Gorgeous Garden Burgers

veggie garden burger, dairy-free, egg-free

Late May Bank Holiday Monday is the perfect day for barbecues and nothing fits a barbecue better than a delicious veggie burger. These are what we’re going to enjoy today, wearing thick jumpers as it really isn’t that warm or sunny!

This is a recipe that has been evolving for many a year. I’ve been trying different combinations and methods to recreate a delicious garden burger I had in a motel on Highway 1 in California some years ago. D and I were doing a little tour of California – we hired a car from San Francisco and bumbled down Highway 1 then veered off to Yosemite before heading back to San Fransisco. It was a really great trip, but my, we stayed at some random places. Some really lovely, others rather spooky (I’m thinking of an ‘English style’ B and B in Monterey which was anything but English style, more Psycho style with no locks on the doors and a feeling of being watched from the lace doilies all the time!) One place which stuck in our minds was a motel near Hearst Castle where the room was just cavernous and the sea views were enormous – far more what we expected from America, and nothing like we were used to in Europe.

It was nothing fancy and we ordered room service to fit the vibe of the place – and lo behold the room service burgers were delicious and huge. I think we left half of them! Anyway, the taste of that burger stayed with me and here is my hazy recreation (probably totally different!) – a polenta based burger spiked with sweet corn, peas, spring onions, parsley and sundried tomatoes. A real garden experience. The polenta gives a lovely crisp exterior and thanks to a little addition of aquafaba there’s no fall apart factor – hooray, at last a non crumbly veggie burger and ideal for cooking on a barbecue!

polenta, sweetcorn and pea burgers

I served these with frazzled onions and in homemade salt and pepper bagel buns with a green slaw – a combination that is thoroughly recommend, especially the frazzled onions they’re well worth the frying faff!

polenta and sweetcorn burgers

Garden Burgers

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan garden burgers, no nuts

serves 4

1 tin of sweetcorn

1/2 cup quick cook polenta

2 tbsp plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp aquafaba (the water found in a tin of beans or chickpeas)

1/2 tsp cornflour

4 sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp garlic powder

small handful parsley, roughly chopped

1/4 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1 spring onion, sliced

salt and pepper

large pinch cayenne pepper

  1. In a food processor, pulse half the sweetcorn to make a puree, add the polenta, flour, baking powder, aquafaba and cornflour and pulse to thoroughly combine
  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and using wet hands, form into four even sized patties. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up
  3. Fry in hot sunflower oil until golden and crisp on both sides then place in a medium oven (180 degrees C) for 10-15 minutes to cook through. Or once fried, keep in the fridge for up to three days before heating through, or freeze and defrost thoroughly before placing in the oven.
  4. Or after frying finish cooking on the barbeque.

dairy-free garden burgers, vegetarian


Mustardy lentil burgers

mustardy lentil veggie burgers, dairy-free, egg-free

We tend to always go for bean burgers in this house and I find this mixture of beans and tortilla chips works particularly well. But sometimes, it’s good for a mix up and with the onset of Autumn, lentils seemed a far more appropriate choice.

I’ve not made lentil burgers before and was worried that the texture would be too crumbly and the taste lacking, but with a good wallop of mustard and the magic binding properties of aquafaba the resulting burgers are wonderfully flavoursome with no hint of cumbliness. The combination of lentils, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, herbs and mustard two ways gives a rich earthiness to the burgers, making them perfect for the Autumn table.

We served them in homemade chive bagel buns ( recipe to follow) and the hint of chive oniony flavour really enhanced the rich, deep flavour of the burgers. I think we’ll be having these often this Autumn!

Mustardy lentil burgers

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan lentil burgers

1 cup cooked green lentils

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

3-4 medium mushroom, roughly chopped

1 slice of bread, processed or grated into breadcrumbs

1 tsp English mustard powder

1 tsp herbed de Provence

3 tsps Dijon mustard

3 tbsp aquafaba

  1. Fry the shallot in 1 tbsp olive oil until starting to turn golden, add the garlic and mushrooms and herbs and continue to cook until the mushrooms start to colour. Stir in the mustard powder
  2. Combine with the breadcrumbs and cooked lentils and process until well combined and fairly smooth
  3. Add the aquafaba and Dijon mustard and mix well. The mixture will be fairly sloppy. Form into four even sized patties and place in the fridge to firm up ( at least half an hour)
  4. Gently fry in oil until brown and crispy on the outside, then transfer to a medium hot oven (180 degrees) for 15 minutes to heat through.
  5. These freeze well after the initial frying, then simply defrost and heat in the oven.

dairy-free, egg-free veggie burgers

The Best Spicy Bean Burgers, Mexican Style

The Best Spicy Bean Burger, Mexican Style

¡Viva México! These knock-your-socks-off, totally delicious veggie bean burgers are all about Mexican flavours: spices, coriander, spring onions, lime, beans and crushed up tortilla chips. You can go as hot as you like by adding chilli or your favourite hot sauce. Those are my kind of ingredients.  I’ve made dozens of types of veggie burger and these are probably my favourites. Give the mix a bit of time for those flavours to mingle and the texture to firm up, and that’s what makes these patties great. There’s no crumble factor with these, making them perfect for frying pan, grill or BBQ. It’s so often that veggie burgers don’t have the right texture.

Serve in buns, or wrapped up in tortillas, topped with  salsa, pickles… anything you want.

The Best Spicy Bean Burgers, Mexican Style (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

Mexican Spiced bean burgers

makes 4 patties

  • 2 handfuls tortilla chips
  • 1 tin pinto or borlotti beans
  • 1 handful of coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 squeeze lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsps salsa, preferably fridge salsa, or Mexican hot sauce (or combination of both!)

– Whizz up the tortilla chips in a food processor (or crush) until they’re a small rough crumb

– Add all the other ingredients to the food processor and pulse until well combined.

– Turn into a bowl and leave for an hour or so, for the flavours to mix. Taste and preseason if necessary.

– Form into 4 even sized patties, cover and refrigerate until needed

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 6

– Fry in a small amount of oil until nicely browned

– Then move to the oven for 10-15 minutes.

– Serve in buns with garnished with more salsa




Knock your socks off tasty bean burger, Mexican Style


Italian flavoured polenta burgers



You can’t beat a tasty veggie burger, far superior to any meat offering (well I would say that wouldn’t I!!). But they do need careful thought and preparation – so often they can seriously underwhelm. Not just in terms of flavour – there is nothing more disappointing than a bland veggie burger than melds into a pappy bun. You definitely need a powerful flavour punch to withstand being ‘sandwichified’. But they also so often disappoint in terms of texture, especially with no egg or dairy in the mix to hold them together. Bean burgers tend to work well, but other varieties can crumble at the first bite, leaving a seriously un-satisfying burger experience. Some people bridge this gap with vegetable protein or fake mince but I have a bit of an aversion to anything resembling meat, so I needed another binder to give a great bite, but this time I didn’t feel like beans.

I had settled on Italian flavours (olives, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and basil) to give the flavour, and then it seemed obvious to try polenta. It easily forms patties that hold together, is a great carrier of flavour and gets a lovely crispy coating. As it happens it was a very good choice – these veggie burgers delivered on all fronts and somewhat to my surprise worked beautifully in a bun. They’d also be rather successful just served in patty form. I have yet to give them a go on the barbecue, but I reckon they’d work just fine.

Italian Style Polenta Burgers (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

20140613-134555.jpgServes 4

  • 1/3 cup sun blush or sundries tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olives (I used green as its all I had in, but black would be more suitable)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds, toasted
  • Small bunch of basil, shredded
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 6 tbsp quick cook polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (or 2 of hard cheese if you use dairy)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup dry polenta to coat the burgers

– Bring the water to the boil
– Pour in the 6 tbsp of polenta and whisk until its cooked through and forms one lump
– Stir in all the other ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary
– Dollop it into a cling film lined baking tin and press down firmly to make an even rectangle
– Place in the fridge for at least 30 mins to cool and firm up
– Cut into desired shapes, dust with the dry polenta and set aside.
– When ready to cook, fry each side in oil until golden, then transfer to a medium oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking though.




Jamaican Jerk Spiced Sweet Potato Burgers

The current hot weather has kept my thoughts on spicy, exotic flavours – a tropical holiday at home, if you like!

We enjoyed my jerk aubergine skewers so much that I was pretty keen on using the fragrant spice of jerk seasoning again elsewhere. Sweet potatoes are staples in Caribbean cuisine and soak up the jerk seasoning beautifully. Extra lime, chilli, spring onions and these spicy, sweet burgers make great little patties. Serve with any favoured additions, pickles or relishes. Maybe a rum punch or a Red Stripe too.

Jamaican Jerk Spiced Sweet Potato Burgers (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)


makes 4

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tin beans, I used borlotti
  • 1 1/2 slices of bread, blitzed into fresh crumbs
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2-3 tsps jerk seasoning
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1-2 fresh chillies (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

– Sprinkle the sweet potato chunks with the 1 tsp jerk seasoning, drizzle with oil and roast for 30-45 minutes in a medium hot oven until cooked through. Cool.
– In a food processor (or using a potato masher) combine all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning.
– Form into 4 even sized patties and put in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up.
– Fry on each side to a golden colour, then transfer to a medium oven to heat through
– Serve in buns with additions of choice.


Roasted Mushroom and Butternut Squash Burgers

It seems like it was a ‘Burger Tuesday’ in this house this week. At The Green Fair on Sunday I bought the recipe book Veggie Burgers Every which Way and it’s inspired me to experiment with some burgers, buns and my favourite pink pickled onions. I had a butternut squash hanging round in the fridge (I’m not really sure why I bought it as I tend not to like squashes!) and a few tired mushrooms so taking some general inspiration from the book concocted a new veggie burger recipe. So far (uncooked) it tastes good and the texture seems ok but we’ll have to see if they hold together when I fry them off later… Fingers crossed!

I’m going to serve them in home-made burger buns but I reckon they’d also work pretty well as a stand alone pattie or to accompany roast vegetables.

Update: they tasted delicious – sweet from the squash but with an earthy roasted mushroom tang. They held up well to being fried and looked good in a bun, BUT they were a bit soft so fell apart somewhat on eating. I always get this problem with veggie burgers – anyone out there know how to make them firmer and more substantial?

Recipes for the burger buns and pickled pink onions to follow….

Roasted Mushroom and Butternut Squash Burgers (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 4

  • 1/2 butternut squash, cut length-wise
  • 6-7 mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1-2 slices of bread, whizzed into breadcrumbs
  • good handful of parsley
  • seasoning
  • optional, if eat dairy: 60g goat’s cheese

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 5

– Place the 1/2 butternut squash in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, season and roast for up to an hour, until soft and squidgy. Scrape the flesh from the skin and set aside.

– Slice the onion and place in a different baking dish with the mushrooms. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with thyme. Roast for 30 minutes.

– Whizz up the bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs.

– Add the mushroom and onion mix and whizz.

– Add the roasted butternut squash and parsley. Process until well combined. (Add the goat’s cheese if using)

– Check the seasoning.

– Form into four burgers and place on a lined baking sheet.

– Leave to set in the fridge for a good few hours.

– Fry until golden and crisp. Then move to a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes to cook through.