Veggie Burgers

This recipe has been the toughest recipe yet to convert to household measures: we make batches of 160 at a time in the café and then freeze them down, defrosting what we need each day. Finally we have mastered this recipe to make 12, and they taste exactly the same as the ones on our menu. I hope you enjoy!

  • If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop the vegetables and then use a pestle and mortar to get a smoothish paste.
  • You could use tinned or frozen corn kernels, but I really love the crunch of the raw corn straight from the cob.
  • To test the seasoning, we make a very small burger first, cook it and taste it. The raw mixture should be very well-seasoned.
  • These burgers are really handy to have in the freezer: they take two hours to defrost, so they are great as an emergency back-up meal when you’re short for time. Wrap individually in clingfilm before you freeze them.

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Ingredients

  • 100 g black beans (or 180g cooked weight)
  • 100 g red lentils
  • 150 g puy lentils
  • 100 g brown rice
  • 2 veggie stock cubes
  • 700 ml water
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 chilli, roughly chopped
  • 80 g coriander, stalks and all
  • 35 g ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion peeled, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 white onion peeled, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • ½ sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • 1 raw beetroot, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon ground fenugreek
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons mixed herbs
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 corn on cobs, kernels sliced off (or 175g tinned corn)
  • 40 g basil, stalks removed, leaves chopped
  • juice and zest of 3 limes
  • 400 g oats
  • 300 ml vegetable oil for shallow frying

Method

Put your black beans in a pan with plenty of water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Cook over a rolling simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes until they’re tender – you may need to top up the water as they cook as they’re quite thirsty. Drain and rinse with cold water until the water stops running black.

Put your red lentils in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with the puy lentils, brown rice and vegetable stock cubes. Pour over 700ml water and bring to the boil. Cook over a medium heat, stirring, until the lentils and rice are three-quarters cooked and most of the water is absorbed. While they’re cooking, place your garlic, chilli, half the fresh coriander, the ginger and a tablespoon of the olive oil into a food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste.

Put the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Throw in your onions and lightly sauté until they are soft and translucent, then add the garlic chilli paste and cook for another five minutes. Add your grated carrot, sweet potato and beetroot into the pot with the lentils and rice, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for another five to ten minutes, stirring, until the veg have softened. Stir in the fried onions and the drained black beans, then add the ground fenugreek, paprika, coriander, turmeric, mixed herbs, sugar, salt and black pepper. Cook (still on a medium-low heat) for another five minutes, then tip the whole lot into a large bowl.

Add the sweet-corn kernels, basil, lime juice and zest and the leaves of the remaining coriander. Mix through until everything is fully incorporated. Add the oats and keep mixing until you have a thick burger mix. Split it into 12 even pieces, then mould and squeeze each one between your hands to make burger shapes. You can now either cook them, or individually wrap them in clingfilm for freezing.

To cook, put the vegetable oil into a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Test to see if the oil is hot enough by breaking a wee piece of a burger off and dropping it in the oil – if it bubbles, it is ready to cook with. Slide the burgers into the pan (carefully, to avoid hot oil splashes) and cook for four to five minutes on each side until golden brown and hot through. If you don’t fancy frying them you could just bake them in an oven preheated to 190°C (170° fan) for 12 to 15 minutes. We serve the burgers with sour cream, salad and a fresh tomato salsa.

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