Here’s a recipe inspired by a four day cookery and meditation retreat at Sharpham House I went on recently. This was the recipe I made as soon as I got home from the trip. It was for supper that same evening – I couldn’t wait to start trying out what I had learnt, even after my long, hot drive from back from Devon to London.
This is not the exact recipe we made on the retreat but it was created in the spirit of the cookery lessons – being spontaneous and intuitive with fresh ingredients.
I’ve tried cooking these beetroot burgers a few times since I’ve been back from the retreat, not least because I love beetroot, but also because they are so easy (and cheap) to do and are great for batch cooking – good to eat for lunch the next day. Some of my beetroot burger versions have been made with just very slightly different ingredients – such as an extra teaspoon of sumac or cumin, a little bit more or less chilli (or mixing together different types of hot spices such as cayenne and chilli powder or using fresh chillies). In this version I tried out some finely chopped sultanas for some sweetness which I really liked.
By the way, as a result of the retreat I have now been introduced to the delights of sumac, a very versatile spice which gives a spicy, lemony flavour.
One of the lessons I learnt from Janet Bird, Sharpham’s talented cook and inspiring teacher, is to be more intuitive with cooking – to be more adventurous in tasting and adjusting ingredients during the process.
I also want to eat more vegetarian food. At the retreat we harvested our own vegetables, salads and herbs from the walled garden at Sharpham.
The great thing about these burgers is that they’re cooked in the oven, not fried. It makes everything so much easier. Who wants to slave over a hot frying pan? They are also vegan.
This recipe makes about six smallish burgers.
- 2 large beetroot (washed, peeled and coarsely grated)
- 4 tablespoons of (dried) brown lentils, boiled with a bay leaf, mashed
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 2 tablespoons sultanas, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Flour to coat your hands to form the burgers.
- Wash and peel the beetroot and grate coarsely. Mix well with the mashed lentils.
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and gently fry the spring onions for about three minutes, add the garlic and cook for a further two or three minutes.
- Add all the spices, and sultanas, and cook gently for a few minutes. Add to the lentils and beetroot, season with salt and pepper and mix well, stirring in the coriander. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Form the mixture into roundish burgers using the flour to coat your hands. Place on a lightly oiled oven tray. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Pre heat the oven to 180C.
- Lightly brush olive oil over the top of each burger and cook for about 45 minutes until brown on the top.
Do you have a cheap, fresh and easy recipe I can try? Let me know and I’ll feature it on the site and link back to you.
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