Soba salad, big burgers and chips

My cooking mojo has been a bit lacking lately. I’ve been trying out lots of weird recipes that I’ve never tried before, and many of them have been disappointing. On Thursday I really felt like a good meal that everyone would like.

Harvest (formerly Organic Gertrude)

I made a trip to Harvest in Fairfield (previously Organic Gertrude) where I picked up some lovely vegies and, spontaneously because I just couldn’t resist it, a takeaway soba salad for my lunch.

Organic Gertrude was closed for renovations recently, and they’ve re-opened with a much better and brighter layout. The cafe has taken over the front of the shop, and the grocery section has moved to the back. It’s much more sensible and the whole place looks much brighter and more welcoming. It’s my favourite place for buying organic fruit and vegies, but I’d rarely eaten from the cafe before. I’m sure I’ll be going back.

Soba salad and an Emma and Tom's Cacao and Orange bar

Lunch from Harvest (Fairfield) – Soba salad and an Emma & Tom’s Cacao and orange bar

Big burgers

For dinner, I’d decided on BIG burgers with chips and salad, because I knew that would be popular with the family who have bravely soldiered through some crappy food this week. Then, when I got home, I found a message from B (my husband) to say that his job was just made permanent. That’s pretty exciting for us, because after being made redundant late last year, he’s been employed, but not feeling very secure.

Time for a celebration! Burgers tonight (well, something edible would be a bit of a celebration this week)…and maybe dinner out somewhere more exciting later on.

Finding the right recipe

My favourite burger cookbook, Veggie burgers every which way by Lukas Volger, doesn’t have heaps of vegan recipes, so I flicked through it for inspiration, then made up my own burger recipe. I did, however, follow the book’s recipe for potato chips and sweet potato chips – and they were REALLY good.

Veggie burgers every which way by Lukas Volger

Not many vegan burgers, but great for inspiration – and chips!

Big Bean Burgers

This made about 7 BIG burgers, so there were plenty for leftovers (always a good thing with my son around).

Ingredients

red kidney beans – 750g tin

refried beans – 435g tin

herbs from the garden (I used sage and parsley) – big handful

quick oats – 1 cup

quinoa flakes – 1/3 cup

tomato paste – 3 tablespoons

Dijon mustard – 1 tablespoons

zucchini – 1 small

celery – 1 stick

green capsicum – 1/2

1 HUGE onion

garlic – 4 cloves

salt – 1 teaspoon

sweet paprika – 1 tablespoon

walnuts – 3/4 cup

almond paste – 1 tablespoon

Method

  1. In the food processor, whizz the onion and garlic till very finely chopped, then fry gently in about 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
  2. While that’s starting to cook, put the celery, capsicum, zucchini and herbs in the food processor and whizz till fairly fine, then add to the frying pan and cooking stirring around every few minutes.
  3. While that’s frying and softening up, pulse the walnuts in the food processor until crumbly. Tip into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Pulse 1/2 the tin of red kidney beans until they are broken up, but not pureed (a bit like the walnuts). Add to the bowl.
  5. When the vegies in the frying pan are all nice and softened, tip the lot into the big bowl with all the other ingredients – remaining kidney beans, salt, paprika, almond paste, quick oats, quinoa flakes and refried beans.
  6. Mix it all up well. The best part about vegan food is that you can taste it before it’s all cooked, and get your flavourings right, because there’s no raw egg or meat.

I made big burgers, and I have a smallish cast iron pan, so I got out the big non-stick pan and had two frying pans going at once, like a tiny production line.

Large burger

This is a weird (& blurry) picture. I was trying to show that the burgers were really big, but the plate is very large, so you can’t tell! This burger was a bit bigger than my hand and about 1.5 cm thick.

I fried them until browned and heated through. If your burgers are huge like mine, be VERY careful when you turn them, because they’ll break up on you.

A couple of bits broke off, but I just smooshed them back into the side of the burger and they held together like magic.

These big burgers took about 4–5 minutes each side to cook and heat through, but with normal-sized burgers, you’d need to check them frequently because they’d need less time.

Chips and salad on the side

I served my burgers in wholemeal buns with beetroot (because I’m Australian). On the side, I served the oven potato fries and sweet potato fries (from the veggie burger cookbook) and a salad made from shredded red cabbage, spring onions, carrots and celery, with my favourite salad dressing from VeganEasy.

Burger, chips and salad

Yes, it’s a crappy picture, but it was a good dinner. That dressing looks a bit lumpy – but it tasted great!

March in March

Now, I’d better get off this computer, because I need to go and start making my sign for the March In March this Sunday. It’s time to send our Prime Minister a message about his treatment of refugees…and live export…and gay marriage…and Medicare…and national parks…and so many other issues that make me very cross, before he takes away our right to protest!

If you haven’t seen this video, watch Tony Abbott as he’s asked a few simple questions by some year 9 students. Take particular delight in the moment he asks for some “bloke’s questions”. What an embarrassment.

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10 thoughts on “Soba salad, big burgers and chips

  1. I really like that veggie burgers book but often I like to flick through a cookbook, get inspired and make my own stuff anyway. Your chips look great. Great news for B. And I just love that emma and toms bar. Am thinking about march on march – not sure if will get there but would like to

    • March in March was huge. And what amazed me was that there were so many people, when I know so many people who feel the same way, but just didn’t get there. It makes you realise how many people must be sick of the way this government is treating everyone. (And we went out for lunch afterwards…perhaps that’s another post.)

  2. Fantastic news about your husband’s job 😀 I don’t make veggie burgers often because the family won’t eat them, no matter how many hundreds of recipes I make! I didn’t get to March in March, I hope you had a good day 🙂

    • Thanks. We had a great day at the march and the rain held off till long after we’d finished walking. I remember you mentioning your family don’t like burgers – or was it meatballs? – Same thing anyway. My family always love them, thankfully, because I do too.

  3. Hooray, great news Linda. Those burgers are full of good stuff. I think I’ll have to give them a go but not in buns, just with chips and salad for us.

    • What? You’ve given up your lovely bread? Anyway, with the actual burgers you don’t need to follow the recipe. You can pretty much chuck in anything. It’s just that because there aren’t any eggs to hold it together, you need to make sure everything’s chopping finely, and mash/puree some of it, so it will hold together – and/or add a nut butter. That’s what I’ve found, anyway. Of course, you probably know all that. 🙂

  4. That soba salad looks so terrific, I can’t even make my way down to the burgers! Good on you for being active; we can all stand to be just a little bit more to ensure our voices are heard.

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