Before we moved, I assumed that the UK would have more vegan and vegetarian food options than Australia. In almost all ways, it undoubtedly does. However, there are a few surprising exceptions to that rule, and veggie burgers provide one such example. On reflection, it is perhaps not surprising that a country of long summers and frequent barbecues has a large number of veggie burgers to choose from. Whilst England does have some options of its own, most of them are of the faux meat variety and relatively few are vegan.
An upside of this discovery is that I suddenly have more motivation to make my own veggie burgers. Traditionally, this has been an area where I have good intentions but poor follow through. I love the idea of making up a batch of patties to suit my tastes, and freezing some to have on hand in the future. However, when I had access to supermarket burgers that I enjoyed, and which featured straightforward vegetable ingredient lists, I tended to just buy them.
These ginger-chilli sweet potato and almond patties have reminded me that homemade burgers are surprisingly easy to make. As with everything homemade, you also get to control the ingredients, flavours, and size of your patties. There is a lot to like!
As the above picture may show, I made my patties relatively small. This means you can eat more of them, a completely logical approach in my view. I also cooked these in a two-step approach, using the stove top initially and the oven thereafter. This gets around the problem of cooking patties in batches on the stove (with the first lot cooling by the time the last ones are cooked), and I find that it gives slightly crisper and firmer burgers than cooking on the stove top alone or in the oven alone. However, I am sure you could achieve good results with just one cooking method (stove top or oven) if you prefer.
One of the best things about these burgers was that Mr Bite enjoyed them too. This takes on greater significance when you consider that he doesn't like sweet potato or almonds and is usually pretty good at detecting their presence in dishes. I could barely suppress my glee when I told him the ingredient list after we'd eaten! I also like that these are legume and tofu free. I get through plenty of both, so using almond for a protein source was a nice change.
Ginger-chilli sweet potato and almond burgers
A homemade burger option that will convince you to bypass the supermarket variety
Vegan and gluten free
Makes enough burger patties to serve four if paired with bread rolls or other sides
Food processor preferable but not essential (see note below).
Allow at least one hour for the burger mix to chill before cooking.
Author: Bite-Sized Thoughts
1/2 cup whole natural almonds (see note below)
1/2 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato (equivalent to approximately 1 cup pieces pre-mashing)
1 small brown onion, diced
1 medium carrot, grated
1 medium courgette, grated
1/3 cup besan (chickpea) flour, or other flour of choice
1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce, or homemade equivalent
2 to 3cm piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
2 to 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Oil, if needed, for cooking
In a food processor or high-powered blender, ground your almonds until they resemble a course flour. Note. If you don't have a food processor / blender, you can buy pre-ground almonds or use almond meal instead. I would estimate needing 1/4 cup if taking that route, but haven't tested it myself.
In a large bowl, combine the ground almonds, mashed sweet potato, diced onion, grated carrot and courgette, besan flour, sweet chilli sauce, grated ginger, and chopped parsley. Mix well. Allow to stand in the fridge for at least one hour.
After an hour, stir the mixture again and add a little more flour if it seems too moist or a little water if it seems too dry (the moisture level will vary according to the size of your carrot and courgette). The mix should be thick enough to be shaped into burger patties.
Preheat your oven to 160'C (320'F) and heat a non-stick pan on the stove top, spraying with oil if needed. Shape the burger mix into patties of your desired size and cook on the stove top in batches for several minutes on each side, until just browned and slightly crispy. Once patties are cooked, transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven while the remaining patties are cooked.
After all patties have been cooked, allow them to continue crisping up in the oven for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve in a burger bun with salad, or as an addition to other sides of your choice.
Do you have a favourite homemade burger recipe?