Veggies on the counter

Black Bean and Red Pepper Burgers

Posted in appetizers, breakfast & brunch, main courses, sandwiches by veggies on the counter on June 7, 2013


If you check this blog regularly, chances are you’ve probably noticed that I have a soft spot for veggie burgers. Out of the 62 recipes posted to date in here, 6 of them consist of some sort of patties – and being honest, I think there will be a lot more to come. What I mostly like about veggie burgers is that you can play around with ingredient and flavour combinations – mixing spices, nuts, whole grains, legumes and vegetables – and end up with a protein-packed component of a dish. When paired with a salad of sorts, they make quite a satisfying meal.

This burger in particular came out of the need to clean up the fridge: there was this neglected pepper in the bottom shelf that would go bad in a matter of days, halves of onions wrapped up in parchment paper for a supposed later use, a nearly empty large jar of olives… I could go on. I strongly encourage you to give these a try as they have a contrast of flavour and texture – soft and salty olives / crunchy and nutty seeds – that really seals the deal for me.


When it comes to serve them, this time around I thought of something different from “the classic” – in between two pieces of bread – and came up with the idea of wrapping the patties in thin slices of grilled eggplant. The eggplant adds extra moisture and a distinct smoky flavour that I’m particularly fond of. In case you want to up the patties’ (already high) protein content, an open-faced “sandwich” made with grilled Portobello mushrooms – just like this one – would be an excellent choice.



Black Bean and Red Pepper Burgers

(makes 6 patties)

2 large onions / 300g / 2 cups, finely chopped

1 medium sized red bell pepper / 220g / 1 cup, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle

1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (1/2 teaspoon if using regular paprika)

240 g / 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained

60 g / ½ cup buckwheat flakes (you can substitute with rolled oats)

55 g / 1/3 cup green olives, coarsely chopped

40 g / 1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1 big handful chopped coriander

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sunflower seeds and toast them for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and smell fragrant.

In the same skillet you used for toasting the seeds, add the finely chopped garlic cloves, coriander and cumin seeds, smoked paprika and olive oil. Cook the spices and garlic over a medium-high flame for 1 minute.

Add the onions, pepper and salt to the skillet, give it a good stir, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover the skillet with a lid and let the mixture cook for about 15 minutes, or until the onion and pepper bits are soft and slightly caramelised. You should check the skillet every 5 minutes to avoid burning the mixture – if the latter seems dry, add up to 2 tablespoons of water each time you check it out.

Once the onion mixture has been cooked and cooled down, add half of it to the bowl of a food processor. Add the beans as well. Pulse a few times, or until you get a sticky but consistent paste.

Transfer the bean and onion mixture to a bowl. Add the buckwheat flakes and incorporate well using a wooden spoon. Add the chopped green olives, toasted sunflower seeds and coriander as well. Mix again. You’ll end up with a slightly moister mixture, but it should still be possible to make patties out of it. To make the job easier, wet your hands with cold water and shape the mixture into 6 burgers (or more, depending on the size you choose).

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil, over a medium flame, in a large skillet. Add the patties and cook them for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with your favourite condiments and fixings or as suggested above.

Roasted Hokkaido Squash and Quinoa Patties

Posted in main courses by veggies on the counter on February 8, 2013


Last weekend I went to the farmer’s market and brought home some lovely squashes (butternut and hokkaido). Throughout the week I’ve been making soups and purées with them and today, after roasting the last and bigger one, I’ve decided to make some patties out of it. What I love about hokkaido squashes is their subtle sweetness and starchy texture that, in my opinion, are enhanced by roasting. After roasting the squash I pureed it  in a food processor and added some cooked red quinoa and a couple other ingredients in order to form the base of my patties.

hokkaido collage

The addition of tahini is critical to this recipe, permeating the burgers with a subtle nuttiness that makes them extra yummy. If you can’t find red quinoa feel free to swap for the white variety; on the other hand, the hokkaido could also be subbed with butternut squash. However, if you do use butternut squash you need to peel it as its skin is tougher than the one of hokkaido (which, for the last two times I made this recipe, I didn’t bother peeling). I know it’s the second time I suggest adding pan fried capers as garnish (lately, I’ve been rediscovering capers and adding them to literally everything I cook) but I do think their saltiness and tanginess pairs beautifully with these babies’ flavours.

food processor

Roasted Hokkaido Squash and Quinoa Patties

(makes 4 patties)

1 medium sized hokkaido squash, seeds removed and cut into big chunks

1 cup / 140 g cooked red quinoa

1 heaping tablespoon tahini

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ cup/ 40 g hazelnuts

1 big handful chopped coriander

olive oil

salt and black pepper to taste


1 handful capers, drained

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180-200ºC. Arrange the squash chunks in a large baking tray, add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast  for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.

2. In the meantime, toast the hazelnuts: heat a large skillet over high heat, add the hazelnuts and let them brown a bit – 3 to 4 minutes. While they’re still hot, very carefully transfer them to a clean paper towel and rub them in it. The skins will then come off easily. Roughly chop the hazelnuts.

3. When the roasted squash is cool enough to handle, measure up 1 cup or 250 g of it. Add the squash to the bowl of a food processor as well as ½ cup of the cooked quinoa, the tahini and minced garlic clove. Process until a thick puree comes together.

4. Transfer the squash and quinoa mixture to a bowl. Add the chopped hazelnuts, coriander and a pinch of freshly grated black pepper. Have a taste and adjust the flavours, adding a bit more salt if necessary. With your hands, form the mixture into 4 large patties.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat add the patties and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, only turning them once. As soon as the burgers are done cooking, transfer them to a large platter but don’t turn off the heat yet – you can now pan fry the capers. Add the capers and one additional tablespoon of oil to the skillet and cook them until they’re golden brown. Scatter the capers on top of the patties and serve immediately.


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