The other night I was debating over what to cook for dinner and I realised that I was really in the mood for a good quality beefburger. When I inspected the contents of the fridge I was pleased to find that I had some grated parmesan left over from a pasta dish I’d made a couple of nights before, so I decided to make Italian beefburgers with rosemary fries on the side.
This is my final guest post for Jen, the doula from Your Birth Scotland, so I decided that I’d make it a recipe that was family friendly for mums who have their hands full and need a relatively quick, but nutritious dinner to serve their families. I figured everyone enjoys a good burger, so why not make it one that would be a great healthy option for both expectant mums and mums with families already?
Beans are incredibly healthy because they are a nutritionally dense protein that is full of soluble fibre (which lowers cholesterol and regulates blood sugar levels, ensuring you have a slow and steady release of energy) and also insoluble fibre (the kind that prevents constipation and, shall we say, ‘keeps you regular’). Beans also contain folate, a B vitamin which prevents anemia and keeps our blood cells healthy, and magnesium, a key mineral required for our metabolism. Therefore, after reading about how nutritionally important beans are to our overall health I figured they’d be brilliant to make a good burger with.
One of my favourite things to eat is a burger. I don’t know what it is about burgers that pleases me so much. It could be the tactile nature of sandwiching something seriously tasty between the two halves of a soft, fresh bun or it could also be the epic range of toppings that you can adorn your chosen burger with. These toppings include things such as cheese, a minefield of options in itself when you are faced with the choice of a cheese slice, a handful of grated cheddar or mozzarella, or a melting coating of blue cheese.
You’ve then got the question of salad. Do you go for sliced tomatoes, crispy iceberg lettuce or a leaf or two of little gem, or fresh cucumber slices? There are other potential additions to your burger to consider too, such as whether to top it with jalapeños or gherkins. That’s before you even start looking at sauces! Or do you dare to go for all of the above, risking the entire structural integrity of your whole burger operation in the pursuit of the perfect bite? It’s evident that burgers are truly a risky, yet rewarding, business.
As much as I enjoy a beefburger I also very much like a good bean burger. (I should probably mention at this point that I’m not vegan, I just enjoy eating vegan food quite a lot and I’m allergic to dairy so it makes sense to make vegan food because it doesn’t contain dairy.) I like making bean burgers in particular because they’re really easy to make in the food processor, enabling me to knock up a quick dinner in no time at all. There’s also a wide range of flavoured bean burgers you can make, meaning I never get tired of them.
I decided to make these Broccoli and Butter Bean BBQ Burgers because I had some broccoli in the fridge and wanted to try it in a burger. The experiment worked quite well and I’m pleased to say that they are delicious. The broccoli adds a nice texture and the butter beans are bland enough that they don’t overpower the taste of the broccoli, but they absorb the BBQ flavours really well. It’s cornmeal (polenta) coating helps hold the bean burger together, but crisps up nicely in the oven, adding a nice crunchy bite to the broccoli and butter bean BBQ burgers. As a result you have a bean burger that has a great soft texture inside with a lovely crunchy outside.
Serve your broccoli and butter bean BBQ burgers in a fresh bun with a selection of toppings, such as coleslaw or hummus (I used Deliciously Ella’s Sundried Tomato Hummus), grated cheddar/vegan cheese slice, tomato, lettuce, gherkins, jalapeños, vegan mayo or BBQ sauce with french fries on the side.
Ingredients for the Broccoli and Butter Bean BBQ Burgers:
200g raw whole broccoli
200g of tinned butter beans (drained and rinsed well)
1 egg (or a vegan egg made of 1 tbsp. of chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsps. of cold water and soaked for half an hour)
1 tbsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper
1 tsp asafoetida powder
2 tsps. smoked paprika
The juice of 1 lime
50g cornmeal (polenta)
To Make a Quick Coleslaw Blend These Ingredients in a Food Processor:
To Make the Broccoli and Butter Bean BBQ Burgers:
If you’re not using a normal egg, prepare the chia egg by mixing 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 3 tbsps. of cold water and leaving them to soak for half an hour.
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.
Cut the broccoli into small florets and steam in the microwave until tender.
Place all of your ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it’s combined together. Empty onto a plate.
Sprinkle your cornmeal onto another plate and lay out a piece of greaseproof paper beside it, so you have a production line in place.
Take some of the bean burger mixture and form a burger patty with it before coating it in the cornmeal. Continue making burgers until all the mixture is used up.
Place your burgers on the sheet of greaseproof paper and bake in the oven until they are golden brown.
Serve in buns with whatever toppings take your fancy.
It would not surprise me if the people who read my blog harboured the impression that I am a vegetarian because of the amount of veggie dishes I cook and write about, but the truth is, I really enjoy good meat. When I say ‘good meat’ I mean meat that’s of a high quality and not really processed.
The other day I fancied making a really good burger and although ordinarily I’d use beef mince, I had a pack of pork mince in the freezer so I figured I’d have a bash at making pork burgers with crispy potatoes on the side. I have to say, as much as I enjoy a beefburger, I could be a convert! The pork burger kept its moisture during the cooking process much better than a beefburger normally does and it took on the flavours of the seasonings I added to it very well.
The pork burgers were incredibly easy to make and the flavour possibilities you could make with them are endless (sage and chive, smoked paprika and red pepper, and ground cumin and fresh coriander leaf are a few which spring to mind). I served mine in a soft gluten-free bun with some crispy potatoes on the side. Give this a try and see if you convert too.
500g pork mince
1 tsp asafoetida powder
1 ½ tsps. paprika
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
4-6 soft burger buns
4-6 large potatoes
2 tbsps. of vegetable oil
Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4.
In a large bowl mix the asafoetida powder, paprika, salt and pepper into your pork mince.
Form 4-6 patties with the mince by hand (depending on how big you want your burgers to be) or you could use a burger press to form the patties, and place them on a baking tray. If you find your mixture is too dry to pack together then feel free to add 1 egg into it to help bind the mixture.
Cut your potatoes into cubes or wedges, place on a baking tray, coat in the oil and sprinkle with salt. You could add 1 tsp of smoked paprika to your wedges too if you’d like them to have a smokey taste.
Put both baking trays in the oven and bake until your pork burgers are fully cooked in the middle and your potatoes are soft when speared with a fork.
Put the burgers in their buns and build your burger, adding cheese, lettuce, tomato, jalapeños, mayo, ketchup etc. as desired.
Serve with the crispy potatoes and get stuck in!
On the whole, I’m quite happy on a low-meat diet because it’s better for both my body and the environment, but occasionally my body screams out for meat and it’s a call I must answer. This leads me to last night’s culinary delight – the ultimate smokey burger.
One of my bookshop colleagues is a vegan and over the past few weeks I’ve been enjoying discussing my Happy Pear recipe exploits with her and learning more about the tricks vegans and vegetarians can use to enhance their food. One such delight is the marvel that is Colgin’s Liquid Smoke. It’s a hickory-based sauce that you can add to any dish that you’d like to enhance with a BBQ flavour. Initially I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t just use smoked paprika, but it turns out that the benefit of using the liquid smoke is that it simply adds a BBQ smokey taste to the food instead of the sweet roasted pepper tone that the paprika brings.
My colleague generously brought into work a bottle of Colgin’s for me yesterday and I was dying to try it. Thankfully it coincided with my meat craving, although you could easily use it to add smokiness to vegetables, particularly bland ones such as courgettes and aubergines.
So last night, after deciding what to have for dinner, I went to Marks and Spencer’s, purchased some good burgers and gluten-free buns, and set off into a BBQ seasoned sunset with the ultimate smokey burger.
A good quality beefburger (I used one from Marks and Spencer)
A soft gluten-free bun cut in half
3 to 4 drops of Colgin’s Liquid Smoke
1 generous slice of mozzarella (I used Violife dairy-free)
A couple of rashers of back bacon
2 cherry tomatoes (sliced)
Mayonnaise and ketchup to taste
Sprinkle 3 to 4 drops of liquid smoke onto your burger (you could add more if you’re feeling brave, but I was conservative because I wasn’t sure how strong it would be).
Cook the burger in the oven, in a frying pan, or on a BBQ.
A few minutes before the burger’s done cook your bacon rashers.
Place your mozzarella slice on top of the burger and put it back in the oven until the cheese has melted.
Once everything’s almost cooked pop your bun in a toaster (or on the BBQ) to toast for 30 seconds or so, just to warm it through and gently toast it.
Place the bottom of the toasted bun on a plate and add ketchup if you’d like.
Put your burger on top and start to add your choice of toppings. I used cherry tomatoes, lettuce, jalapenos and bacon.
Put mayonnaise on the top part of the burger bun (and any other sauces you’d like).
Join the ultimate smokey burger together and enjoy!
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