This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spicy Bean and Lentil Loaf/Patties

One of my many cousins recently decided to give being vegetarian a try. She had tried previously but it didn't stick. This time I suggested the weekday vegetarian diet. She did and she's doing rather well at it! She even says that when she gets to the weekend she doesn't feel like eating meat.

Vegetarian cooking can be a bit daunting at first. The reason I love vegan cooking so much is because it requires so much imagination (unlike, say, Heston Blumenthal rolling four meats together, sticking them in hot water (sorry, water bathing them) and acting like he just invented cooking itself*). However, sometimes this need of creativity can be exhausting. My cousin, however, seems to have dived right in and had a bunch of questions for me... some of which I couldn't answer.

One of the questions she asked me was how to make vegan burger patties. Ummm. Good question.

I had tried making patties once before and they turned out absolutely horrid. This time it was a complete accident. I was veganising a lentil loaf recipe out of Vegetarian again when I realised I couldn't fit all the ingredients in the food processor. So I split my batch up, put the first batch in the loaf pan, realised it was full, stuck it in the oven and pondered what to do with the rest of the ingredients. Then I remembered my cousin's request for a burger recipe.

Well, they turned out just great as both a loaf and a patty.

Spicy Bean and Lentil Loaf/Patties

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic, crushed
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
400g can kidney beans, drained
400g can green/brown lentils, drained
2 heaped teaspoons of ground flaxseed** + 4 tbsp water
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup vegan cheese, grated***
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp tomato sauce/ketchup
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp hot chilli powder
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion, garlic and celery for 5 mins on low-medium heat. Remove from heat and let cool. 

Whisk the flaxseed and water together until it is creamy. Put the flaxseed mixture, onion mixture and bean and lentils in a food processor/blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients.

The lentil loaf tastes great cold with salad or hot with vegies.
To make lentil loaf:
Preheat the oven to 180C, lightly grease a loaf tin, put mix in loaf tin and baked for 1 hour. My mix needed a bit longer but make sure you check it often if you leave it for over an hour.

Cooking the first side quickly then flipping ensures you can squash your patty down without it falling apart or getting stuck to the spatula.
 To make patties:

Heat some oil in a pan on medium heat. Spoon out a ball of mixture (it ball should be big enough to just put your hand around), roll it gently in your hands and place it in the pan. Leave it for a minute then flip the ball (this ensures you have one side that's cooked enough to be prodded without sticking). Flatten with a spatula making sure the spatula is clean so the mix doesn't stick to it. Turn the heat down to low. This is important because you want the heat to cook through the patty, which takes a while, without burning the outside. Leave for about 5 minutes and then flip again. Leave for another few minutes. Repeat for the other patties (you can cook more than on at once just make sure you turn the heat up before each batch so the first side cooks a little quicker than the second side).

Serve with some salad, hummus and chilli sauce on a bun.
* Okay, calling Heston Blumenthal unimaginative is a bit of a stretch but I'd respect his creativity a lot more if he challenged himself and didn't rely so heavily on meat.
** You can use egg replacer if you want but remember that flaxseed is full of omega 3!
*** I swear there is nothing that tastes as bad as vegan cheese but inside the loaf you can't taste it. If you don't have any lying around just leave it out.

1 comment:

  1. They sound great and healthy too. And, the comment about Heston really made me laugh!