These burgers are the result of me needing to use up a few veggies in the fridge. I had to use up a pepper, celery and carrots and felt like trying something I don’t usually make.
So I made these burgers, and had mine in a pitta bread with hummus, lettuce and a very hot Masala Chili sauce:
The burgers were incredibly easy to make and are totally adjustable to your own tastes in spices. Today, I’ve flavoured them with thyme, oregano, paprika and pepper. Next time, I might try making these with curry, cumin and coriander.
But first things first – the quinoa. All hail this wonderful, gluten-free, whole protein power house of plant goodness. It’s my She-Ra of the grains! (if you don’t know who She-Ra is, you’re either under 30 years old or have somehow slept through the 80s hehe)
Anywhoo… at first, toast the quinoa. It effectively does the same thing as washing it really, really thoroughly, only you keep it dry and the aroma of toasted quinoa is just divine. Much preferable, in my opinion, and definitely the right thing to do for this recipe.
Quinoa before the toasting:
To toast, simply put it into a very hot, dry frying pan and stir gently. You will hear little popping sounds that indicate it’s doing its thing. When it’s all nicely coloured, it’s done! Not to forget the wonderful scent that wafts around. Quinoa after the toasting:
Once that’s done, set it aside until you need it again and get busy preparing the vegetables. I had to use up some things, but you could use anything that tickles your fancy – from sweetcorn to leeks and courgette – so long you cut it up really small or grate it, you’ll be perfectly fine! Once your vegetables are ready, fry them in a little oil, then add the quinoa and the stock and simmer them on low.
When all the stock has been absorbed, the quinoa mix should look something like this:
By the way, that’s really tasty by itself, so be careful not to munch too much in the name of ‘tasting‘ before you get to the ‘burger making‘ part! In order to form burgers successfully though, it needs something to turn it into a more doughy mass. I used oats. Make sure you use gluten free ones if making these for gluten intolerant people. Adding the oats while the mixture was still hot did the trick very well here:
After the mass had cooled down enough to be handled, these were easily formed:
And in the name of science, I fried half and grilled the other half in the oven. Both versions turned out well, although the oven-grilled ones were lower in fat and held together better on top of that. I would recommend the oven version. In this pic, they are all cooked through, the darker ones are the fried ones… the casualty in the middle was the result of my 2-year-old being faster than me and having a not-so-sneaky taste! One’s missing because it fell apart in the pan… and got gobbled up by me.
For the cubs, I put these into wholemeal pitta breads with some hummus (and ketchup in cub 3’s case) and served them with carrot sticks and cucumber slices. Obviously, the addition of the bread doesn’t make it gluten free anymore, so if you want to keep it that way, serve it on a bed of mixed salad with some pine kernels or sunflower seeds strewn across.
Vegan Quinoa Burgers (makes 10 small burgers) by Cubs’n’Coffee
- 100g Quinoa, toasted
- 1 carrot, finely grated
- 1/2 pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 small stalk celery, grated
- 50g peas
- 300ml vegetable stock (if you use stock cubes make sure they’re gluten free!)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil for frying (plus a little extra for baking tray)
- 1tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1 tsp paprika, generous dash cracked black pepper
- 50g oats
- In a heavy bottomed pot, fry the pepper and the celery in the oil until a little softened.
- Add the other vegetables, herbs, spices and toasted quinoa. Give it a quick stir to mix it all together.
- Pour in the vegetable stock, stir and cover pot with a lid. Set it to simmer on low to medium heat until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through.
- Take the pot off the heat and add the oats while it’s still hot. Let it stand until cool enough to handle.
- While it’s cooling, pre-heat the oven grill. Once the mass has cooled, form 10 little burgers.
- Place the burgers on a non-stick oven tray which is lightly greased with oil. I spray oil onto it as it uses less with the same effect. Spray (or brush) a tiny amount of oil onto each burger and grill until lightly browned. Turn and repeat on other side.
- Serve on a salad bed with pine kernels and sunflower seeds. Alternatively, serve it in a pitta bread with salad and hummus or even in a soft flour tortilla wrap. The possibilities are endless!
- Please let me know if you liked this 😉