We are having a bit of a healthy eating thing here in the Attic at the moment. Various reasons, one of which is directly related to the worrying tightness of my trousers, but also we are experimenting with the idea of eating a mainly vegetarian diet for the summer months. We have a very excellent butcher here in our town and still eat meat roughly once a week but there is something satisfyingly wholesome about tasty, home cooked vegetarian food.
Do you own a recipe file? I do. In my old house I had a drawer in the kitchen which was stuffed full of paper :: torn out pages from magazines, printouts from the computer/internet and scribbled down recipes passed to me by friends and family. But at some point (ten years ago maybe?) I decided to organise all those bits of paper into a file, and I am so, so, so glad that I did. That simple file has become one of my most treasured possessions. There is a mixture of printed recipes and hand written ones given to me by friends and family over the years (oh those are precious!), all the recipes I use most often, plus a fair few must-make-sometime recipes. Last week, I remembered a particular vegetarian recipe from the must-make-sometime category and searched it out to try. It was part of a page ripped out of a magazine and I ended up altering the ingredients slightly to make a very moist and tasty vegetarian burger. In fact it was such a success that I've made it again today, and thought you might like it too.
In the above picture are my beans :: a can of drained and rinsed borlotti beans. I don't think I've ever bought borlotti beans before, they are a type of kidney bean apparently. So...you need a small can (about 175g drained weight) of these beans which you need to squidge up, either the hard way (with a fork) or the easy way (in a mini food processor/chopper).
You also need to prepare about 70g of wholemeal breadcrumbs and a small handful of fresh parsley. I whizzed up a wholemeal bread roll with the fresh parsley in my mini chopper.
Put the mushed up beans and whizzed up breadcrumbs/parsley into a bowl along with 25g pinenuts and 4 scissor snipped sun-dried tomatoes (the sort that come in a jar of oil). Season well with salt and pepper.
In a frying pan, heat up one tablespoon of the sun-dried tomato oil from the jar and gently sauté a finely chopped red onion until soft (about 5 mins). Add in 1 crushed clove of garlic and 1 grated carrot and cook for another few mins.
Put your onion/garlic/carrot mixture in with your bean/breadcrumb mixture and mix together thoroughly. Once the onions have cooled slightly, I find it best to just dive in and use your hands...it's messy but gives the best results. Squish and squeeze it all together, using a resident child to help if you have one handy. Little B loved helping me in the kitchen this afternoon, he was curious about all the ingredients and thought his squishing job was pretty great.
This mixture makes four decent sized burgers, rolled into large balls and shaped into burgers in the palm of your hand.
I needed to make five slightly smaller burgers to feed my family, they worked out just right.
When you've made your burgers, you need to pop them on a plate or baking tray and get them in the fridge for an hour or two....they are pretty soft and squidgy at this stage and need some time to cool and firm up.
You can set your child labourer to work while you are waiting if you like, get them to clear up a bit and make themselves useful.
Once the burgers have been in the fridge for a bit, they are beautifully easy to cook. Just heat up a smidge of oil in a non stick frying pan and fry the burgers for about 3 mins each side until they turn golden and are hot right through. Tonight, I did something extra too....I added a thin slice of cheddar cheese to the top of each one then popped them under the grill for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Ooooo, that melty cheese was really a great finishing touch! You can then wap your hot melty burgers straight into a wholemeal burger bun/ciabatta roll with some salad and a dollop of tomato relish/ketchup.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmm....this is seriously good, healthy, delicious family fodder. Please do try it!
:: Ingredients list (makes 4 burgers) ::
small tin borlotti beans (175g drained weight)
70 g wholemeal breadcrumbs
small handful fresh parsley
25g pine nuts
4 finely chopped sun dried tomatoes (plus 1 tbs oil from the jar)
small red onion, finely chopped
1 crushed clove garlic
1 grated carrot
bread rolls/salad/cheese slices/tomato relish to serve