Man-thing and I took out my little sister on Sunday to a burger “restaurant” to munch, play, and draw dinosaurs. Unfortunately she got distracted with her princess colouring book, so we ended up drawing Disney characters, but I still have high hopes for dinosaurs featuring big in her childhood. As for the burgers, she confided in me a while back that they were her favourite junk food (which is why we went to the most burger of joints), but she ended up eating some nuggets, because children are contrary! Eating burgers in South Africa is a bit sad because the place we went to doesn’t have vegan buns, and I’m too terrified to ask about what kind of oil they use to fry the chips, so I end up with a solitary soy patty and a listless salad. I’m happy to pre-eat if it means my sister gets to feel a little bit special and gets attention away from her little brother, but that experience made me even more determined to make my own burgers.
Making burger patties can be kind of discouraging, however, when you only get a handful out of a salad-bowl worth of ingredients, so I decided to try out some burger-looking fritters. Beetroot is fabulous as a burger ingredient because it adds colouring and a flavourful edge, and I’ve had roaring success with Susan’s beetballs. I didn’t have quinoa on hand this time round, however, and wanted to try out a new, grain and nut free recipe. These fritters are therefore much ‘lighter’ than the usual fare, but the awesome nutty rice sauce makes up for that.
Oh, and these appetizer nibbles happen to be my submission for the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck, hosted by the awesome Bunny Kitchen, An Unrefined Vegan, and Canned Time! Check out any one of those links for more info. What could be more cheer than a bunch of nom links to activate one’s sense of taste and inspiration?
1. Mini veggie fritters(adapted and based on these by the Healthy Foodie) : makes 19-20 small balls
- 1/2 head medium cauliflower
- 1 medium carrot, grated (approx 1/2 cup)
- 1 medium beetroot, grated
- 1/4 cup flax powder
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- spices (I used smoked paprika, nutmeg, paprika and white pepper)
- handful basil leaves, chopped
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 tsp mustard
NOTE: If you’re going to make the zucchini crisp “buns” then start prep for those whilst your mini veggie fritters are baking.
- Preheat to 180C and prepare a sprayed & lined baking tray.
- In yer food processor, blend up the cauliflower until it’s rice-like/textured.
- Mix with the other ingredients in a bowl and then form heaped TBSP-sized balls with your hands. You should get approximately 19 mini fritters.
- Flatten and place on the baking tray. Bake for 12 minutes, flip, then bake for 15-20 minutes more, until golden/crispy on top. Please take note that my oven is broken so times may vary – check your fritters!
- NB! Keep the oven on for the next part of the dish – the crispy coated zucchini!
2. Zucchini buns:
- 1 large zucchini, sliced into 1cm thick rounds
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1 tsp fennel
- LOTS of paprika
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 TBSP sesame oil (for frying)
- Prepare a plate with your dry ingredients mixed and your milk in a flat container.
- Dunk your slices in the milk then dab them in the flour mix on each side til coated. Repeat with all slices.
- Place your slices on the baking tray used for the fritters (you can spray them with non-stick once more if you like).
- Bake for 10 minutes a side until browned/grilled.
- Heat up your pan to medium-high heat. Add sesame oil, then fry your slices for 5 minutes on each side with the lid on. The should get nice and crispy!
- 1 mini green cabbage, shredded
- 1 small carrot, grated
- 1 medium beetroot, grated
- 2 small spring onions, diced finely
- 1 TBSP tamari sauce (or GF sauce of choice)
- ginger spice, smoked paprika
- On the same pan (with the same sesame seed oil residue from the zucchini “buns”) water saute the veggies til they’re nice and cooked.
- Add spices and sauce and fold to combine. Set aside.
4. Nutty rice sauce
- 1/2 cup leftover brown rice
- 3-4 TBSP non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp tahini
- 1 tsp peanut butter
- splash lemon juice
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- ginger, nutmeg, white pepper
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend til smooth-ish. Add more spices to taste.
So there you have it! A fun lunch or appetizer – you can dunk the sauce, filling and fritters into something more substantial if you like, such as a tortilla wrap or a pita, but I love the crisp of lettuce, especially if I’m not feeling at my best. I’ve been off sick the past two days so my eating habits have been 100% dictated by my rebellious body. This means a lot of boring soup and toast, hence why I didn’t participate in WIAW as I’d wanted to. Whilst appetizers may not strike one as comfort food, the little burger bites went a long way to cheering me up, just because I love fun nibbles that make one feel decadent with minimal effort 🙂
Speaking of cheer, today is my friend and former colleague Marmiet’s birthday! 😀 Huzzah! To celebrate I’ll be sharing a cake tomorrow (virtual for all except my aunt & grandmother, who are coming to visit). I had wanted to post about her cake today but the winter light is fickle and has faded too far for photography, so keep an eye out for “your” cake tomorrow, Marmiet!