Bean Burgers

Makes 12
(No gluten or dairy)

Even people of otherwise refined sensibilities commonly exhibit a murmuring pleasure from food eaten messily by hand with primal juices dripping. These burgers can be fried, baked or barbequed. Consume sedately as patties – accompanied by salad or mixed steamed vegetables – or serve on toast or buns. Offer an assortment of stack-your-own components: lettuce, tomato, gherkin, cooked onion and mushrooms, mustard, relish, aioli or Green Herb Dressing (see The Shape Diet).

These have been served to determined meat fans with acclaimed results. A tiny version can be done as finger food, a good lunch box item, piled into tortillas or wraps, or heated in sauce with pasta. The bulk of the mixture comes from legumes. This family of dried peas, beans, lentils, tofu and other time-honoured soy products is an important plant protein and fibre source that is too often absent in the kiwi diet.

It is also highly economical. Overall a healthy diet can be cheaper; both in terms of weekly spending and regarding vitality, productivity and health costs. Try frugal and tasty, updated versions of age-old, daily favourites: cooked cereal for breakfast (see Linseed Cereal in The Shape Diet); Tub Lunch (see RECIPES: Meal Planning) or soup midday (eaten throughout the year in many hot countries). For lunch and the evening meal alternate plant protein (primarily from legumes, nuts, seeds, grains) with animal protein (egg; fish; seafood; meat; high quality cow, goat, sheep or buffalo milk products if tolerated), accompanied with lots of seasonal vegetables and a starchy filler (such as rice, amaranth, pasta, buckwheat, potato, quinoa, millet, kumara).

This is not about deprivation. Personal virtue, planetary responsibility and sensual pleasure can be simultaneously honoured. If you like to dine out at restaurants with cuisines such as Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai, Japanese (basically any non-English speaking nationality!) then this is the style of cooking that is offered.

250 g firm organic tofu*
1 cup cooked kidney beans*
1 large free range egg
2 Tbsp prepared mustard
2 Tbsp tomato sauce/ketchup or paste
2 Tbsp savoury yeast flakes*
1 Tbsp naturally fermented soy sauce*
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oreganum
1 tsp sea salt with kelp*
1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
1 medium onion, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
extra virgin olive oil*

Mash tofu with a potato masher until it resembles cottage cheese. Add beans and mash just to coarsely break up the beans (this can all be done in the food processor on low speed but be careful to maintain a chunky texture). Beat in the egg, mustard, tomato, yeast, soy sauce, basil, oreganum and salt to thoroughly combine. Next stir in ½ cup breadcrumbs, onion and parsley.

Form into 12 large patties. Place the remaining ½ cup breadcrumbs in a cereal bowl. Press each patty into the crumbs so they adhere on all sides. Heat a little olive oil on low to medium heat in a sturdy frypan. Fry about 12 minutes on each side until browned. Barbeque on a hot plate, or bake (spray both sides of burgers with oil) at 180°C (350°F) for 30 minutes turning once.

Shopping and Preparation Tips*

• Legumes: pod-bearing plants such as peas, beans, soy and lentils. Soak overnight and discard water to help eliminate an enzyme that can lead to poor digestion and gas. Add ample fresh water. Bring to a boil uncovered (watch for foaming; do not add salt as this slows cooking) until soft enough to squeeze between your fingers. They will almost triple in volume. See The Shape Diet for individual cooking times. Or buy cooked and tinned (Ceres and Delmaine brands in supermarkets have only salt, water). Cook extra and freeze, or chill and use within a week in fritters, casseroles, salads, soups, stews.

• Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is achieved by using cold mechanical pressure rather than the high heat and chemical solvents typical to most supermarket oils. These practices damage oils and the people who eat them. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my article on the TIPS page: The Fats of Life.

• Sea salt: is sea water dehydrated by sun. When mixed with seaweed (containing iodine and other minerals low in our soil) it is ideal in terms of flavour (interesting but not too strong) and mineral balance. Try Pacific Harvest or Malcolm Harker brands; both in health and gourmet stores. Ordinary salt is taken from mines or sea and so highly refined over extreme heat that it contains nothing but sodium chloride. All other minerals are stripped away, such as potassium and magnesium which help regulate fluid balance and blood pressure. Bleach as a whitener and chemicals to prevent clumping may be added to table salt.

• Soy sauce: can be a fake, unfermented chemical concoction of caramel colouring, artificial additives, wheat and cheap salt. True soy sauce contains nothing artificial and is naturally brewed for two to three years. It is made by fermenting soybeans with the help of a healthful mould (similar to making yoghurt or cheese); roasted grain – usually wheat or barley – for flavour and fermentation, plus salt. ‘Shoyu’ is the Japanese word for true fermented soy sauce. ‘Tamari’ describes naturally brewed soy sauce which does not contain wheat or other grain. In the supermarket look for organic Ceres brand, or plain only Kikkoman (their other varieties usually contain artificial additives including MSG: TIPS).

• Tofu: Use firm tofu for most uses such as chopping or grating. It usually comes in a plastic wrapper in the chilled food section of the supermarket. Use the silken tofu for smoothies, miso soup or in many desserts. Silken tofu is very soft like custard and usually comes in a box.

• Yeast, flaky savoury: this is the yeast used to make Marmite and similar spreads; not the yeast used for bread making. It looks like pale brown chocolate flakes – but there the similarity ends. High in protein, B vitamins, hard-to-obtain chromium and other minerals. High in one of the 5 core tastes: umami, meaning savoury. Imparts a nutty, cheesy flavour. Buy from health stores and some supermarkets.



Allison you could try using the same base for different meals.. like tofu cmalsbre over hashbrowns or make burritos with it and top them with avocado. I like to re-purpose my meals. So I will use a thick chili in collard wraps or ontop of cornbread or even as a sloppy joe. I also use frozen fruits and veggies they are flash frozen so sometimes it’s even fresher than non frozen. This helps a lot and if you are near a Whole Foods they now have frozen kale, collards and turnip greens. I make a lot of grains and beans ahead of time but usually don’t make a dish with them, they are just in the fridge ready to become part of something tasty later

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