A lot of supermarket vegetarian burgers try so hard to resemble meat that they ignore the fact that vegetables actually taste delicious in the first place. Why try to replicate a beef burger with a monotonously colored brown thing full of mysterious ingredients and even weirder textures when you can eat a vegetable burger that actually showcases the flavors of the vegetables? Here on Eat.Drink.Better we’ve seen fantastic burgers made of black beans, white beans, lentils and portobello, and and even beets! Here’s another veggie burger that’s brightly colored, packed with exciting flavors, and simple to make with both fresh and canned vegetables. Plus, it’s healthy but still deliciously tasty thanks to the freshness of just-grated carrots and zucchini with the heft of canned chickpeas and the salty tanginess of halloumi cheese.
Never heard of halloumi before? I saw this white cheese for the the first time when I moved to London – it’s a traditional Cypriot cheese with a firm texture similar to mozzarella and a rich saltiness reminiscent of feta. You could substitute either of those cheeses in this recipe, although halloumi works particularly well because of its high melting point, which prevents the cheese from melting all over the pan when you pan fry the burger. So forget those frozen brown hockey pucks passing as veggie burgers that come straight out of the supermarket freezer – this meat-free dish is full of pretty colors and easy on the eyes as well as the mouth. Enjoy!
(makes 4 burgers)
What You Need:
1 clove garlic
1/4 small onion
1 large carrot
1/2 can chickpeas
4 oz halloumi cheese (I used a lite version and it tasted great)
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and black pepper
white pepper (optional but delicious!)
red pepper flakes (if you like things spicy)
What To Do:
1. Grate the carrots, mince the garlic and slice the onion. Saute the garlic in olive oil over low heat. In a few minutes, add the onion and let it soften a bit, then add about half the carrots to cook until they become soft and golden.
2. While the garlic, onions, and carrots are cooking, grate the zucchini into the other half of the carrots.
3. Drain the chickpeas, mash into a thick paste with a fork, and add to the carrots and zucchini.
4. Dice the halloumi into tiny pieces and mix into the carrot, zucchini and chickpea mixture.
5. Add an egg and the lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix all the ingredients together with salt and pepper and any other spices of your choice (I used both white and red pepper) and shape into four patties. You may need to squeeze a bit of liquid out to get the patties to stick together better.
6. Fry the burgers in a bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes on each side, until they get crispy and brown and delicious!
I ate my burger on top of a salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, chickpeas, cucumbers, and diced halloumi cheese. It would also be delicious as a more traditional hamburger on a bun with a yogurt sauce and greens. So versatile and tasty, the veggie burger doesn’t have to be mysterious and brown if you make your own!