When I’m traveling I always take advantage of the diversity of food options available. I will admit that sometimes I go a little crazy doing research on vegetarian-friendly restaurants, but I know it’s worth it. I knew from the moment I started researching Cape Town restaurants (my husband and I planned our honeymoon in South Africa) that I hit the jackpot. Bootlegger Coffee Company was a must-visit the moment I saw the menu – it is renowned for its coffee and has a variety of salads and sandwiches on the menu. We happened to go there one afternoon after a few hours of travel and were ravenous. Now, everyone knows I love veggie burgers (unless they’re fried… then not really). Case in point: my mexican veggie burgers and chickpea spinach burgers. So I HAD to get the zucchini-carrot-chickpea-feta burger. It lived up to all my dreams and expectations and was worth every minute of waiting. I’ve been waiting to recreate this one and here it is, finally – the recipe for my zucchini veggie burgers.
These burgers can easily be made vegan by skipping the feta and they’re inherently gluten-free. You may need to use some oat flour or breadcrumbs (see recipe) for binding, but that depends on your ability to squeeze out all the liquid from the carrot and zucchini. At first I thought that squeezing all that juice out and discarding it might be wasteful of me but then I looked up the nutrients in the juices. Carrot juice’s nutritional properties are fairly well-known: it’s rich in Vitamin A and antioxidants. But zucchini juice… that was a new one for me. It’s a good source of magnesium, potassium and Vitamin C. I was skeptical about its taste, but I squeezed a wedge of lemon and added water to it – it makes for a refreshing drink!
I served the zucchini veggie burgers with an easy-to-make lazy tzatziki – just a few tablespoons of yogurt whisked with a tablespoon of chopped spring onion – and lots of fresh veggies.
- 2 medium or 3 small carrots (about 150 g)
- ¾ large zucchini or 1 medium zucchini (about 250 g)
- 200g soaked and boiled chickpeas
- 100g cooked quinoa
- 60g feta cheese (skip this if you're vegan)
- 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Salt, to taste
- ½ tsp black pepper or to taste
- ¼ tsp cumin powder
- 1tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp red chilli powder or to taste
- Peel and grate the carrots. Squeeze out the excess juice from the carrots. Conserve this separately.
- Grate the zucchini. Squeeze out the excess juice from this as well. This is important otherwise the patties may not bind together. Conserve this juice separately (see blog post for more on this).
- In a blender/mixer, add the zucchini, carrots, chickpeas, garlic, red chilli powder, cumin, pepper, salt and lemon juice and until the chickpeas are mashed and the mixture is somewhat uniform. You can also use a masher but blending saves time.
- Stir in the quinoa and feta into the mixture.
- Heat a nonstick pan on low heat. Form burger patties from this mixture, about 2.5-3 inches in diameter and cook on the pan about 5-7 minutes on each side. Keep the gas on low-medium heat to ensure it cooks through and both sides are browned.
- If your patties don't hold together, you can add corn flour (cornstarch), ground oats or breadcrumbs to the mixture at the last stage i.e. when forming the patties. They all serve the purpose of absorbing the moisture and holding the patties together.
- Serve with bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc. or by itself with a simple yogurt-spring onion sauce.