Discover more from We Ate Well
Lukas Volger's Spicy Carrot and Peanut Burgers
Plus Resistant Starch Fries
Know what you can find at a McDonald’s in India? Delicious veggie burgers. No dry beans or bland vegetables here. Instead, try the McAloo Tikki - a potato patty with spices that sing, McSpicy Paneer (say no more) and I kid you not, the Dosa Masala Burger - again a potato patty but flavored predominantly with turmeric and a molagapudi chutney mayo. There is also the generic but still pleasing McVeggie (which I believe is also available in London). Now I’m not necessarily endorsing McDonald’s on v8well, but those guys have figured out what makes plant-based burgers great. We’re not talking imitation-meat here - that’s a different category altogether; but rather, how to make a patty from plant-based ingredients, that’s moist and flavorful enough to stand out between the lettuce, tomato and buns.
In the US, most brands tend to overdo the beans - there are few things more unappetizing than a dry black bean patty; or they have the right intentions with vegetables, but no sense of flavoring! The Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burger is probably the best on shelves (no surprises here - you gotta draw inspiration from India), and the Dr. Praeger’s California veggie burger is quite good as well.
Into this veggie burger desert comeswith the second edition of Veggie Burgers Every Which Way (thanks to for the recommendation!). Just flipping through the book got me excited - here were an array of exciting possibilities and combinations that didn’t skimp on flavor and were not trying to be fake meat when they grew up. You’ll get multiple options in every category - beans and grains, tofu and tempeh, and my favorite - vegetables, along with sides and condiments. I’ve made these Spicy Carrot and Peanut Burgers twice and they are addictive. I’ve also got my eye on the Curried Eggplant + Tomato Burgers and the Red Lentil + Celeriac for the winter.
Spicy Carrot and Peanut Burgers
(Adapted with permission from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way, 2nd Edition, by Lukas Volger. Published by The Experiment)
Makes 4 [6-inch] patties or 6-8 smaller ones
1 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp olive oil, more if needed
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter (unsweetened and unsalted)
1/2 cup/30g panko breadcrumbs - I made my own by pulsing a slice of Ezekiel Bread to crumbs and then dry toasting the crumbs in the air-fryer at 300F/150C for about 5 minutes. You can also use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
1 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon - the cinnamon stands out in this recipe in a good way but feel free to use less
Vegan option: 28g mashed potato plus 1 tsp potato starch or cornstarch
PS: I tried both options and they turned out great. I’d like to try using chickpea flour as a binder next time.
4 thinly sliced scallions or 1/4 large onion, diced
1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 serrano pepper or jalapeno, thinly sliced and seeded to taste
4 cups/360g grated carrots (~8 medium carrots) - the second time I made this recipe I didn’t have enough carrots so I used some thinly sliced red bell pepper to make up the difference. I think other grated veggies would work too - eg, daikon radish or beets
Zest of 1 lime or lemon and juice of 1/2, more juice if needed
1/4 cup/15g chopped fresh cilantro
Heat a large frying pan for which you have a lid, over medium heat. When hot, add one Tbsp olive oil and scallions or onions. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and chiles and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the carrots, salt and all the spices and give it a good mix. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until carrots have softened. Let cool.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the egg (or mashed potato+starch), peanut butter, lime juice and zest. (For the vegan option, I diluted the peanut butter with the lime juice first and then added in the mashed potato - it’s less ‘whisking’ and more mixing.)
Add the carrot mixture and cilantro into the bowl and mix well to incorporate. Stir in the breadcrumbs and let sit for about 10 minutes to soak up some of the moisture. Shape into patties to the size desired - you will get 4 large or 6-8 smaller ones.
To make the burgers, heat the same pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp oil (or 1 Tbsp at a time if working in batches). When hot, place the patties gently into the pan without over-crowding, working in batches if needed. Cook until brown and crisp on the bottom, 5-7 minutes, then flip carefully and cook the other side. (I’m going to try this step in the air-fryer next time, after mixing in the oil within the patties).
I served these as a burger salad over greens, cucumber and tomato the first time. The second time it was a pita burger with greens, hummus, Greek yogurt and harissa. So good!
If you enjoyed this recipe and want to add more veggie burgers to your rotation, check out the book on Amazon here and Bookshop.org here. Get a recipe for a special stone fruit salad here and don’t forget to subscribe to Lukas’s newsletter Family Friend by Lukas Volger .
Resistant Starch Fries
Did you know that there was a lower-glycemic way to enjoy your French fries? Cook and cool potatoes for several hours (ideally overnight) and reheat to serve. Potatoes served this way build up resistant starch that functions like fiber in your body. This technique also applies to white rice, oats, raw bananas and other foods.
There are 2 ways to do this when it comes to fries - either cool the finished fries and give them a quick air-fry before serving, or blanch the cut potatoes for a few minutes, rinse and chill before air-frying or baking.
For those of you who will not accept any potato substitutes, this is a great way to have your potatoes and eat them too. For those that might enjoy other stand-in veggies, I suggest the Jicama Fries from The Vegetarian Reset (page 161)
Cut your potatoes about 3 inches/7.5cm long and 1/2 inch/1.5cm wide.
Method 1 - Rinse in cold water and pat dry. Toss with a little olive oil, ground turmeric, fine sea salt and cracked black pepper. Air-fry for 10 minutes at 400F/200C, tossing every 2-3 minutes. Refrigerate 4-5 hours or overnight. To reheat, air-fry for 1-2 minutes at 400F/200C [Oven: 450F/225C for 15 mins].
Method 2 - Add the cut potatoes to a pot of boiling water, and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they’re softened just a touch. Rinse with cold water and refrigerate 4-5 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, toss with a little olive oil, ground turmeric, fine sea salt and cracked black pepper. Air-fry for 10 minutes at 400F/200C [Oven: 450F/225C for 15 mins], tossing every 2-3 minutes.
I hope these recipes make their way into your end-of-summer plans! I will be back after Labor day with more good things. Wishing you good times, good eats and good weather! XOXO
PS: Thank you to all those who filled out my meal plan survey! I’m obsessing over your suggestions as I develop these recipes for January. If you missed last week’s post and want in on weeknight-friendly dinner recipes like this grilled paneer, pepper and eggplant salad, please take this short survey by clicking the button below (just 10 questions).