Friday, 27 February 2015

Sticking together

First I was a carnivore, then I was a vegetarian and now I'm a vegetarian who eats meat. I know that a vegetarian, or even better, a vegan diet is better for the planet, from so many angles; all the land required for livestock farming, the water that gets used up, the pollution it causes and the deforestation. The Vegetarian Society reckons the average UK carnivore will eat 11,000 animals in a lifetime. That seems an awfully large amount of living creatures to me.

We all have our reasons for eating the way that we do, but you don't need to be a rocket scientist to see that a mainly plant-based diet makes good sense all round - planetary and monetary. 

For us, a diet without any meat doesn't seem to be an option right now. I started eating meat again after 15 years of vegetarianism because Daughter had been a very poorly, underweight baby who needed to put on weight. (I wrote something about of her story here). Meat was part of the solution. Nowadays she's not poorly or underweight and some of us would be happy to live without meat again, completely. Except for Son. He eats constantly and is growing rapidly and seems to really crave meat occasionally. I'm sure we're not the only ones who don't buy much meat but who, when we do, try to make a more ethical purchase.

And when we don't buy meat, which is most of time, I try to cook veggie things that will appeal to the 11 year old carnivore, like veggie burgers that actually stick together rather than to the bottom of the frying pan. I speak as someone who has not had much success with them in the past.



I really like this recipe which I found somewhere out there on the internet. The trick seems to be to have a gloopy mixture into which you mix something more solid (in this case, rice). The recipe is for mushroom burgers but it's a forgiving recipe, and as long as you've got a mixture of gloopy and not so gloopy, I think you could swap ingredients around a bit to suit your own preferences.  The first time I made it I used less mushrooms. The second time I used chickpeas instead of haricot beans, and I forgot all about the dates. Both times it worked well.

Mushroom burgers

The gloopy part:
6 big mushrooms
1 tin haricot beans
4 dried dates
parlsley, thyme
2 cloves garlic
2 tbspn tahini
2 tbspn soy sauce

The not so gloopy part:
100g uncooked rice
50g breadcrumbs or oats
lemon zest 


  1. Boil the rice in double the amount of water to rice.
  2. Fry the mushrooms and thyme. Season according to taste.
  3. Blend the beans, dates, garlic, parsley, tahini, and soy sauce. Add the mushrooms.
  4. Once the rice is cooked mix everything together.
  5. Leave to cool in the fridge to firm up for 10 minutes.
  6. Make 8 patties. Lightly fry on each side or cook at Gas Mark 7 for 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with all your favourite burgery stuff.



16 comments:

  1. My heart tells me that we should eat less meat, but in reality, it's very difficult to achieve in our house. Whilst we all love vegetables, and eat a lot of them, we still feel any dish lacks something if there is no meat there. Add into the equation a husband with very serious health problems who having lost so much weight and muscle tone, needs tons of protein and is not a fan of cheese or fish, and I am left scratching my head. He does like mushrooms though, so I'll give this recipe a go.
    When I buy meat, I try to buy it more ethically and make it go further. I can get away with the odd meatless meal, and usually have a vegetarian dish if we are eating out. But it's an ongoing conundrum for me.

    Stella

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    1. Good to hear from you Stella. You've got a very good reason for eating meat at yours - with such health concerns you could be forgiven for throwing ethical concerns out of the window, so I admire you for still being so thoughtful around meat consumption.

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  2. I was surprised to see dates as an ingredient. Do you notice the sweetness?

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    1. Because they're all blended up in the gloopy part you don't notice the sweetness. I wondered why they were in the recipe - for colour maybe, and stickiness?

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  3. We did predominantly eat white meat (fish and chicken) and mainly in stir-fry's which are largely vegetables. But as my sons hit puberty the meat cravings were dreadful. I have introduced lamb into our diet, because in the UK we have lots of hill farm areas where nothing else could be farmed. Also sheep are one animal that can't be mucked around with, so you know they are reared outdoors. Lamb is more expensive, but I think it shows what the true cost of meat would be if it wasn't 'battery' farmed.

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    1. Interesting to hear your sons were the same when it came to meat, and good to hear your thoughts on lamb.

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  4. Hmmm... I always add an egg to my veggie burgers to get them to stick together. Though, I suppose depending on how seriously you want to take the "veggie" part that could disqualify them.

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    1. I've added egg to stuff in the past, but that's just seemed to make the mixture more runny and more likely to stick to the pan...

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  5. that sounded good other than the dates.....I don't have to have meat either.

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    1. The dates aren't noticeable taste-wise, and the recipe worked perfectly well without them!

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  6. We try and have 2 to 3 meat free days each week, most of these meals are based on rice. It is my way to cut back and help the planet, not a big thing, but if more people did it.

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    1. You're quite right - if everybody cut back on meat consumption it would make a big difference.

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  7. I have been vegetarian in the past, but my skinny husband did not thrive on it and I'm not going to make two different meals. Like you, we have lots of meat-free meals and when we have meat it is carefully sourced. Ethical, grassfed, organic, etc. And not in huge amounts.

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    Replies
    1. Loving your blog! It's a definitely a blog to make the mouth water...

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  8. We have a compromise veggie diet; we don't buy or cook meat but if someone serves it to us when we're out, we will eat it (figuring it's better for the environment to eat what is served). I will try those veggie burgers; I haven't had any luck with past recipes.

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  9. These look delicious. I just bought some mushrooms that were on sale. I think I'll try this recipe on Monday..just omitting the dates (i'm thinking they will add some sweetness, which I'm not crazy about). Thanks so much for sharing!

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