Good Seed Veggie Burgers

Being a 99% plant-based eater, when I crave a burger, my first thought is to find a good veggie burger. Some of the best burgers I’ve had were veggie burgers, in fact. I have generally found meat-based burgers to not only be nutritionally inferior, but bland as heck. And sadly, the top national brands of veggie burgers are generally highly processed and often contain gluten or isolated soy protein.

Enter Good Seed burgers. Good Seed is an Austin company with a superfoods focus. What are superfoods, you ask? Well, superfoods are natural foods with greater than normal nutritive properties. Examples are chia seeds, sea vegetables, beets, and hemp seeds. Superfoods are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and various phytochemicals. Note – there are no meats considered to be a superfood.

The creator of Good Seed burgers studied at The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts years ago, so there’s a connection with my culinary school, which is cool.



Just kind my grandmother used to do, I like to use regular sandwich bread on my burgers (gluten free Udi’s or Rudi’s are my usual favorites). And just like my grandmother, I cut my burgers on the diagonal because presenting triangles is culinary alchemy – take an ordinary square and cut it into two triangles, and all of a sudden you’ve made something better than what you started with. Try it.

Below: Vegan mayo, thick juicy tomato, crisp toasted gluten free bread, avocado, and a Good Seed burger. Ahhh. And triangles, don’t forget the triangles.



Gluten Free Baking Lab

Fresh, gluten-free bread. Warm, moist, springy, textured bread. Without gluten.

Baker Jean Brooks, who took us through two days of traditional bread baking, came back for a third day to show the Natural Epicurean students her gluten-free techniques. Jean has spent four years perfecting her bread and making it into something that people with gluten sensitivities can truly enjoy.

It’s Not Just Business, It’s Personal

Jean shared with us that she recently tested positive for gluten sensitivity (we went to the same nutritionist – Dr. Glen Luepnitz – and took the same Enterolab test). Not only that, but she is devoting her career from this time forward to gluten-free bread. It sounds like she may be giving up working with traditional bread because she had to have her bakery deep cleaned so she could convert it 100% to gluten-free. Given the demand of GF products, I think she is making a great business move. (Check her out on Facebook.) Jean has several close family members who are gluten-free, as well.

Below: Jean Brooks shaping her base gluten free dough into a baguette shape.


Below: Working hard on shaping the dough into a bread mold. 😛


Below: Gluten free batter tends to be a bit on the sticky side, requiring spatulas to do the shaping.


A Word on Nutrition

Gluten free bread is pretty processed stuff, I’m just gonna say it outright. Finely milled grains. Lots of corn and tapioca starch. But Chef Jean wants ideas on bolstering the nutritive properties, so she had us send her our thoughts on how we could boost the nutritive elements. The way I look at it is that GF bread is a nice treat that reminds me of the “old days” when I ate regular bread and that kind of thing will always be in demand. Warm moist bread will always be in demand and it’s a sensory experience that is hard to get with any other food.

Below: Eating some quinoa-laced gluten-free bread Jean made. It was the best gluten free bread I’ve had, and it was warm and fresh. Ahh.


Below: Jean used Better Batter ( to make these fluffy biscuits. And Chef Rachel Zierzow used sesame oil and GF flour to make the gravy. Yum! 20120414-204026.jpg

Below: Jean recommends Pamela’s bread mix for gluten-free bread.


Below: My Good Seed burger on a rosemary-garlic roll.


Below: I really liked the Good Seed burgers. They don’t have all the crazy ingredients normal veggie burgers have  – no gluten, no soy isolates, etc. – and they taste great. And they’re made by Oliver Ponce, a former Natural Epicurean student.


Below: Our delicious work on display.


Below: Jean and her freshly made biscuits.



I’m Only Happy When It’s Grains

We dove back into grains on Wednesday, after having had our fill (literally and figuratively) of rice. Corn meal, polenta, amaranth, millet, and other grains were on the menu. All were whole grains, so we got the most protein, carbohydrates, fats, and fiber intrinsic within each grain.


Below: Chef Alex demonstrates cooking polenta.


Below: Lentil and bulgur wheat salad – sadly, this was one I couldn’t taste. Feta cheese on the side, so that vegans can try the dish without cheese.


Below: Bulgur wheat tabbouleh (pronounced ta-BOO-lee). Minty, garlicky, creamy – a new favorite (I eat mine with millet, which is gluten free).


Below: A video showing how the above presentation was executed.

Below: Quinoa salad with apricots and almonds. You can also use cranberries and pecans. Quinoa is amazingly flexible! I plated this dish – I especially love the celery across the top. 🙂


Below: Another successful lab. 🙂


Demo/Lecture Kitchen

Chef Rachel talked with us about intuition in the lecture portion of the day. She talked about using intuition in our cooking and in thinking about our wellness. She talked about ways to get more in touch with your intuitive nature. She also talked quite a bit about macrobiotics and ayurvedic principles. She said that we have an innate ability to maintain our own wellness, but we need to set up our lives to facilitate this awareness.

Below: Chef Rachel attempts a vulcan death grip on herself. 😛 Just kidding, she led us through a thoroughly relaxing impromptu Do-in self massage, a type of Shiatsu technique. So nice!