Every so often I get super inspired by a recipe or a concept, causing me to make detailed plans for meals with multiple components, and then I use family brunch as an excuse to try them out. In the past I’ve done dishes like Spanish-inspired eggs with cornbread, or slow-cooked beef burritos with homemade corn salsa; this time I decided to do my take on a burger and fries.
I made a beef and lentil burger patty based on the “Cheese Burger” recipe from “A Kid’s First Book of Cooking“. One of the great things about tinned legumes is how cost-effective they are – a tin of lentils can cost as little as $0.75 (Coles), plus you’re getting some extra vegetables. By adding lentils to mince you can essentially double the amount of food for a fraction of the cost (500g lean mince costs about $7 in Woollies/Coles).
I served the burgers with homemade sweet potato chips and barbecue sauce – with a twist! – based on a recipe from Taste.com.au. I added some extra veggies to the barbecue sauce and whizzed it up in the food processor – let’s see if anyone noticed!
Don’t beans make you gassy though?
According to a study from 2011, many people avoid legumes (such as lentils and other beans) despite how great they are as a protein-and-fibre-rich vegetable, because they are afraid of excessive gas and flatulence. This fear might be a little exaggerated though, as the researchers found that perceptions of gassiness varied between people, and would mostly return to normal after 2-3 weeks. You can try to decrease this by starting slow and increasing little by little (a good tip for increasing fibre generally!).
What differences did it make?
Each of my patties contained about 1.9 serves of vegetables, and were 4.7g higher in fibre than the original recipe.
The barbecue sauce I only looked at per 100g, and it turns out (not too surprisingly) that adding half a carrot and some onion across two jars of sauce doesn’t do too much, adding 0.3g fibre per 100g. I threw a store-bought option into the table for comparison, but fibre wasn’t listed in the info on the website – the AUSNUT database estimates commercial barbecue sauce to contain about 0.6g fibre per 100g.
Beef and Lentil Burgers (serves 4)
250g lean beef mince
- 400g can brown lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 carrot
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp some kind of sauce (whatever you like to add flavour with – I used the barbecue sauce I had made earlier, recipe below)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine everything in a bowl; mix together thoroughly with your hands.
- Divide mixture into 4 and shape into patties.
- Heat grill; brush or spray with a little vegetable/olive oil. Cook patties for 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through. (Note: I cooked mine on a sandwich press/grill, which cooked both sides at once and took about 4 minutes).
- Serve with wholegrain bread rolls and fresh salads of your choice.
Sweet Potato Chips (serves 4)
- 500g sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- Olive oil spray
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Herbs, e.g. rosemary, optional
- Preheat the oven to 200oC.
- Peel any daggy bits off the sweet potatoes (but leave as much skin on as possible), and cut into thick chips. Lay in single layer on lined trays.
- Spray with oil; sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.
- Bake for 40 minutes, or until browned and cooked through (you can test this by sticking a small sharp knife into a couple of them to see if they’re soft inside).
Sneaky Caramelised Onion Barbecue Sauce
Olive oil spray
- 1 red onion, sliced thinly
- 1/2 carrot, grated coarsely
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/2 cup treacle
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2/3 cup cider vinegar
- 2 cups tomato passata
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
- Spray a deep frying pan or saucepan with olive oil and place over a medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until partially softened (2-3 minutes). Add carrot and cook for about 1 minute. Add treacle and maple syrup, bring to the boil and simmer until onion is caramelised (about 10 min).
- Transfer onion mixture and the rest of the ingredients to a food processor or blender, and process/blend until smooth.
- Transfer mixture back to pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until sauce thickens. Season with pepper.
- Cool completely before serving, or transfer to sterilised jars and keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks.
What did my family think?
They enjoyed it! Even though the lentils and carrot aren’t so secret, you can get some good flavour into the burgers with sauces, herbs and spices etc. You could also try adding a little beef stock powder instead of salt to increase the “beefy” taste.
The barbecue sauce was also well-received (and difficult to guess the ingredients of), and I gave away my extra jar as a gift which was appreciated. Ultimately I’m not sure that the difference of adding veg in this case justified the significant extra effort involved, but I’m keen to experiment with it further. 😉
What do you think? What are your ideas for adding vegetables to sauces?