Monday, June 17, 2019

Kosherfest is a mecca of various types of new kosher food products, from chocolates to gourmet cheese to beef jerky. Tucked away in a corner room at Kosherfest was a gem, a vegan burger mix by Apura Farms. These burgers are grain-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, sprouted, soy-free, allergen-friendly burgers, also high in both protein and fiber. The burgers are made from organic sprouted mung bean flour. And the preparation, which was on display at the show, was so simple.

Apura Farms is the creation of former Teaneck resident Susan Mussaffi. When Susan first met her husband, Ovadia, z”l, she developed a passion for cooking. She took cooking classes to further hone her skills, sometimes while traveling in other countries. Susan’s background is originally in finance. However, when Ovadia passed away, she decided to focus on something she was passionate about: cooking.

After getting remarried, Susan moved to Florida. While suffering through arthritis and menopause symptoms, Susan decided to try plant-based living through a vegan diet. Said Susan, “My arthritis stiffness was gone, and I had not had a hot flash in years.”

She decided to open a vegan restaurant to help make this lifestyle more accessible to others in her community. It was through the new menu items she created for her restaurant that her vegan burger mixes were born. “I am passionate about what I have learned, and want to share the information with the world.”

The name Apura comes from the Greek word for “unfired.” Susan’s mission is “ancient healing for a modern way of living.” She dreams of one day visiting third-world countries and showing others how to make her vegan burgers to feed many at minimal cost. All it takes is “a heat source, plus water, plus Apura Farms.”

The burgers come in three varieties, Eazy Beanzy, Good Day Chardonnay and Hello Merlot. The latter two are made with wine flour, to get the benefits of wine, which is good for heart health, without the alcohol. The burgers are shelf stable and cook in just seven minutes, all with easy-to-follow instructions printed on the back of the package. Simply add equal parts water and burger mix, form patties in a heated pan and cook 3-4 minutes on each side. To turn the patties into ground beef, simply cook and then crumble the patties using a potato masher. To enhance the burgers, you can also mix in sautéed onions.

In early 2019, Apura Farms vegan burgers will be available in Whole Foods in South Florida, with hopes of expanding to other regions. Susan has plans to create many new vegan products. She intends to bring to the market waffles, crepes, pizza crust, coating crumbs, cookies, quiche cupcakes and many more items. Her intention is to share with the world her love of a vegan lifestyle.

By Stephanie Greenspan, MS, RD

Stephanie Greenspan, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian practicing in Bergen County, with a background in weight loss, endocrine disorders and bariatric surgery. She can be reached at [email protected]