Veggie Burger

IMG_4156Let’s be honest. To most meat-a-holics, the idea of eating a veggie burger is something close to eating chalk. I’ve got to admit that I too was victim to such ignorant thoughts. My childhood is filled with memories of mommy’s delicious chicken or beef burgers for breakfast and the seldom visit to McDonald’s to gorge on the Spicy McChicken or to Burger King for the Mushroom Swiss!

That was until I made this vegetarian patty within the comfort of my home and tasted just how wonderful, albeit different, the experience tucked into every bite of a Veggie Burger is! (This was my first attempt at making a patty from scratch. I still can’t believe my first homemade burger was a vegetarian one! 😉 )

You must be wondering, how on earth can a Veggie Burger match up to a succulent meaty one, right? Wrong! Take my word for it, Veggie Burgers are not as bad as they seem in our minds. They are not bad at all. They are actually quite delicious. And I promise you, even if you take a while to warm up to the idea, this Veggie Burger will not disappoint! And for those who love vegetarian delights, I’m sure you’ll will love this! 😀

Here’s what you need:

  • Chickpeas – 210 g
  • Sweet Corn – 100 g
  • Few sprigs of fresh coriander, picked and washed
  • Paprika – 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Ground Coriander – 1/2 tsp
  • Ground Cumin – 1/2 tsp
  • Dry Mango Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • All Purpose Flour – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Few lettuce leaves
  • Tomatoes – 2
  • Crushed pepper – to taste
  • A dollop of tomato ketchup
  • Few drops of hot sauce (or more, depending on the level of spice you prefer)
  • Sliced Cheese – 4 slices
  • Fresh Burger Buns – 4

Here’s how you make this amazing Veggie Burger:

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  • Place the chickpeas, sweetcorn, fresh coriander, spices, lemon zest and juice, flour and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is combined but not fully smooth – you want to retain some texture.
  • Line a tray with parchment paper. Divide the mixture into four parts and shape each portion into equally sized patties and place on the tray. Pop the tray into the refrigerator for an hour to firm up.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Cook the patties for around ten minutes or until the outsides are crisp and golden brown and the patty is cooked through.
  • Toast burger buns on the same pan for a few seconds. Lather the lower half of the bun with tomato ketchup and add a few drops of hot sauce. Place the patty on top.IMG_4139
  • Slice tomato and lettuce and pile on top of the patty. Place a slice of cheese on top of the lettuce and sprinkle a bit of crushed pepper and pop into the microwave oven for 20 seconds or just until the cheese melts a bit.IMG_4147
  • Complete by placing the top half of the burger bun on top of the melted cheese. Your Veggie Burger is ready to eat!IMG_4148

This recipe for this super tasty Veggie Burger has been a long time coming. It was the dish I prepared for my first column in my ‘Masterclass with Winola Peris’ series published monthly in The Woman magazine, Oman.

A great alternative to a chunky, heavy meat burger, this vegetarian burger is healthy, nutritious and filling. But most of all it is appetizing. (I mean, look at these photographs; don’t they make you hungry? If they look so good, just imagine how amazing they must taste? 😛)

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The patty is moist and flavourful. Packed with a sweet hint of corn, coarse creaminess from the chickpeas, the hits of spice and nice from the paprika, cumin, coriander, chilli and mango powder and the tang from the lemon, this burger is perfect to sate your craving for a healthy and energy packed, yet scrumptious meal. And burgers are versatile, really; they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or even with your evening coffee 😉)!

I’m not saying that once you bite into a Veggie Burger, you’ll never go back to a meaty one. God knows I have! But if you’re looking for something different or a healthy variant to satisfy your regular burger craving (and keep the weight off), this recipe is a must try!

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Tips: 

  • If you’re not a fan of the sweetness that corn lends to a dish, you can skip it completely, or replace it with black beans or white beans.
  • Instead of a store bought burger bun, it would be great to use a freshly baked homemade Brioche Bun. (I’ll be trying my hand at baking a Brioche Bun soon; will let you know how it goes 🙂)

Baked Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

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For about a year now, I’ve been trying to stick to a healthy kind-of diet. I wouldn’t call it a complete diet because, errr… well, I cheat a LOT! But nevertheless, I’m trying. (You probably don’t believe me considering the many recipes for baked goodies I post on the site, but I’m trying okay! Trying is important.)

I try to exercise every day, whenever I don’t get too lazy (though I must admit, I could do better). Dinners are usually salads, bowls of fruit or yogurt and honey and I try to cut back on dairy, carbonated drinks and sweet treats as much as possible; though I do indulge in a nice cheat session every once in a while (and then feel incredibly guilty about it! Grrrr :/ )

I’m a huge fan of all things healthy. A burst of fresh, light flavours in my mouth is always welcome. Thus, when I was to do a red themed ‘Masterclass with Winola Peris’ column for the Red issue of The Woman magazine back in February, I decided to take a step back from the idea of doing a column on Red Velvet Cupcakes or Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies and do a healthy recipe instead. Also, back then I was having a real moment with feta cheese. No matter what salad I made or if I was having toasted chicken mortadella or nuggets, a slice or two of feta cheese always accompanied it.

Hence, I came up with this recipe for delicious Baked Red Bell Peppers stuffed with Feta Cheese and Cherry Tomatoes 😀

Here’s what you need. 

  • Large Red Bell Peppers – 1
  • Cherry Tomatoes – 250 g
  • Feta cheese – 150 g, cubed or crumbled
  • A bunch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped finely
  • Dried Basil – 2 tsp
  • Paprika – 1 tsp
  • Roasted Black Pepper – 1 and 1/3 tsp
  • Olive Oil – 1 tsp, plus extra for drizzling before baking

Here’s how you make them.

  • In a bowl, toss cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, coriander, basil, paprika and roasted black pepper until well combined. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and give the mixture one final mix.
  •  Halve the red bell peppers and clean out the insides. Fill each bell pepper with the cherry tomato and feta cheese filling.
  • Place the filled red bell peppers in a baking tin and drizzle olive oil over them. Cover the dish with foil and place on the baking rack fitted in the top third of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Once done, take off the foil and bake for another five minutes at 150 degrees Celsius. Serve immediately.
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Step 1: Make the Cherry Tomato – Feta Cheese Filling
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Step 2: Stuff the cleaned Red Bell Peppers with the Filling
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Step 3: Drizzle with Olive Oil and Bake

These Baked Stuffed Red Bell Peppers are the kind of snack you can indulge in without feeling the slightest bit guilty. Crunchy, mushy and nourishing, this dish is an extraordinary amalgamation of the unique piquancy of the bell peppers, the juicy tang of cherry tomatoes and the creamy sourness of feta cheese with refreshing hits of roasted black pepper, coriander, basil and paprika. They make for the perfect appetizer or snack-time treat. What’s best, they’re ready to eat in just under  20 minutes!

Tip: I like for my bell peppers to maintain that amazing balance between crisp and mushy, but if you would like your bell peppers to be mushier and soft, covering the dish with foil and baking for an added 10 to 15 minutes should do the trick.

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