a spatula to push ingredients down from the side of the bowl. Pulse again for several seconds. Repeat this process until the ingredients are well combined.
- Add the cooked red quinoa and pulse again for a few seconds.
- If the mixture feels stick enough to hold together in patties, then you're ready. If it feels a little dry, go ahead and a tablespoon of water and pulse for a second or two. Add another tablespoon of water if needed.
- Place a skillet on the stove and spray with vegetable spray and turn up to medium heat. Form 8 thin patties from the Pinto Bean Quinoa mixture and cook in batches. Begin by placing however many patties your skillet can hold. On the top of the patty sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste. Allow the patties to brown, about 5 minutes. When they're ready, flip to the other side and cook for another five minutes or so until brown on both sides. Repeat until all the patios are done. I placed the cooked patties on a pan and place them in the toaster oven on low heat to keep warm while getting the rest of the burger ingredients assembled.
- For the special sauce: combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, stir to combine. Store in a lidded container in the fridge.
- Place the bottom half of a bun on a plate. Place the following on the bottom bun in this order:
- Vegan special sauce,
- Micro greens (or lettuce)
- 1 slice vegan cheddar cheese
- 1 Pinto Bean Quinoa Patty
- One side of the Thin Sandwich Bun
- Micro Greens (or lettuce)
- Vegan Special Sauce
- Sliced onions
- Pinto Bean Quinoa Patty
- Top side of your dairy-free bun
- Repeat with all four Vegan Big Macs.
If you’re into trying veggie burgers, how ’bout this Red Beans & Rice Cajun Burger?
Or this Black Bean Pecan Burger
Or one of our all-time favorites, this Avocado and Jalapeño Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Whichever sandwich you choose, enjoy!