Mouthwatering Inspiration Behind the New Generation of Veggie Burgers

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I’ve had more veggie burgers in my life than meat burgers. Having given up meat when I was eight, veggie burgers have been a way of life, especially in the warmer grilling months. And until I read Martin Nordin’s new book, Green Burgers (Hardie Grant Books, 2018) I thought I’d tried them all.

Nordin, a self-proclaimed veggie burger aficionado, has intentionally flipped my view on what a burger can be. Fried, pickled, roasted and grilled, he uses fresh herbs, some unlikely ingredients, including nut butters, fried zucchini, and Jerusalem artichokes to create concoctions that will refresh your take on the burger, and will likely inspire a few more gatherings this summer. Loaded with 31 burger recipes, plus several bun recipes and enough sides to make your mouth water, Green Burgers should be your spring and summer inspiration. And I’d dare to say, it will even inspire the most devout of meat-eaters.

Here are two of my favorites from his new book, plus sides to share! Recipes excerpted with permission from Green Burgers by Martin Nordin, published by Hardie Grant Books February 2018, RRP $22.99 hardcover.

BUTTER-ROASTED CAULIFLOWER BURGER WITH GOAT’S CHEESE CREAM, LEMON OIL AND PINK PEPPER.

For 6 burgers:

3 small cauliflower heads (the diameter must correspond to the size of the bun)

2/3 cup butter at room temperature

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Lemon oil:

shaved peel of 1/2 lemon

scant 1/2 cup olive oil

 

Goat’s cheese cream:

7 oz creamy Norwegian goat’s cheese (preferably truffle-flavored) or feta

7 oz crème fraîche

sea salt

 

To serve:

6 burger buns

butter for the buns

1 tbsp coarsely crushed pink peppercorns

watercress

zest of 1/2 lemon

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

2. For the lemon oil, heat the lemon peel and olive oil in a small saucepan. Remove the saucepan from the stove when it starts to simmer and leave for about 10 minutes so the oil takes on the flavor of the lemon, then remove the lemon peel and put the oil to one side.

3. Trim the heads of cauliflower and rub in plenty of butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer them to an ovenproof dish and bake for 10 minutes in the middle of the oven. Then reduce the heat to 300ºF and bake for a further 30–40 minutes, until the cauliflower has taken on a golden color and starts to soften. The florets should give if you press them gently, but they must not go too soft, otherwise the cauliflower won’t hold together when you cut it up.

4. Put the goat’s cheese into a bowl and mash it with a fork. Add the crème fraîche and stir to make a smooth cream. Add salt to taste.

5. Butter the buns on the cut surface and fry them quickly in a frying pan (skillet) or grill (broil) them in the oven.

6. Cut the cauliflower into 1/2 in-thick slices and place two slices on each bun. Spread on a little of the goat’s cheese cream, sprinkle over some crushed pink pepper and add a little watercress. Drizzle lemon oil over it and finish by topping with a little lemon zest.

 

BLACK BEAN BURGER WITH BABA GHANOUSH, GRILLED SPRING ONIONS AND ROASTED PINE NUTS

For 6 Burgers

2 ½ cups cooked black beans

rapeseed or peanut oil for frying

scant ½ cup finely chopped onion

1 tsp mild chili powder, e.g. piment d’Espelette

1 tsp smoked paprika powder

3 tbsp BBQ sauce

scant ½ cup Dry-Roasted Walnuts (see recipe below)

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

scant ½ cup boiled black rice

scant ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

sea salt

 

To serve:

6 burger buns

butter for the buns

Charcoal-Roasted Baba Ghanoush (see recipe below)

Grilled and Steamed Spring Onions (see recipe below)

toasted pine nuts

fresh parsley

zest of 1 lemon

 

Instructions:

1. Rinse the beans in cold water and drain in a colander.

2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan (skillet) and fry the onions over a fairly high heat until they have developed some color and are on the verge of burning.

3. Reduce the heat, add the chili and paprika powders and stir. Stir in the BBQ sauce and remove the frying pan from the heat.

4. Roast the walnuts as described in recipe below.

5. Chop the walnuts and put them in a bowl together with the beans, coriander, rice, panko breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt. Mix the ingredients together with a potato masher (the beans should only be lightly mashed). Add the onion mixture and stir so that everything is well combined.

6. Take a handful of mixture at a time and shape into 6 round patties, either by hand or using a food ring (see note*). Put the patties on a large plate and cover with plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably longer, so that they will hold together better when you fry them.

7. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

8. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Fry both sides of the patties over medium heat for a few minutes. Transfer the patties to an ovenproof dish and bake them in the oven for 5–10 minutes.

9. Butter the buns on the cut surface and fry them quickly in a frying pan or grill (broil) them in the oven.

10. Place a patty on the bottom of each bun. Add a generous dollop of baba ghanoush, follow with some grilled spring onions and top with toasted pine nuts, parsley sprigs and lemon zest.

*Note: Food Ring: A food ring is unbeatable for shaping perfect bean patties, and it also helps hold together patties that would otherwise easily spread over the frying pan (skillet). Buy food rings in different sizes so you can adjust the patty size to the bun size.

 

Dry-Roasted Walnuts

Makes about 4 cups

1 lb 2 oz walnuts without shells

2 tsp mild chili powder, e.g. piment d’Espelette

sea salt

Instructions:

1. Heat a dry frying pan (skillet), ideally a cast-iron one. Toast the nuts over a medium heat until they start to take on a little color, for about 2 minutes. Shake the pan now and then so the nuts do not get too burnt, but don’t worry if they burn slightly – it creates a good flavor.

2. Take the pan off the heat and season with chili and salt.

 

Grilled and Steamed Spring Onions

Enough for 6 burgers

scant ½ cup olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 spring onions (scallions)

 

Instructions:

1. Pour the oil into a ziplock bag big enough to accommodate the spring onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the bag next to the barbecue so it is close at hand.

2. Light the barbecue. Lay the spring onions on the grid while the charcoal is still actively flaming. Cook the onions all over so the surface gets a little burnt.

3. Using tongs, transfer the spring onions to the ziplock bag. Seal the bag and shake it so the oil covers all the onions. Leave them in the bag for about 20 minutes so they steam.

 

Charcoal Roasted Baba Ghanoush

Makes about 4 cups

3 medium eggplants

3 garlic cloves

zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

scant ½ cup olive oil + a little extra to serve

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp mild chili powder, e.g. piment d’Espelette

 

Instructions:

1. Light the barbecue.

2. Prick a few holes in the eggplants with a toothpick, then put them straight onto the glowing charcoal. You can also do this when the charcoal is actively flaming. Make sure you use charcoal that has not been chemically treated. Cook the eggplants until the skins are completely charred and they are soft inside. This takes about 15 minutes. Put on the garlic cloves (with skins) for the final 5–10 minutes and roast until they are also soft inside.

3. Let the garlic and eggplant cool a little, so you can handle them, then cut them in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh with a spoon (try to get as much of the flesh out as possible). Split the garlic cloves and scoop out the insides.

4. Put the garlic and the eggplant flesh into a large bowl. Pour in the lemon juice and a little of the oil, then beat with a whisk. Pour in the rest of the oil a little at a time, stirring vigorously. If you want a firmer consistency you can use less oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Put the eggplant mix into a bowl. Dust it with the chili powder, sprinkle over the lemon zest and drizzle a little olive oil on top. Serve as an accompaniment on the side or spread the mix straight onto the burger. You can also use it as part of the actual patty (see the Baba Ghanoush Burger found in the book), but if doing so remember to use less oil, otherwise the patty will be not be firm enough.

Notes:

Try to get out as much as possible of the brown eggplant flesh right next to the charred skin. That is where the tasty, smoky flavor of the charcoal-grilled eggplant comes from.

 

Fennel, Carrot and Savoy Cabbage Slaw

Serves 10

2–3 carrots

1 lb 2 oz savoy cabbage

10 ½ oz fennel

zest of 1 lemon + 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh lovage or parsley

1 tbsp Pickled Mustard Seeds (see recipe below)

lemon segments to serve

 

Coleslaw dressing:

2 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp dill seeds

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

generous ¾ cup mayonnaise

2–3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

½ tsp sea salt

 

Instructions:

1. For the coleslaw dressing, roast the fennel seeds, dill seeds and whole black peppercorns in a dry cast-iron pan over a medium heat until the seeds are golden brown. Pound the spices in a mortar or grind them to a fine powder in a spice mixer.

2. Put the spice mix in a bowl and pour in the rest of the ingredients for the coleslaw dressing. Whisk until fluffy.

3. Peel the carrots and trim the cabbage and fennel. Thinly slice the carrots, savoy cabbage and fennel, ideally using a mandoline. Transfer them to a bowl and pour the lemon juice over them. Knead well with your hands.

4. Stir in the dressing and top with the lemon zest, lovage or parsley and the pickled mustard seeds. Serve with the lemon segments.

 

Pickled Mustard Seeds

Makes about 1 cup

4 tbsp mustard seeds – ideally a mix of yellow and brown

¼ cup pickling vinegar

scant ½ cup cane sugar

2/3 cup water

Instructions:

1. Bring the mustard seeds to a boil in a pan of lightly salted water. Reduce the heat and simmer until the seeds are completely soft – this will take 40 minutes–1 hour. Discard the liquid, reserving the mustard seeds.

2. Bring the vinegar, sugar, water and mustard seeds to a boil. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool.

3. Transfer everything to a sterilized jar and store the pickled seeds in the fridge.

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Melissa, Editorial Director

Melissa, Editorial Director

Melissa B. Williams is a freelance writer and editor based in Louisville, Colorado. She previously served as the Editorial Director for Healing Lifestyles & Spas for 10 years and remains a frequent contributor.

With her love of health and writing, Melissa has written for such publications as Shape, Natural Solutions, Yoga Journal, Self and Pilates Style, and has created recipes and food-oriented stories for such publications as Delicious Living and Cooking Light.
Melissa, Editorial Director

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