As we were growing up in Malawi, we rarely used to have the western fast foods, i.e. burgers, chips, onion rings etc. Then when we moved over here to England, we tried a few of these fast food places, but were always sceptical because we never really knew what the ingredients were and how it was made. Being a vegetarian, who does not even eat eggs, sometimes the fast food places that serve vegetarian burgers leave us wondering is it really vegetarian?? I have enjoyed the Burger King spicy bean burgers in the past, and have also tried various brands of frozen vegetarian burgers at home. Each one has their own unique way of presenting the vegetables and other ingredients, and hence each one gives a different taste. So I tried to recreate them at home, and came up with my own version instead which is filled with lots of vegetables and herbs, packed full of flavour. After many attempts at trying out different quantities of ingredients and many a broken patties, due to not binding very well, I finally perfected the recipe to what I thought was good. At least I know what I am putting in and can adjust the taste to what we would enjoy, this way the doubt at the back of my mind is not there. For this recipe I am posting I actually had to measure all the ingredients as I normally just put everything together 🙂 I guess the ultimate compliment was when one of our niece’s friend tried them recently and was really amazed to know that I had made them at home as opposed to the ready made ones that you just pre-heat. It is at times like this that you know you have done well…
Vegetarian Bean Burgers
I normally use the basic vegetables that I would keep at home, however you can use what ever you wish to. In the past I have also added soya mince to the mix, which was good but I did not particularly like the taste, so I keep it out nowadays. I tend to chop the vegetables slightly chunky so as they have a bite to them but if you wish you can grate them. You can uses pickled beetroot or gherkin for the garnish.
Preparation time: 10 mins Cooking time: 20 mins Serves : 6 (makes about 10 to 12 patties)
12 burger buns wholemeal or white
2 tomatoes sliced
1 inch piece of cucumber sliced
1 onion sliced
3 to 4 leaves of iceberg lettuce torn into big pieces
12 cheese slices
some tomato ketchup & butter for spreading
For the burger patties
1 can kidney beans
1 large potato, boiled and mashed
1 medium carrot, finely chopped (or you can grate)
1 cup chopped capsicums (all the colours you have)
4 close cupped mushrooms chopped into cubes
2 tbsp each sweetcorn & peas ( I use frozen)
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp garam masala
3 tbsp dried mixed herbs (my blend is rosemary, thyme, oregano)
1 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1) There are 2 ways in which you can cook your potatoes,
- wash, pierce and place in a clear plastic bag. Loosely tie the bag and place in the microwave on high for 10 mins. Once cooked peel the skin and mash, or
- as per the traditional method, peel and chop the potatoes in large pieces and boil in hot water until cooked. Once cooked, drain and mash the potatoes.
2) Rinse and part mash the kidney beans and add to the mashed potatoes, now add all the other chopped vegetables, herbs and spices.
3) Mix well and then gradually add the bread crumbs to bind and give it a good texture. You may not need all of the bread crumbs but the consistency has to be one where you can create a shape and it holds rather then falling apart. Once you get the right consistency divide and make the patties into circles which will fit the burger buns, you can adjust the thickness to what you prefer, I like them to be a bit big so make them about 2 cm thick. Set aside and prepare all the garnish (slice the tomato, cucumber, onion and lettuce) for the burgers.
4) Heat a frying pan or griddle pan on medium heat, place about a tablespoon of oil and then place the prepared patties on to the pan cook for a few minutes until golden and then turn it over and do the same on the other side.
5) Cut the buns in half and butter one side, and spread the sauce on the other, assemble by placing a few of the lettuce leaves, burger patties, cheese slice, onion, tomato, and cucumber slices and then a few more lettuce leaves. You are ready to serve with some fries/chips or potato wedges.