Welcome to Day 2 of Vegetarian Week
A quick note before we start: The Paws are vegan, so anywhere below that dairy products are listed, we actually used vegan alternatives. We are choosing to simply name them as regular products for maximum readability and accessibility in that hope that it will make it easier for more people to embrace the spirit of this week and go meat free. (For example, we usually enjoy our burgers with soy cheese, but during this blog series, we’re just going to write it as ‘cheese’).
Toast (we prefer homemade, seeded loaves baked in our bread machine) topped with spread and linseed cereal topper, 1 teaspoon per slice of toast. Served with fruit cordial and a banana.
Vegetables – washed and sliced into fingers – with houmous (hummus). Today we had smoky piri piri houmous from the supermarket, and it was delicious!
Burgers with wedges, which are today’s recipe. These burgers are fun, filling, and full of flavour. The recipe is a little more complicated than yesterday, so here is an ingredients list, with our approximate quantities in (). We usually have enough for 4-6 servings. Total cooking and prep time is around 45 mins.
For the Burger:
Quinoa, (1 cup)
Red onion, (2, small)
Celery, (1 stalk)
Mushroom, (1 cup)
Red Bell Pepper, (optional)
Oats, (as needed/optional)
Sunflower Seeds, (2 tablespoons, optional)
Cheese, (to taste)
Spices and seasoning (to taste). We tend to use largely paprika and coarse ground pepper.
For the Side:
Sweet Potatoes, (1 ‘baker’ per person)
Oil of choice, (1 tablespoon)
Seasoning of choice. We have two favourites. Either we use chilli flakes with paprika and black pepper, OR, lemon/lime juice with thyme.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200C. Wash the potatoes and cut them into wedges. We tend to favour long, thinner wedges, and get them by cutting the potatoes in half, then each half in half, and so on, until it looks like the wedges are an appealing and practical size. Typically we get 6-8 from each potato.
Step 2: Season the wedges and prepare them for cooking. We have no professional expertise, but our method is to place the wedges in a bowl. We first drizzle over the oil, and then massage it into the wedges by hand to ensure an even coating. Once all the wedges are shiny, we add our chilli flakes and paprika, until well covered. We then place on a cooling rack on top of a baking tray (to catch drips and other mess) and finally grind our pepper over the wedges. Make sure they have plenty of room on the cooling rack. Oven bake for around 40 minutes, checking every 5 minutes after 30 minutes to ensure the perfect finish for your taste.
Step 3: Wash and dry your quinoa, or don’t, as you prefer. Add the lentils and an optional stock cube. Cover with boiling water and boil for 10 minutes, stirring gently and occasionally to prevent sticking. After this 10 minutes, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes or so. We aim for most of the liquid to be absorbed and the quinoa to look puffy, but the lentils to be soft but still whole. Continue to stir occasionally; it makes washing up much easier later on.
Step 4: Prepare the vegetables. We do this while the quinoa is cooking. Wash all of the vegetables, slice the celery and onion finely. We choose to grate the mushrooms, but finely chopped would do just as well.
Step 5: Combining the patties. Using a large mixing bowl, empty half of the lentils and quinoa into the bowl, then add all of the vegetables. We usually add our seasoning at this point as well, then spoon in the remaining lentil mixture. On top of this we add our seeds and oats. Next, combine the ingredients. We use our hands so we can constantly test the consistency of the mixture. Add cheese, and extra oats as required. The ideal mixture holds its shape well and clumps together, without crumbling or any pooling liquids. If you wish, an egg or vegan binder might help.
Step 6: Cook the patties. Preheat an oiled skillet, or grill. Use your hands or tools to create patties from your combined mixture. We cook ours 2 at a time. Cooking time varies from burger to burger based on the veg-to-quinoa proportions, and the thickness of the patties. We try and turn ours every 5 minutes at least, to prevent burning and to try and get an even cook.
Step 7: Assembly. Slice your chosen bread, apply the patties, and finish with any condiments or salad. Sprinkle with extra cheese as desired. Allow the wedges to sit out of the oven for a couple of minutes while you build the burgers, as this makes them easy to remove from the cooling rack and encourages optimum crispiness on the outside.
Step 8: Arrange delicately or not, and enjoy!
Nuts! We make our own nutty treats, admittedly inspired from those companies that deliver snack boxes to your door. Simply throw in even mixes of any nuts you like, such as cashews, shelled pistachios, hazelnuts or peanuts. Add some finely cubed fudge, cinder toffee or dark chocolate, and fruit like cranberries or gojii berries, and you’re all set. Yummy!
Potato waffles, home made or store bought, served with cauliflower and broccoli cheese bake. Delicious.
And that concludes Day 2 of the Paws do Veg Week. We hope you enjoyed reading, and maybe even found some inspiration. Please feel free to share your own stories or experiences below
Happy meat-free eating,