Next-level vege burgers.
3 red peppers (capsicums) Olive oil Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 200g oven-baked onions (see below) 500g (3 cups) cooked chickpeas 3 garlic cloves 2 eggs 1 tbsp smoked paprika 1 tbsp mild chilli powder 50g (1 cup) panko breadcrumbs Rapeseed or peanut oil 6 burger buns Butter
Oven-baked onions (makes about 500g)
4 onions 2 tbsp butter Olive oil Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cucumbers 1 bunch of dill, plus a few extra heads Zest of 1 lemon Sesame seeds Olive oil Preheat the grill to 250°C. Halve the peppers, remove the cores and seeds, then place on a baking tray with the skins facing up. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, then grill until the skin is black. Remove and transfer to a plastic bag. Allow to cool, then rub or pull off the skin and cut the flesh into pieces.
To make the oven-baked onions, heat the oven to 200°C. Peel the onions, cut into quarters and place them in an ovenproof dish with the butter. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, then bake in the middle of the oven for 20-30 minutes or until they’ve developed some colour – they can even be a little burnt. Remove and allow to cool.
Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and drain in a colander. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Lightly whisk the eggs in a food processor, then add the grilled pepper, oven-baked onions, chickpeas, garlic, paprika powder, chilli powder, panko breadcrumbs and some salt. Pulse-blend so the ingredients are well combined, but not too finely blended.
Shape handfuls of the mixture into 6 round patties by hand or using a food ring. Put the patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably longer, so they’ll hold together better when you fry them.
To make the cucumber salad, shave the cucumbers lengthways using a vege peeler. (If you want to, you can remove the seeds first so the cucumbers release less water.) Put the cucumber slices in a bowl and mix in some sprigs of dill, the lemon zest and sesame seeds, plus some dill heads. Drizzle with a little olive oil and carefully turn using your hands. (Avoid using any implements, or the cucumber may get squeezed to pieces.) Season to taste.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and pour in a little rapeseed or peanut oil. Fry the patties for a few minutes on both sides until they develop a nice colour and a crispy surface. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and bake for 5-10 minutes.
Butter the cut surfaces of the buns, then quickly fry in a pan or grill in the oven. To assemble, place a patty on the bottom half of each bun and top with the cucumber salad, plus a few extra dill heads, if you like.
Edited extract from Green Burgers by Martin Nordin. Published by Hardie Grant, $30.