I think I might have just eaten the best Vegie Burger I can remember tasting. Fresh, flavourful, satisfying. I know calling anything “the best” sets expectations high, and maybe I shouldn’t go there. But I can’t remember even seeing a vegie burger that is also low FODMAP. So, I am pleased with my Vegie Burger and I hope you enjoy it too.
This all came about when I was handed the job of coordinating the catering for my Flynn’s year-6 graduation. Our school likes to put on a special night of celebration for our finishing students and their teachers who have nurtured them over the last 7 years. The graduation takes place over dinner time, but I have heard the kids don’t tend to eat much; all the excitement I guess. So I set out to plan a menu that offered a decent meal but wouldn’t result in too much waste, and had to be fun too!
With my small budget, 30 minute meal time, and dietary considerations (vegetarian, gluten free, low FODMAP etc) in mind, I have chosen to serve sliders and fries, with an ice cream dessert bar. Surely we can’t go wrong with that! My butcher is kindly making 50 beef and 50 chicken patties without gluten, onion or garlic, to cook on the barbeque. The Vegie Burgers, however, have been up to me.
I had a look at a few recipes to start, but as you can imagine most had onion, chickpeas, lentils, beans or soy in them, all ingredients I needed to avoid. I have been playing around with ways to replace chickpeas in dips, and have found that baked parsnip and zucchini blended with soaked almonds works well. I combined this chickpea substitute with protein-rich quinoa and sautéed carrot, pumpkin and spinach to make the burger mix. With some herbs, spice, quinoa flour and egg to bind, the burgers took shape.
I have a handy Tupperware burger press which makes shaping simple. I let the burger sit in the fridge overnight, and this allowed the quinoa flour to absorb some moisture and bind the mixture. Today I pan-fried the first Vegie Burger in a little olive oil until the outside was golden and crispy. With my favourite spelt bread, baby spinach, tomato, cheddar and a little basil aioli I had in the fridge, I was ready to taste test. YU-UM
I used a tri-coloured mix of quinoa for the visual interest. I cooked 1 cup of well-rinsed quinoa using the absorption method as per the package directions. After measuring out the amount I needed for the burgers, I put the leftover cooked quinoa in the freezer for another time.
50g blanched almonds
1 parsnip (150g), peeled
60g zucchini, peeled if you like
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2/3 cup (120g) cooked quinoa
1 medium carrot, grated
80g Jap pumpkin, grated
1 cup (40g) baby spinach, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon dried chives (you could use fresh)
salt to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon quinoa flour, plus extra for dusting
Place almonds in a cup or bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes, or soak in cold water overnight.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a tray with baking paper. Chop the parsnip and zucchini into 2cm pieces and toss with the cumin and olive oil on the prepared tray. Cook in the oven 20-25 minutes until tender. Cool.
Drain almonds and blend with the parsnip and zucchini in a food processor until finely chopped, adding a few teaspoons of water to help; it should be a crumbly-to-thick paste still with some texture.
Heat garlic oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add carrot and pumpkin and cook gently without browning for 5-10 minutes, or until tender. Add the spinach and cook another minute until wilted. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool.
Add almond mixture, quinoa and herbs to the cooled vegetables. Mix well and taste, adding salt to your liking. Add egg and quinoa flour, stirring well. Shape into 4-6 patties, depending on the size you like, dusting the patties with a little quinoa flour to make them easier to handle. Place in a container or on a plate in a single layer, cover with lid or plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight.
Heat a little oil in a fry pan or on a barbeque over medium heat. Cook vegie burgers gently until golden on both sides and hot in the centre. Enjoy with your favourite bread and salad fillings.