What better vehicle for the chew of Quorn than this protein-packed veggie burger? Too often, veggie burgers are stuffed with carbohydrate-heavy starches – which makes for an unbalanced meal when sandwiched between two halves of a bun. Instead this recipe uses Quorn – a naturally low-fat, high-fibre vegetarian protein – together with lots of other tasty, protein-rich ingredients – chickpeas, chestnut mushrooms, hazelnuts and linseed.
When trying to make the most delicious food possible, at every stage you should be thinking about how to boost the flavour. When all those layers of concentrated, carefully crafted ingredients become one, you have something truly magnificent. Complex, flavourful, deeply satisfying.
So the mushrooms are first chopped or pulsed into small pieces, then browned in an oven to create the maximum caramelised surface area possible. More browning = more flavour.
I also added a couple of classic vegetarian flavour-boosters – black olives and sundried tomatoes, as well as a little garlic and lemon zest.
It is very, very important that the whole thing is well seasoned, so don’t be afraid to taste the mixture to check the salt and use freshly ground black pepper with abandon.
I find vacuum-sealed sundried tomatoes best for cooking, in comparison with the ones stored in oil. They’re much more reasonably priced and packaged, and they aren’t stored in oil of questionable quality. Let’s face it, no company is going to be cranking out the cold-pressed, new season olive oil to pack their tomatoes in – only you can achieve that by marinating them at home. Otherwise, you can just soak them in water to rehydrate and then chop or blend before adding to your dish. Plump, moist and intensely-flavoured.
Finally, the whole thing is bound together with ground, soaked linseed – an amazing all-natural additive for holding mixtures of all kinds together. It’s a vegan alternative to using egg as a binder – and a healthier one at that.
So the burger has plenty of texture and meaty chew, lots of deep, salty, savoury flavour and bursts of brightness from the tomatoes and aromatics. And it’s vegan. And packed full of nutritious, plant-based ingredients.
Serve on a sourdough bun – the crustier, the better – with dewy lettuce, some slices of ripe avocado, fresh tomato and anything else you might fancy.
I used Greek yoghurt mixed with Dijon mustard as a healthy, creamy burger spread. If you want to make this burger a truly spectacular, mouth-watering, envy-inducing vegetarian meal, top the burgers with some melted cheese (cheddar would be good with these tomato-olive-mushroom flavours) and a perfectly runny fried egg.
A big, juicy salad and/or some baked potato wedges would also be great accompaniments if you want to round the whole thing out into a proper meal, and it’s worth noting that these burgers will stand up to a barbecue without falling apart.