Last Night’s Dinner: Veggie burgers

…otherwise known as lentil, quinoa and halloumi burgers. These are our latest version of the humble veggie burger and they’re pretty good. Puy lentils and quinoa mean they’re packed with protein and therefore avoid the failure of many a sad veggie burger that comes out of the pan as a dull, soft mush of mashed carbs.

We experiment every time with these so I’ll just outline the recipe. The idea, of course, is to make a small pattie that will hold together in a frying pan and in the bread that will surround it. That means combining your cooked, cooled ingredients with egg and flour in a mixing bowl and forming the patties with your hands before frying. The amount of egg and flour you need will be dependent on how much mixture/patties you want to make. The mix should not be too dry and crumbly, but not oozily wet either. Once you get the hang of this part of the pattie-making process it becomes really easy to judge. You might have a few failures along the way.

Our ‘veg mix’ combines savoury flavours and textures. Puy lentils, simmered for 25 minutes in veggie stock, add an earthiness and some bite. Some handfuls of cooked quinoa add a mealiness and up the protein levels. Lightly fried halloumi, chopped into 0.5cm dice adds some fat, a bit of chew and requisite saltiness. A chopped and lightly fried onion adds savouriness.

When all of these are cooked and cooled, tip them into a large mixing bowl and add one beaten egg and a sprinkle of plain flour. Mix well. Now you’re into the pattie-making zone and need to carefully add a little more flour, or another egg, until that consistency starts to come together. I like to let the mixture sit in the fridge for 30 minutes after mixing as it seems to help the patties stick together. Then form the patties in the palm of your hand and fry in small batches in a little olive oil for around 5 minutes a side. We like to serve them in a bun with some cheddar and a dollop of kick-ass homemade chilli sauce. Rustic and good.

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