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.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beetroot Burgers

I mentioned a little while ago that my cousin had asked me to find the ultimate vegan burger recipe. I liked the Spicy Bean and Lentil Patties but thought I'd also try some other recipes. Of course my first point of reference was FatFree Vegan Kitchen and found the Roasted Beet-Tofu Burgers. However, I found the patties to be very sloppy and messy to eat. Although they look okay (see photo below) I thought the tofu in the patty made it far too soft and because you don't cook it separately it was a little bland.

After this attempt I decided to change things a little. I've been trying to move away from using too much tofu to using more beans. I've been buying lots of beans/chickpeas etc in dry form and soaking and cooking them myself. It is more effort but drastically reduces waste and energy use. The two ingredients you can prepare yourself to "save the world" I've listed under Advanced Preparation ingredients. However, I know not everyone has the time to be super green all of the time so there are alternative ingredients for the beets and chickpeas below the recipe and you won't need to do any of the advanced preparation steps.

 Beetroot Burgers

Advanced preparation ingredients:
3/4 cup dried chickpeas*
2 large fresh beets**
On the day of cooking ingredients:
1 tbsp ground flaxseed*** + 4 tbsp water
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 cup fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
1 tsp cumin, curry powder, hot chili powder
salt and pepper

Advanced preparation methods:

Soak the chickpeas overnight & cook according to packet. This will need to be done in advance.

Preheat oven to 180C. Trim the tops and roots off the beets but don't peel. Wrap each in foil and bake for an hour. Let the beets cool. Like the chickpeas this can be done in advance.

On the day of cooking methods: 

When you are ready to make the burgers peel the beets and chop roughly and set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion for a few minutes and then add the garlic and fry for another minute or so. Set aside to cool a little.

Put the cooked chickpeas and flaxseed + water in a food processor and blend until it looks a little like chunky bread crumbs. Add the onion, garlic and beetroot and blend a little more (if you aren't careful you'll end up with big chunks of beetroot like I did). Transfer to large bowl.

Add the breadcrumbs and spices and mix. You should have something that sticks together quite well but is squishy enough to be shaped easily in the palm.

Grab small handfuls to roll into small balls. Then you can cook them according to either method below.

Cooking Method 1:

Heat a frying pan to medium heat with some oil (spray or liquid). Place the ball into the pan and flatten very gently with a spatula. Cook about 5-8 minutes on each side watching that they don't burn. If your patty isn't flat enough you are better to let it cook on the first side and then flatten it further on the second side.

Cooking Method 2 (fat free):

Spoon balls onto a lined baking tray and flatten gently with palm. Cook for about 40-60 minutes. If you want you can check after 30 minutes and flip the burgers.

If you don't flip the burgers in the oven the downside will be
a little paler and less crispy but no less tasty.

* Alternatively, just use a 400g can of cooked chickpeas and ignore my chickpea cooking instructions.
** Alternatively, you can buy precooked beets in a tin or from the fresh food section of your supermarket. If you do this you'll need about 4 and you'll just need to roughly chop them and ignore the beet cooking instructions.
*** I'm sure some other egg replacer would work but I would recommend flaxseed for the Omega-3 and the creamy taste.

I'm not sure what is called beets where and what is called beetroots
elsewhere but you are basically looking for something that looks like this.