THE author of Green Burgers, Martin Nordin, wants you to question what a burger can be.
"When I first started thinking about this book,” he writes, "I was struck by how liberating and creative it is to devise, prepare and eat green burgers.
"Whereas a classic meat-based burger is indeed uncompromisingly classic - This is what it looks like, this is how to prepare it, it has to be grilled ... no, actually fried ... and then there are these accompaniments and nothing else, that's it - what goes into a green burger is far less restricted.”
Whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or just trying to cut back on meat, these vegie burgers make a healthy, tasty alternative.
Recipes include the barbecue portobello burger; zucchini burger with wild garlic; pea burger with cream cheese mix and king oyster crisps; and grilled haloumi burger with onion-and-mushroom mix topped with fresh thyme. You can also learn how to make your own charcoal burger buns, or purple cabbage and apple sauerkraut to go on top of your burgers.
Black bean burger with baba ghanoush, grilled spring onions and roasted pine nuts
MAKES: 6 burgers
400g (2½ cups) cooked black beans
Rapeseed or peanut oil for frying
65g (scant ½ cup) finely chopped onion
1 tsp mild chilli powder, eg piment d'Espelette
1 tsp smoked paprika powder
3 tbsp barbecue sauce
50g (scant ½ cup) dry-roasted walnuts
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
100g (scant ½ cup) boiled black rice
25g (scant ½ cup) panko breadcrumbs
Six burger buns
Butter for the buns
Charcoal-roasted baba ghanoush
Grilled and steamed spring onions
Toasted pine nuts
Zest of one lemon
Rinse the beans in cold water and drain in a colander.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the onions over a fairly high heat until they have developed some colour and are on the verge of burning.
Reduce the heat, add the chilli and paprika powders and stir. Stir in the barbecue sauce and remove the frying pan from the heat.
To roast the walnuts, heat a dry frying pan, ideally a cast-iron one. Toast the nuts over a medium heat until they start to take on a little colour, for about two minutes. Shake the pan now and then so the nuts do not get too burnt, but don't worry if they burn slightly - it creates a good flavour.
Chop the walnuts and put them in a bowl together with the beans, coriander, rice, panko breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt.
Mix the ingredients together with a potato masher (the beans should only be lightly mashed). Add the onion mixture and stir so everything is well combined.
Take a handful of mixture at a time and shape into six round patties, either by hand or using a food ring. Put the patties on a large plate and cover with cling film. Put in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably longer, so that they will hold together better when you fry them.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Fry both sides of the patties over a medium heat for a few minutes. Transfer the patties to an oven-proof dish and bake them in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
Butter the buns on the cut surface and fry them quickly in a frying pan or grill them in the oven.
Place a patty on each bun. Add a generous dollop of baba ghanoush, follow with some grilled spring onions and top with toasted pine nuts, parsley sprigs and lemon zest.
This is an edited extract from Green Burgers by Martin Nordin, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $29.99
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