Sunday, 1 March 2015

Quinoa and Bean Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

I wanted to do yummy, healthy, good-for-you alternatives to beef-burgers, and this is what I came up with. Soooo tasty and pretty easy to make too! With the added benefit of being high in fibre and protein and low in calories and fat :)

Quinoa is a pseudocereal, which means it isn't a true cereal: true cereals are from the grass family, and although quinoa is used in the same way as a cereal, it isn't from the grass family. It's a good source of protein, B-vitamins, zinc, phosphorus, iron and magnesium as well as containing a moderate amount of potassium and vitamin E. It's also a good source of fibre and is gluten free.

First off, about cannellini beans: if you get the dried ones, you have to be SO careful to cook them properly - they need to be soaked in water for 5 hours or overnight and then vigorously boiled in fresh clean water for about half an hour to deactivate the toxin (called phytohaemagglutinin, which is a lectin - carbohydrate-binding protein). If this is done incorrectly, food poisoning may occur: nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Consumption of just 5 incorrectly cooked beans can cause this. If the beans are cooked, but don't reach 100C for at least 20 minutes, (for example in a slow cooker where they may be cooked for 6 hours but only reach 80C), the toxicity can actually increase, so it's very important to get it right! I just use canned beans, they're already cooked so you don't have to worry about any of that - much easier!

In other bean news, cannellini beans are high in fibre, rich in protein and low in fat; they're a good source of B vitamins, magnesium potassium, calcium and iron. Their soluble fibre content means they can reduce your LDL cholesterol level thus playing a part in preventing heart disease. They also contain some antioxidants, which may help to prevent some types of cancer.

The red peppers and sweetcorn provide heaps of vitamin C as well, so basically these burgers are super high in fibre, low in fat and contain so much nutrition. Serving them with sweet potato fries also adds loads of Vitamin A and antioxidants as well as potassium and fibre. Such a healthy meal!

If you want these to be vegan, you can leave out the egg or add a bit of almond milk to bind it together.

Quinoa & White Bean Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp basil
1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 small tin of sweetcorn, drained
1/2 a red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 a red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 small or 1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (or another tsp garlic powder)
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp flour (any kind)

Serving ideas:
wholemeal baps
1 avocado, mashed
red onion rings
tomato slices
rocket leaves
red pepper relish
red pesto
Sliced cheddar
Goat's cheese

Sweet Potato Fries
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunky chips
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cayenne pepper


  1. Put the quinoa, water, garlic powder and 1 tsp basil into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 mins until the water is all absorbed. Remove lid for last 5 minutes if necessary. 
  2. Meanwhile, chop your veg very finely - so they're about the same size pieces as the corn kernels. 
  3. Mash the beans and mix in with sweetcorn, red onion, red pepper, chilli, tomato purée, garlic, herbs and spices. Mix in the quinoa well. Add the lemon juice and mix well. 
  4. Add the beaten egg and mix well. Add in the flour. Season with freshly ground black pepper. 
  5. Heat some oil in a frying pan. To make the burgers, I just scooped a couple of tbsp of mixture on the pan and shaped it into a relatively burger-like shape right on there. 
  6. Allow too cook for about 5 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side for 5 minutes more. 
  7. Serve on a bun/bap of your choice with whatever toppings you like and some sweet potato fries.
For the sweet potato fries:
  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Peel the sweet potato and chop into chunky wedges. 
  2. Place the wedges in a ziplock bag. Add in the olive oil, cornflour and spices. Shake to coat well. 
  3. Spread wedges evenly onto a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 mins, turning once midway through.