Drought-Friendly Recipes That Don’t Taste Like Dust

These drought-friendly recipes are amazing.

I could just sink my teeth into a few mouth-watering, drought-friendly recipes? Wait, what? Just exactly what makes a recipe drought-friendly anyway?

Basically, the rule is this: A drought-friendly meal must include ingredients that don’t require a lot of water to survive and thrive, and that can also be cooked with less water.

Now, you may be wondering, “who thought up this interesting concept?” Well, we’re sure many have come before them, but the duo’s story that caught our eye was Nathan Lyon and Sarah Forman. Lyon, a chef, and Forman, a culinary manager, wanted to be as sustainable as possible while concocting new dishes, so they took to the Water Footprint Network’s online tool and researched various water footprint studies. What did they create with their research, and was it good? Well, from where we’re sitting, the recipes Lyon and Forman made look amazing. We’ve listed two here to give you a taste of what they do.

Sparkling Rosé-White Sangría with Grand Marnier and Fresh Mint

Yield: 8 to 10 servings



First, combine the peach, nectarine, strawberries, plum, raspberries, mint, vanilla seeds and pod, and the Grand Mariner and Viognier in a large container. For best results, refrigerate the mixture for a few hours to allow the fruit to chill. When you’re ready to serve drinks, pour the mixture into a pitcher or punch bowl, and add the bottle of sparkling rosé.

Drought-Friendly Veggie Burgers

Yield: 13 burgers


Additional items needed


First: a boring chore… Place an oven rack on the upper position and preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. And now, it’s time for the ingredients! Add your onion, 2 tablespoons oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt to a medium (3½ quart) saucepan — place it over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 8 minutes — the onions will become translucent and will begin to brown. Next, stir in the garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and spread the onion mixture over a parchment-lined sheet tray to cool. Do not wash the saucepan.

Get out your food processor and pulse half the mushrooms until they are finely chopped (this should take approximately 30 quick pulses). Move your mushrooms to a medium mixing bowl and pulse the remaining mushrooms in the same way. Transfer remaining mushrooms to the medium mixing bowl. Do not wash the food processor, either.

Next, stir to combine the chopped mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread the mushrooms evenly over a parchment-lined sheet tray and transfer the sheet tray to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once after 15 minutes. Remove the sheet tray from the oven and evenly spread the mushrooms over the onions to cool to room temperature.

In the same medium (3½ quart) saucepan you used for the onion mixture, add the stock. Place over high heat and bring to a boil — add rice, black lentils, bulgur, black beans (with liquid), ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Stir, combine, and bring to a boil again. Next, cover it with a lid and reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes (scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent burning). Finally, remove the pot from the heat and drain excess liquid using a fine mesh strainer. Spread the strained rice mixture evenly over a parchment-lined sheet tray and cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, using a fork, stir to combine the cooked mushrooms and rice mixtures, panko, dried oregano, chipotle powder, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, fennel, and cumin. Season this mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Put half of the mixture into a food processor and pulse 15 times until the mixture is combined. Next, transfer the processed batch back into the large mixing bowl and stir everything together until well mixed.

Get out a ½ cup measuring cup and measure out ½ cup of mixture per burger. Shape the burgers with your hands into 4-inch (diameter) patties. Set each burger on a parchment-lined sheet tray and brush the top of each burger evenly with oil.

Heat a large, non-stick pan over medium heat for 3 minutes. Move the prepared burgers, oil side down, into the pan and cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. Brush the second side of the burgers with oil and flip each burger over — continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer the cooked burgers to a parchment-lined sheet tray and bake for 10 minutes, then flip the burgers and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes. After the burgers have finished baking, move the sheet tray from the oven and serve burgers on buns of your choosing with tomato slices, lettuce, pickled shallots, ketchup, and mustard. Enjoy!

For more of the chef’s drought-friendly recipes, visit his blog.

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Image of veggie burger from Shutterstock