Bean Burgers served with a rainbow salad….

Although we’re a family of meat eaters, we’re not averse to vegetarian food. Over the years, various family members have dabbled in vegetarianism and we’ve always been more than happy to join them and try new foods. We regularly have meat free days now. I first made bean burgers when we had a vegetarian visitor. They were a success then and still are, although I tend to vary the recipe each time I make them depending on the contents of the ‘fridge and the kitchen cupboards!

This recipe would be suitable for a vegan diet as well as vegetarian and, with a little care, is also suitable for a gluten free diet. The quantities I have given for the burgers would feed one hungry person or two for a light lunch or supper. If you’re feeding more people just increase all of the quantities accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of butter beans, drained (chick peas, kidney beans or mixed beans could be used instead – if all else fails you could rinse the tomato sauce from a tin of baked beans and use those!)
  • ¼ of a red onion, finely chopped
  • a handful of spinach, shredded
  • ½ a carrot, grated
  • ½ a courgette, grated
  • a small red pepper, finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of fresh coriander
  • a seasoning of salt and pepper
  • a grating of lemon rind
  • a tablespoon or two of ground almonds or breadcrumbs

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All of the above ingredients may be adapted according to what you have available. Feel free to substitute any of the vegetables with another if you wish. This is a great recipe for experimenting with. As long as you end up with a mixture that may be shaped into burgers, it doesn’t matter too much what’s in there.

Method:

  • in a large bowl, mash the beans
  • add all the other ingredients to the bowl and mix everything together well

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  • if the mixture feels a bit too moist, add some more ground almonds (or breadcrumbs)
  • divide the mixture into 4 or 6 roughly equal portions, depending on how large you want the burgers to be
  • dust your hands with flour (gluten free if required) and shape the mixture into burgers. Make sure that you press the mixture together firmly, otherwise the burgers will fall apart when you cook them.

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  • I prefer to fry the burgers, for about 5 minutes on each side, but you could grill them if you prefer. Whichever cooking method you use treat them gently as they have a tendency to break! However, they’ll still taste good!

Various accompaniments may be served with these burgers. These would be our favourites:

  • Couscous
  • hot tomato salsa
  • cucumber and yoghurt dip
  • salad

Rainbow Salad

I call this a Rainbow Salad because I try to incorporate as many different colours into it as possible. The more the better! These are the ingredients I used on this occasion:

Red: red onion, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, beetroot

Green:  raw broccoli florets, pea shoots, raw kale, spinach, fennel, cucumber, a handful of mixed salad leaves

Brown & Orange:  sweet orange pepper, an orange cut into segments, a handful of walnuts

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Just mix everything together in a large bowl then add a generous drizzle of olive oil and a handful of fresh basil leaves and a few mint leaves. Plunge your hands into the bowl and turn everything together so that the flavours are well mixed. I sometimes add a generous handful of sprouted seeds if they’re available.

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This salad is a great accompaniment to all sorts of dishes but I’m also happy to eat a large bowlful of it just on it’s own!

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