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White bean and carrot burgers from Start Simple.
In his fourth cookbook, Start Simple, Lukas Volger highlights myriad uses for 11 core ingredients.
Our cookbook of the week is Start Simple by Lukas Volger , creator of the James Beard Award-winning Jarry magazine. Over the next three days, we’ll feature more recipes from the book and an interview with the author.
When I spoke with Lukas Volger on March 12, he had just returned from the grocery store. Every single one of the 15 bulk bins that had once contained various types of dried beans were empty. “People still constantly ask me how to cook dried beans,” he says, laughing. “It’s not even necessarily a skill that everybody’s got.”
In Start Simple (Harper Wave, 2020), Volger dedicates a chapter to beans — canned and dried — as one of his 11 essential ingredients. He covers soaking and salting, and offers helpful tips for using bean broth. In inviting recipes for bakes, chilli, dips and salads, and bean-topped polenta and garlic toast, they’re undeniably the main event.
If you’re lucky enough to have white beans (like cannellini, canned or dried) on hand, his carrot burgers are a perfect example of how tasty pantry cooking can be. Requiring little else than long-life vegetables (carrots, shallots or an onion) and shelf-stable staples, it comes together simply.
Volger ran a veggie burger business for about four years, and his first book, Veggie Burgers Every Which Way (The Experiment, 2010), delivered on its title with more than 30 recipes. This white bean and carrot burger, he says, is probably the easiest one he’s ever made.
“A lot of times you have to bust out the food processor or there are various components that need to be cooked differently, and this one comes together in one skillet,” says Volger. “To me, what’s always been exciting about veggie burgers is that potential for them to be an expression of vegetables, rather than trying to approximate the flavour of meat. So I’m always leading with the vegetable flavour, and in this case it’s the carrot.”
He likes to serve the patties as you would a traditional burger — in a bun, or sandwiched between slices of bread — or as a vegetable “cake” alongside a salad. But any way you choose to eat them, “now is the time to shine with all those beans.”
WHITE BEAN AND CARROT BURGERS
1/2 cup (28 g) panko
3 shallots, or 1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) grated carrots (from 2 medium carrots)
1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) apple cider vinegar
Two 15-oz (425-g) cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed (see note)
1 egg, beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
Burger accompaniments (see note)
Heat 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or plate, then return the pan to the heat.
Add 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil to the skillet, followed by the onion. Cook until softened and lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, and carrots and stir frequently until the carrots are soft and a bit blistered, another 8 to 10 minutes. Deglaze with the vinegar, scraping up all the browned bits until the pan is dry. Remove from the heat and add the toasted panko and beans. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to very coarsely mash the mixture until a bit pasty and the mixture coheres in places — there should still be plenty of beans intact. Stir in the egg. Shape into 4 patties (a 4-inch/10-cm ring mould or biscuit cutter makes this quick and easy) or 10 to 12 sliders.
To cook the veggie burgers, heat a thin layer of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat and carefully cook until browned and slightly firm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes per side. It may be necessary to cook in batches. Serve hot or at room temperature, with accompaniments as desired.
Makes: 4 burgers
Notes: If you’re using beans you’ve cooked yourself from dried, one can (14-16 oz) is the equivalent of 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) cooked beans, so you’ll need 3 cups (750 mL) for these burgers.
I like to serve them traditionally, between buns with traditional burger fixings, but I also like them as something of a vegetable “cake” that functions as the perfect accompaniment to a green salad. I even like them as picnic and car trip food served at room temperature — I sandwich the patties between slices of good bread with some mashed avocado, a slather of mustard and a few pieces of lettuce.
From the book Start Simple by Lukas Volger. Copyright © 2020 by Lukas Volger. Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020