The best darn veggie burger I’ve ever eaten!
Basically, I am a carnivore and anything done on the BBQ (grill or braai) is, in my opinion, food of the gods. Lately, I’ve been trying to cut down on my beef intake – my age, budget and the environment are at the forefront in my mind. Did you know that the methane gas, produced by cows, traps more than 30 times more heat than carbon dioxide (released when fossil fuels are burned), making it a major greenhouse gas? But, Yom HaAtzmaut, in Israel, without a BBQ is like eating bread without butter – it just doesn’t work, but a vegetarian burger is a good alternative.
Lately, I have been making black bean and mushroom burgers and am really enjoying them. Spice them right and you have a tasty, satisfying, economical and healthy alternative to a beef burger.
Did you know that Israelis eat approximately 65kg of chicken per person/year – that’s the highest per capita in the OECD?
- I use canned black beans for the burger – a 400g tin. The important thing is to get rid of the brine and dry them out so that you get a granular rather than mushy paste. Rinse the beans, lay on a baking tray and bake at 180ºC until the beans have dried out a bit. Pulse in a food processor – don’t over pulse, you want a chunky and not smooth consistency.
- But, if you prefer you can soak black beans for 24 hours, cook them until they have softened, bake them, until they have dried out and then grind them in the food processor.
- Portobello mushrooms or brown mushrooms have a rich meaty flavour. Coarsely chop 3/4 of a cup and then fried lightly.
- One small chopped onion, fried lightly with one clove garlic, chopped
- Salt, pepper, grilled paprika and cumin to taste
- I like to add a dash of soya, teriyaki or Worcestershire sauce for added depth of flavour – one teaspoon should suffice. A little yeast extract (Marmite) is also a good flavour enhancer.
- One teaspoon of ketchup also adds depth to the flavour – optional
- If you are making a vegan burger you will need an egg replacement to bind – my vegan niece uses tahini paste. If eggs are not an issue, you need one medium egg, beaten, to bind.
- Bread crumbs as necessary.
- Oil for frying.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (except for the breadcrumbs). Don’t overmix, you want a chunky mixture. If you feel your mixture is too moist, add breadcrumbs.
- If you can’t live without beef, here is a rundown of Israel beef cuts
- The next holiday and food fest, is Shavuot – popular cheeses in Israel
- Traditional BBQ and Yom HaAtzmaut recipes
When frying things of this type (falafel and legumes also), I due a test first. I roll a little ball of the mixture and fry it in shallow oil. If the test mixture is too dry, then add a little more liquid (soya, teriyaki or ketchup) to bind. If the mixture is too wet, and does not hold it’s shape, then add breadcrumbs.
Shape the mixture into 4 patties (damp but not wet hands help to shape) and lightly fry, in a non-stick pan, until crisp and brown on the outside.
Nothing worse than eating a burger on a bun that falls apart, so grill or toast the bun before serving – it helps to hold everything together.
Serve with whatever takes your fancy; lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, gherkins, avocado, sprouts, fries on the side and condiments of your choice; ketchup, mayo, mustard, sweet chili etc.
I’ve never tried this recipe with cheese (cheese-burger style) or with a fried egg (egg-burger style) but I am sure, the recipe would work well with them.