Publishers send me a lot of books to review, and quite a number of them are nice enough but not dissimilar to every other veggie cookbook on the market. But now and again a book just blows me away, and by the time I’ve reached the end almost every page has a post-it-note on it saying “try this”.
Anna Jones’ ‘A Modern Way to Eat’* is one of those books. It is now firmly in my top three go-to cookbooks when I’m looking for an idea for dinner, (along with Veg Every Day!* and Leon: Fast Vegetarian*).
Anna Jones started out in the kitchen at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and is now a cook, food stylist and writer. And it is just that combination of stunning styling and photography, witty and descriptive writing and a simplicity and economy in the recipes that makes you think “ooh, I think I’ll have that for dinner” at the turn of every page.
Many of the recipes are vegan, and others have dairy-free alternatives suggested where possible. There is also both a gluten-free and vegan index at the back of the book for easy reference.
Many thanks to Anna and publishers Harper Collins for permission to share this recipe with you. A veggie-burger recipe isn’t necessarily representative of the rest of the book, but just looked too tempting to pass by and perfect for a crowd-pleasing supper with friends.
Vegan (except if topped with cheese, as in the photograph)
- Olive oil
- 6 big portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped into little bits
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 x 400g tin of white beans, haricot or cannellini, well drained
- 4 fat medjool dates, pitted
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- A small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 200g cooked and cooled brown rice (100g raw weight) (Kate's note: I used a microwave-bag of pre-cooked brown basmati with quinoa here to save time and it worked well!)
- 50g breadcrumbs or oats
- Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- To serve:
- 1-2 Avocados, peeled and sliced
- Tomato relish or ketchup
- Pickled cucumber
- A few handfuls of spinach leaves
- 8 seeded burger buns
- Get a large pan on a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Once the pan is good and hot, add the mushrooms and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Fry on a good heat until the mushrooms have dried out and are slightly browned, then set to one side and leave to cool.
- Next, drain the white beans and put them in a food processor with the dates, garlic, tahini and soy sauce. Pulse until you have a smoothish mixture, then transfer to a bowl and add the rice, breadcrumbs, lemon zest and the cooled mushrooms. Mix well, then put in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up.
- Once cooled, divide the mixture into 8 portions and shape into 8 patties. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and pop into the fridge until needed. (This can be done the day before - and the burgers freeze well at this point).
- Preheat your oven to 230C / fan 210C / gas mark 8 and bake the burgers for 15 minutes, until nicely brown. If you like cheese on your burger, pop a slice on top a couple of minutes before they come out of the oven.
- While your burgers are cooking, get your toppings ready. I go with avocado, tomato relish and a quick cucumber pickle, plus a few spinach leaces. Hummus, grated carrot and sprouts is another favourite, but feel free to improvise and try it your own way.
- Once the burgers are golden, toast your buns and layer up your burgers. I like to serve them with sweet potato fries. You can't beat a burger and chips, and these ones are as healthy as they are tasty.
*Please note that these are Amazon affiliate links – I will receive a small commission if you order any of these books via this link.