Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Lentil Beanburger recipe with Tomato Salsa

Lentil Beanburgers 
I'm enjoying getting into my cooking at the moment, especially experimenting with new recipes. My Plastic Free July pointer to Not Buy If I Can Bake has seen me create my own wholemeal bread rolls, chickpea tofu, cauliflower couscous and, now, Lentil Beanburgers! I'm soon going to blog about the tofu and couscous, both of which are a great success, but for today here are my first vegan burgers. They were surprisingly delicious!

I read lots of veggie burger recipes online over the past year. I've eaten different varieties in restaurants and even bought them to fry up at home, but was intimidated by the thought of making my own. In hindsight this was ridiculous! They're incredibly easy! My recipe is very much Using Up The Leftovers so some of the quantities are a bit odd. I think the mix will turn out to be adaptable though and I look forward to trying out variations in future.
Here is what I made today:

Using up the leftovers 
4 tbsp green lentils
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1/2 onion, fairly finely diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
2/3 tin black eyed peas
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 tin tomatoes
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp Kush Cuisine Cocoa Rub spice blend
Salt and black pepper to taste

I started by boiling the lentils in water for about half an hour until they were soft. I then drained them and put them into a large mixing bowl with the drained and rinsed blackeyed peas. I roughly mashed the beans and lentils with a potato masher.

While the lentils were cooking I fairly finely diced the onion and garlic. I put them into a covered small pan, with the oil, and cooked them over a fairly low heat until the onion was softened, stirring it occasionally.

While the onion cooked I blitzed four getting-stale wholemeal bread crusts in my new favourite toy which isn't actually new at all! Previously I would have grated the bread by hand, knuckles and all, but last week spotted a Mini Chopper in a charity shop for just £4. It's small so I had to blitz each bread slice separately. However that's still much faster and the machine is only 120w so economical on electricity. (If your local charity shops don't have any Mini Choppers, there are lots on Amazon here!)

When the onion was soft I added two-thirds of it to the bean-lentils and set that aside. I stirred the diced pepper into the remaining onion and set the pan back on the heat until the pepper softened.

Then I stirred the tomato and mixed herbs in with the peppers, turned the heat up a little, and cooked this salsa sauce until it was thick and glossy.

The beanburger mix 
Back with the bean-lentil-onions, I stirred in the breadcrumbs, salt and black pepper, and Cocoa spice blend. I'm using this Caribbean inspired mix a lot at the moment, but I think any spice blend would work here depending what you have available. A whole tsp did look a lot, but was needed for the flavour and I could probably have added another 1/2 tsp.

When the ingredients were well mixed it looked a bit like cooked burger mince! I then took handfuls at a time and moulded the mix into six small patties. Each one took a minute or so to come together because I had only roughly mashed the beans earlier. I wanted that texture, but could have mashed more or blended to get smoother patties.

Prepared veggie burger patties 
I let the prepped veggie burgers rest in the fridge for about half an hour. Then I shallow fried them in rapeseed oil over a medium-low heat for about five minutes each side, until they were piping hot all the way through. One burger did collapse as I turned it over, but the others stayed complete!

I served myself a generous three veggie burgers with the tomato salsa and new potatoes. The burgers were great with a good texture and a lightly spiced flavour that still allowed me to taste the beans and lentils. They were moist enough on their own, but particularly good with a dab of the tomato salsa. That did just need a shake of salt - I had forgotten how much tomatoes seem to absorb!

I don't think I would want to eat these burgers in a bun as there is already bread in their ingredients. Instead they would be good with varied salad side dishes or, in the case of the collapsed one, scattered as part of a veggie pizza topping.
What do you think?

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