Chef Richard Blais Talks Upgrading Your Veggie Burger Locale Magazine Editors October 6, 2017 Spread the loveThese Veggie Burgers Aren’t Only for Vegetarians Written By: Jordan Ligons Photography Provided By: Edelman Your favorite chef has teamed up with MorningStar Farms and the veggies burgers are finger-licking good. “Top Chef All-Star” winner Chef Richard Blais, the man behind popular San Diego spots The Crack Shack and Juniper & Ivy, has some exclusive (and healthy) recipes for you and you can thank him later. Today, meatless meals are trending as 75 percent of Americans are open to eating veggie protein foods and 33 percent are actively striving to reduce meat altogether, according to 2016’s Nielsen P52W Rolling 10/08/16; Veggie Demand Landscape. However, another study by Mintel’s The Protein Report: Meat Alternatives US 2017 report shows that the heat is too hot in the kitchen; about 66 percent of Americans that are open to the idea of veggie products would be even more open to trying products that they could cook at home. Cue MorningStar Farms and Blais. Together, the two created four recipes that will have even carnivores asking for seconds. The Pita Burger is fully equipt with MorningStar Farms Grillers Original Veggie Burger with herbed yogurt, watermelon and feta cheese inside a pita shell. The double layer Island Burger is packed with two MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean and Grillers patties, separated by a grilled pineapple with dressed cabbage and barbecue sauce, all on a Hawaiian roll. Are you drooling yet? Go for a romesco spread with a sliced MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean burger for the Romesco Burger. Top this with cilantro and seasoned romaine lettuce for a tasty finish. For the Indian-inspired Tandoor Burger, finish the MorningStar Farms Grillers Burger with yogurt mixed with tandoori spices, spinach-infused garam masala and eggplant, served on garlic naan bread. The best way to enjoy these recipes and all their glory is on the grill. Chef Blais says to char the veggie burgers over the open flame “to cause the browning known as the ‘maillard reaction’ to achieve a strong savory flavor.” He warns that you don’t have to cook the patties on the hottest part of the grill: “Reserve those spaces for fruits and veggies.” Plus, don’t use tongs; a spatula works best for flipping these veggie burgers! We caught up with Blais to dive deeper with this new partnership: Q: Tasty veggie burgers for us vegetarians—hooray! What made you tap into the vegetarian market with MorningStar Farms? Richard Blais: I typically follow a healthy diet, and I try to eat a plant-based diet a couple days a week to refresh and cleanse my system! MorningStar Farms makes it easy to eat vegetarian meals, whether it’s after a workout or just whipping up a weeknight meal for my family. Q: Why do you think meat eaters will also love these recipes? RB: I think all people, meat eaters or not, love delicious food! These recipes are delicious with dynamic flavors and hearty ingredients that will keep you satisfied. Q: Okay, we’ve made the perfect veggie burger. Now, what sides do you suggest to cook-up to perfectly complete our meal? RB: I love to do a healthy twist on French fries—baked fries, zucchini fries, butternut squash, you name it. Q: What’s your favorite recipe to make? RB: I like to make a Mediterranean version of the MorningStar Farms burger with tzatziki sauce and served in a pita instead of a bun. Add a side of fresh watermelon salad and you have a hearty, yet refreshing, healthy meal. Even though we don’t know if these recipes will make it on the menu of Blais’ current restaurants, we still have much to look forward to. His beloved Crack Shack is coming to Orange County soon, he’s partnering with Chipotle’s Tasty Made to craft their menu and now you can try more of his recipes in his cookbook “So Good”. Who Said Veggie Burgers Were Only for Vegetarians?