On becoming a “grown-up” I’ve come to the opinion that one does not need to consume large quantities of meat every day and so for weeknight dinners I’ve been preparing a lighter vegetarian meal or one consisting mainly of vegetables with a small amount of lean meat. But as a kid it was a completely different story; I think I’ve mentioned before that if I was really, really good I used to be rewarded with steak. I also had big dreams of going to a Texas steak house and ordering a t-bone the size of my head, just like I’d seen in the movies. Having no problems with low iron stores and being totally filling-free must be the upshot of steak rewards over sugar-laden sweets.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love a thick, juicy, succulent piece of rare beef but I’m really enjoying my new life of meat-free (or meat-very little) weeknight dinners. It’s also a challenge proving to my meat-loving boyfriend that it’s just not necessary to eat the equivalent of a small animal for dinner every night, and I love a good challenge!
Here is a great vegetarian burger recipe but one that you don’t need to eat as a burger. These patties are just as good eaten on their own topped with a fresh green salad and a dollop of chutney or relish.
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 carrot, peeled and grated
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup breadcrumbs
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten
Small handful coriander or mint (or both), chopped
Salt and pepper to season
4 burger buns
8 slices tomato
4 slices cheese (I used Swiss)
4 lettuce leaves
4 tsp mayonnaise
4 tsp fruit chutney
1. Cook the quinoa as per manufacturer’s instructions and leave to cool.
2. With a fork or potato masher, roughly mash the beans and combine with the cooled quinoa.
3. Add carrot, spring onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, lemon, egg, coriander, salt and pepper and mix with a spoon to combine.
4. Refrigerate for at least an hour so the mixture firms-up and is easier to shape into patties.
5. Divide the mixture into patties and place on a plate, returning to the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.
6. To cook, heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry the patties for approximately 5-10 minutes on each side.
7. Grill the buns in the oven and once lightly toasted assemble each burger with a vegetarian pattie, 2 slices of tomato, a slice of cheese, a lettuce leaf, mayo and chutney.
8. Eat immediately.