Bloody Bonza Bucketty Bean and Beetroot Burgers

All those B’s – it just has to be good for you! After all, it is a well known fact that alliteration is an essential ingredient in a balanced diet.

These burgers are currently being taste tested by Shrek, and depending on whether they pass the muster of his MasterChef taste buds they may even be the veggie burger of choice come the next Mangrove Mountain Country Fair.

Buy (or grow) these things:

  • 3 large red beetroots (just under half a kilo)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (uncooked)
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats – not quick cook oats (see also below for note on making this recipe gluten-free)
  • 2 (450g) cans black beans – or preferably cook the beans yourself (alternatively use kidney beans)
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped into small pieces.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons seed mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Bashing it all together:

Heat the oven to 220c. Wrap the beetroots loosely in aluminium foil and roast until easily pierced with a fork, 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, cook the rice until it’s a little beyond al dente. You want it a little over-cooked, but still firm (not completely mushy). Drain any remaining liquid from the rice and set it aside to cool.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir the onions every minute or two, and cook until they are golden and getting charred around the edges, if the onions are burning lower the heat.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and cook only until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander and ground pepper and pour in the cider vinegar and scrape up the dark sticky crust. Continue to simmer until the cider has evaporated and the pan is nearly dry again. Remove from heat and remove from the pan so they can cool, and not overcook from the residual heat of the pan.

Process the oats in a bamix dry food processor attachment thingy (or food processor) until they have reduced to a fine flour. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Drain and rinse the cans of beans. Transfer half of the beans to the food processor along with the mustard and the sun dried tomatoes. Pulse in 1-second bursts just until the beans are roughly chopped — not so long that they become mush — 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining half of the beans to the mixing bowl as well.

Scrape the skins off the cooled roasted beets; the skins should slip off easily. If still too hot to handle do this step under running cold water. Once cool enough to handle grate the peeled beetroots on the largest holes of a box grater.

Transfer the squeezed beetroot, cooked rice, and sautéed onion/garlic/spices to the bowl with the beans. Add the oatmeal flour and the thyme. Hand mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Add salt, extra pepper or more of the spices to taste.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate the burger mixture for at least 2 hours or (ideally) overnight. The mix can also be kept refrigerated for up to three days before cooking, and once formed into burger patties can be frozen uncooked, separated by squares of waxed paper.

(Don’t) Burn them:

Shape into burgers.

Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to completely coat the bottom of the pan. Cook as many as will fit without crowding. Cooking time will depend on size of formed patties. Cook to a crust either side.

Adapting to gluten free:

Replace the oats with lightly toasted cashews, same weight and same processing

Add a binding agent. Recommended method is: two teaspoons of linseeds ground in the way as the cashews, then soaked in 2 tablespoons of water until gooey. Add this mix to the processor when doing the beans/mustard/sundried tomatoes.

Bevski beetroot

This’ll bring a lively dash of colour to the table, and elsewhere too the next day. The Bevski made it for us on Christmas Day, so it probably won’t taste nice, even though it does. Tinned beetroot just ain’t gonna do here, as they will already have been preserved in salt and vinegar. If you have a pressure cooker use that for the beets, as cooking them in a normal pot takes a tedious spell of time.

You’ll need:

  • 500g beetroot (weight not including the stalks)
  • 500g punkyin (or use pumpkin if you like)
  • 250g green beans
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 cup of pine nuts
  • caramelized or otherwise very thick and yummy blasamic vinegar (or use balsamic vinegar instead)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the making:

  • Pressure cook/boil the beetroot until just soft, and slip off the skins under cold water. Discard the cooking water;  The Bevski say’s it is very good for the vegie garden once cool.
  • Chop the cooked beets into large wedges
  • Meanwhile chop the punkyin into large chunks, brush with oil and roast
  • Halve the peeled onion at the ‘equator’, then slice each half into four even chunks. Along with the crushed garlic (and optional salt and pepper) saute until onion is clear.
  • Blanch the trimmed beans; aiming to have them still crispy. Flush thoroughly with cold water after removing them from the heat to stop them from continuing to cook.
  • Combine everything into a large bowl, drizzle with the blasamic vinegar and sprinkle it all with the pine nuts.
  • Serve, ensuring you tell everyone “This won’t taste nice” (don’t worry – it will)

Harissa beetroot and aubergine

The VegHead exceeded government guidelines on the consumption of alcohol last night. Thursday was, therefore, a “slow” day. Earlier in the week, prior to this unfortunate slip in decorum, The VegHead and SheWhoMustBeFed had earmarked Thursday dinner as Beetroot and Aubergine Sri Lankan Curry night, on account of having a particularly nice looking aubergine (tight, dark flesh and firm to the touch) as well as two precooked (and un-vinegar-ed) beetroots in the fridge. However, come dinnertime both comfort food and ease of preparation was called for. Thus, I introduce to you “the lazy version” of the curry. Total cooking time is not much more than the time it takes for the aubergine to cook through.

Needing (serves two):

  • 2 cooked beetroots (not preserved in vinegar or salt), cubed
  • 1 medium aubergine, cubed in a chunky sort of way
  • 1 cup of cooked butter beans
  • a few thin slices of onion
  • 2 tablespoons of harrisa paste (or more or less to taste)
  • olive oil
  • generous handful of chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/3 cup of coconut milk

To do:

  • sauté the aubergine, beans, onion, and paste in a generous splash of olive oil
  • once the aubergine is cooked, add the beetroot (adding the beetroot later in the cooking process ensures that you end up with some colour variation in the meal. Add it too early and everything just ends up purple. As the beetroot’s already cooked, you’re really just warming it up and getting it coated it spice)
  • just before serving, mix through the coriander and the coconut milk

Serve with mashed potato a.k.a. “comfort food”

Beetroot and Aubergine Sri Lankan curry


The World Food Cafe cookbook rightfully deserves credit for this dish, though the recipe here is slightly different.

This is one intense flavour experience, and is colourful the following day too. Serve with Quinoa, and with some additional coconut milk to hand. In the absence of Quinoa, lash yourself firmly with a bunch of celery in penance, and substitute a lesser grain of your pitiful choosing.

Needing to have in the larder:

  • 2 medium cooked beetroots – not preserved in vinegar. Lucky for The VegHead beetroot cooking day was yesterday and a big batch of cooked whole beetroot was in the fridge, soaking in its cooking water and a little salt. Actually…it wasn’t that lucky as I had planned it that way.
  • 1 medium purple aubergine – cut into large cubes
  • 1 cup of cookd haricot beans
  • 1 small onion – halved and thickly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass – chopped and ground in a mortar an pestle
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of light miso paste
  • coconut milk
  • sunflower oil or similar
  • 1/2 cup of crushed, roasted cashews

Oh…you’re making that all up…

  • dryroast the spice seeds in a hot oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Then crush to a powder with a mortar and pestle.
  • fry the spices and the onion
  • add the aubergine and fry until cooked but still firm. Add more oil if necessary, by jitherers those eggplants have a thirst for the stuff don’t they?
  • add the beetroot, beans, lemongrass, miso and a little water. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes allow the flavours to mix and mature
  • stir through about 1/4 cup of coconut milk. Allow the saucepan to come back to a simmer and then immediately serve
  • liberally sprinkle with cashew nuts

And here is one that I cooked earlier (before it was eaten)


Sesame beetroot stems

Green eggs and ham.
Fred and Ginger.
Imperialism and the industrial military complex.
Beetroot and sesame.

Some things in the universe are just natural pairings.

Our options to explore these pairings are naturally limited. Don’t eat eggs or ham, Fred and Ginger are worm food, and trying the bomb the world into peace is misguided in the VegHead’s humble opinion. That leaves us with beetroot and sesame, which is hardly a poor choice…

This is sufficient to make a side dish for two. If you want to extend it and have no more stems to hand, add some grated raw beetroot, or some diced cooked beetroot (you probably have the fresh stems because you just bought a clutch of fresh beetroot, after all).

Needing to have…

  • Stems and leaves from 4+ fresh beetroots
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds; roasted
  • 2 tablespoons of light tahini
  • 1 teaspoon of tamari
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil

Needing to do…

  • Wash the stems and leaves; discarding any cruddy bits
  • Chop the stems into lengths of approximately 5cms
  • Chop the leaves
  • Blanch the stems in a covered pot in a very small amount of water. After a minute or so add the leaves (basically the leaves take a little less time than the stems do to cook – once you’ve done this once you’ll get a feel for it). Add the tamari at the same time.
  • The leaves will cook very quickly. Do not allow to boil dry. There should be a small amount of liquid left by the time the leaves are blanched.
  • Remove from the heat and stir through the tahini, the sesame oil and the sesame seeds.
  • Serve immediately

Why you can’t beat a good beet root

When I was a lad, beetroot came into the house ready made. Golden Circle was the brand of choice according to my mother, if I recall correctly. Mostly pre-sliced, with the occasional foray into the unsliced, baby beet variety. Summer would be heralded with the purchase of tins of cubed beetroot. Regardless of the shape of their contents they all tasted the same. For years I assumed beetroot was a salty purple thing, with a natural sharp vinegary bite. The closest it ever got to hot food was as an option on a shop bought hamburger (authentic “Fish and Chip/Burger bars” in Australia still today give the option of a slice of pineapple or a slice of beetroot on the burger). It was certainly never served as a vegetable along with dinner.

Tinned beetroot is no longer welcome in the VegHead’s kitchen. Whether sliced or cube or whole, it is all bought fresh and home cooked. For salad beetroot, use Apple Cider Vinegar as it is significantly less “vinegary” than wine vinegars and will therefore not dominate the flavour. Slice off the stems and thoroughly scrub all dirt from the ball of the root with a brush and water. Boil (or pressure cook) until tender in a large pot of water. Once cooked, the skin will simply slide off in your hand under cold water. Preserve in the same water you cooked the beet root in, together with a teaspoon of sea salt. Once cooled, add a tablespoon of vinegar.

Beetroot has now made its way onto the dinner plate in a number of ways; roasted, stir fried, lending its purple majesty to curries. Raw it is grated into salads and sandwiches; juiced together with carrots and celery it is a vivid liver detoxing wonder.

Every part of the beetroot plant is edible. The leaves can be used as an alternative to spinach or kale. The leaf stems can be steamed or stir fried.

How to choose beetroot:

  • always choose beetroot that still has the stems and leaves attached. When fresh the stems are firm and crispy like fresh celery. If they have been cut off it is a sure sign that the beetroot is old enough for the stems to have gone all flippy floppy.
  • in the absence of stems, choose beetroots that are as hard as possible. The flesh will soften with age. If they have give when pressed with a finger – put them back and move on.
  • small beetroots are better than huge beetroots

Chick Pea and Beetroot tagine

Beetroot is a misunderstood thing. Gorgeously purple. and almost the entire plant is edible….but more on that at another time. Seeing as today we had potatoes at lunchtime (see “Roast Potato and Onion Soup) then it seemed too-much-of-a-good-thing to have a starchy vegetable at dinner time. Hence…beetroot.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beets. Top and tail, scrub and segment into smallish wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas (“garbanzo beans” if you’re a seppo)
  • 1 small onion. Thinly sliced.
  • 1 clove of garlic. Chopped.
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder.
  • 2 teaspoons of ground pepper.
  • Olive oil.
  • Sesame oil.
  • 2 tablespoons of light tahini.
  • Water.

What to do..

  • Preheat oven (I also put the empty tagine in straight away to begin to heat, while I get on with the preparation. As it is very heavy pottery it takes a long time for the tagine container itself to come to heat, and until it does the food inside is not cooking one little bit. Preheating the tagine can save you 30 minutes cooking time later)
  • Combine all ingredients except for the sesame oil into a tagine. If you don’t have a tagine then use any covered baking tray that is about 30cms in diameter.
  • Add water until the level is about 1cm below the edge of your tagine.
  • Bake on high for 45 minutes to 60 minutes
  • Lightly drizzle on the sesame oil before serving

Nice with couscous (or other grain), or some steamed vegetables.