The verdict is out: veggie burgers trump their meaty counterparts. It’s a sneaking suspicion that I’ve harboured for quite some time now, and I’ve finally put it to the test. For the carnivorous amongst us, a juicy beefburger is unlikely to be beaten by mere lentils; but if you prefer your burgers with more flavour, veggie is the way to go.
I made these beetroot and puy lentil burgers, from Delicious Magazine (well worth a gander for recipe ideas) with my twin brother, visiting for the weekend. He pronounced them to be better than the last McDonald’s burger he’d eaten (hardly a compliment), but also the best veggie burger he’d ever clapped eyes on / sunk teeth into. They’re a tad messy, but very much worth it: the beetroot and lentils create a burger which is lighter and much more nutritious then meat.
To make four burgers, you’ll need:
- 325g raw beetroot (I used ready-to-eat vacuum packed beetroot)
- 250g cooked puy lentils
- 2 garlic cloves
- a red chilli
- 5cm piece ginger
- a handful of fresh mint or coriander springs
- a medium egg
- 1/2 tbsp medium curry powder
- plain flour
- oil for frying
- wholemeal burger buns
- mature cheddar cheese, or feta cheese
- lettuce leaves
Leave the messy till last: begin by finely chopping the garlic, chilli, and ginger. Weigh out the lentils.
In a large plate or bowl, grate the beetroot, wrap a third in a clean J-cloth (not kitchen towel!) and squeeze out all of the liquid. Don’t squeeze too hard – the J-cloth will break. Repeat with the rest of the beetroot, until you’re left with a much-reduced, dry red pulp. I recommend doing this over the sink, to avoid transforming your kitchen surface into something resembling a murder scene.
In a large mixing bowl, add the curry powder, chilli, garlic, and herbs to the beetroot and lentils. Crack in an egg, and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix thoroughly, and shape into four burgers. You may need to add a little flour to bind the slightly sloppy mixture together. Dust with more flour.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Heat a generous few lugs of oil in a frying pan, and place the burgers inside to cook. Fry for around five minutes on each side, using a spatula to flip. Once browned, put the burgers on a baking tray and cook in the oven for another five minutes or so. Add the burger buns to the tray to toast up.
Build your burgers with grated cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, and mayo or chilli sauce. Serve with salad or crudités. I can safely guarantee that they’ll be one of the best veggie burgers you’ve eaten!