When Jeremy and I first started dating, he was on temporary retirement (he was unemployed) and had lots of spare time on his hands, which was great for me. I’d come home exhausted from work and he’d go to my kitchen and whip up a creative meal from whatever happened to be in the cupboard or from whatever random ingredients he had picked up at the store.
Frankly, his haphazard, no-measuring-spoons-needed method of cooking made me a little bit uneasy, but time after time, he’d come up with the most amazing dishes including my all time favorite, Jeremy’s Peanut Butter Pasta (recipe coming soon!).
Unfortunately, Jeremy’s temporary retirement couldn’t last forever and he now works very long days and doesn’t find much time for his old crazy, cooking ways. And here I am trying to move outside my comfort zone, put the cookbooks down, and come up with vegan recipes of my own.
In comes our new favorite game. We’re still working on the name, but for now, we’re calling it “Vegan Recipe Roulette.” On Monday, we played for the first time. We used this online tool to generate 4-5 random ingredients and then challenged ourselves to develop a recipe that incorporated all of them. After rolling a few times for a list that was all vegan, the ingredients we got were alfalfa sprouts, hazelnuts, avocado, cranberries, and lentils.
Now, it says use at least 3 of the ingredients, but we were determined to use all five. So glad that we did, too, because it resulted in these curry burgers which are truly kick-ass. We’d been wanting to make curry burgers for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
We combined the lentils with chickpeas and quinoa to make the base of the burger. Then, added in the usual carrots and onions, plus the cranberries and hazelnuts. I love adding cranberries to Indian dishes in general, so that was an easy decision and I suspected the hazelnuts would give the burgers just the right amount of texture. (I hate when a veggie burger just feels like eating mush!)
For the spread, we blended the avocado with coconut cream, jalapenos, and lemon. I was thinking coconut cream because it’s so often found in curries, but it needed a little something extra and that’s where the lemon and jalapeno came in. Finally, we topped the burgers off with alfalfa sprouts. Hooray! Vegan Recipe Roulette Champions!!!
To say this recipe was a success is an understatement. The burgers turned out better than I could have imagined and Jeremy and I had such a great time making them. We tried something totally new, had a total blast, and got to spend quality time together. It made me think about my very first post and the concept of MORE.
MORE variety. MORE fun. MORE love. MORE kick-ass curry burgers, please!
- For the Burgers
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. curry powder
- ½ tsp. garam masala
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ⅓ cup cilantro
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1¼ cups cooked lentils (about 1 15-oz can)
- ½ cup chickpeas
- 1-2 tbsp. vegetable broth
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
For the Avocado-Coconut Spread
- 1 rip avocado
- 3 tbsp. canned coconut milk
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Burger buns
- Pulse the hazelnuts in a blender until chopped. You don't want crumbs, you want halves and quarter size pieces. Even a few wholes will be okay.
- Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the carrot, cilantro, and spices. Toss to coat and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the quinoa and stir fry for a minute or two longer. Remove from heat and set off to the side.
- Use a blender or food processor to combine the chickpeas and lentils. Add the vegetable broth as needed to get the mixture going. You want it to be pretty close to pureed, but it's okay if a few lentils or chickpeas remain intact.
- In a mixing bowl combine the lentil/chickpea puree with the quinoa/veggie mix, panko bread crumbs, hazelnuts, and cranberries. Mix well and then form into 6 patties. You can cook these on the grill or in a cast-iron skillet. They came out great both ways, but we were able to get the outside a little crispier in the cast-iron skillet.
- To make the avocado-coconut spread, simply blend together all of the ingredients.
- Then, build your burger by adding the spread and alfalfa sprouts. Enjoy!
I think you are going to love these burgers and I also hope this inspires you to spice up your cooking routine. What recipe might you come up with from these ingredients? Are you brave enough to accept the Vegan Recipe Roulette Challenge? Give it a try and let me know how it goes!