The idea behind these burgers first came to me after I dared to change from my usual beef burger at a restaurant, and ended as up a veggie burger convert (Incidentally, I would recommend the bean burgers at Las Iguanas to anyone). So I decided to try making my own and was not disappointed… easy to make, freezeable and, above all from a student perspective, far cheaper than using meat. The end result tastes – and is – very healthy and fresh and so tasty. Once you’ve made the basic burgers, there are loads of enhancements you can make. Finely grated parmesan cheese adds extra flavour, whilst you can vary the beans to your liking… kidney beans, borlotti beans and black beans all work well, or you could even give chickpeas a try. Similarly, add more or less chilli depending on how much spice you can handle! To serve, you could go down the Mexican route and add sour cream, salsa and guacamole. I’ve also found that these go really well with sweet potato wedges.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp Cajun spice – this can be bought ready-made from a supermarket but you can make your own by using dried herbs and spices you have to hand, such as cayenne pepper, thyme and oregano
2 x 400g tins mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1 x 200g tin sweetcorn
1 large free-range egg, beaten
100g fresh breadcrumbs (to make these, lightly toast a slice of bread and blitz in a food processor. I find this a good way to use up stale bread, or the end slices which are often thrown away)
Small handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and add the onions, cooking gently until softened. Add the garlic, chilli and spices and cook for a further 2–3 minutes
2. Tip the cooked mixture into a mixing bowl alongside the beans and sweetcorn and roughly mash – not too much so the ingredients still hold a coarse texture
3. After leaving to cool slightly, add the egg (which helps to bind the mixture), breadcrumbs and coriander. Mix well.
4. Shape the mixture into 8 burgers. This is easiest if you wet your hands first, roll portions into spheres and then flatten slightly into burger shapes
5. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or longer if you are not planning to eat right away. The burgers can also be frozen at this point
6. To cook the burgers, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and cook the burgers for 3–4 minutes on each side. If you like, the burgers can the be topped with a slice of cheese and grilled for a further 3 minutes until the cheese is melted
7. Serve in buns with fresh salad
N.B. The frozen burgers can be cooked straight from the freezer – Preheat the oven to 200oC. Place the burgers on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, drizzle with oil and loosely cover with foil. Bake for 25–30 minutes, turning halfway through.