Wednesday 16 March 2011

Vegetable Burger

Burgers don't have to contain meat!  In fact there are any number of vegetable-based alternatives to buy these days but it's also quick and easy to make your own.  They're far cheaper, much healthier for you and you can vary the flavour and ingredients to suit your own taste.

This is the recipe I use most often because, apart from the fact that we love them, in the summer when I'm picking courgettes in the garden daily, this is a handy way of using them up!   As well as being full of fresh vegetables, the burgers contain tinned chick peas and are gently spiced with cumin and coriander. 

I usually serve the burgers with a simple tomato sauce (made with an onion, garlic, basil and a tin of tomatoes),  with rice or potatoes and a side vegetable such as leeks and peas. 

Of course, they also go down well in a burger bun! 

Ingredients                        Makes about 10 burgers

1 medium onion
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
2 tsp ground coriander
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 medium courgettes
225g carrots
85g wholemeal bread
400g can chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp fresh parsley or coriander
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

In a large frying pan or saute pan, fry the chopped onion in the olive oil for about five minutes until soft.  Pound the cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar and add to the pan with the ground coriander.  Stir fry over a medium heat for a few minutes.

Finely dice the courgettes and grate the carrot on a coarse grater. 

Add them to the pan with the crushed garlic and fry for about five minutes over a medium heat stirring often. If the mixture looks dry, just add a drizzle more olive oil. Once the vegetables are starting to soften, remove from the heat and leave for a few minutes to cool down.

Meanwhile, in a food processor,  blend the bread into breadcrumbs.   Place them in a large bowl with the peanut butter.   Next,  blend the parsley (or chop by hand) and add to the bowl.   Finally blend the drained chick peas until smooth.

Add them to the bowl together with the cooked vegetables.  Season with freshly ground salt and pepper and mix well.  
Then leave the mixture to cool down completely.

The mixture usually makes about 10 medium sized burgers.   You can either shape them by hand or spoon into rings or large pastry cutters.  I do this on some lining paper saved from a cereal packet to stop them sticking.

Cover and chill for a few hours.    I usually freeze some of the burgers at this point by laying them out on some lining paper on a tray in the freezer.  Once frozen, I transfer them to a large bag.

When required,  fry on both sides in a little olive oil.  


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