#MeatfreeMonday: The Really Hungry Burger
by Sarah Preece
A great vegetarian burger can make such a great meal. Feeling a little bit naughty, it’s completely deceiving because this burger is actually jam packed with goodness, which makes it whole and hearty as well as totally delicious. Thanks to Anna Jones for the recipe.
MAKES 8 BURGERS
6 big portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped into little bits
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 × 400g tin of white beans, haricot or cannellini, well drained
4 fat medjool dates, pitted
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
a small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
200g cooked and cooled brown rice (100g raw weight)
50g breadcrumbs or oats
grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1–2 avocados, peeled and sliced tomato relish or ketchup
pickled cucumber (see above)
a few handfuls of spinach leaves
8 seeded burger buns (I use wholemeal ones)
Get a large pan on a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Once the pan is good and hot, add the mushrooms and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Fry on a good heat until the mushrooms have dried out and are slightly browned, then set to one side and leave to cool.
Next, drain the white beans and put them into a food processor with the dates, garlic, parsley, tahini and soy sauce. Pulse until you have a smoothish mixture, then transfer to a bowl and add the rice, breadcrumbs, lemon zest and the cooled mushrooms. Mix well, then put into the fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up.
Once cooled, divide the mixture into 8 portions and shape into 8 patties. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and pop into the fridge until needed. (This can be done the day before – and the burgers freeze well at this point.)
Preheat your oven to 230°C/fan 210°C/gas 8 and bake the burgers for 15 minutes, until nicely brown. If you like cheese on your burger, pop a slice on top a couple of minutes before they come out of the oven.
While your burgers are cooking, get your toppings ready. I go with avocado, tomato relish and the quick cucumber pickle above, plus a few spinach leaves. Hummus, grated carrot and sprouts is another favourite, but feel free to improvise and try it your own way.
Once the burgers are golden, toast your buns and layer up your burgers.