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
- 200 g 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!)
- 50 g 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.