Quick vegetarian meals

Green Lifestyle

These two quick recipes by Indian chef Anjum Anand make the perfect Meat-Free Monday meals, harnessing the benefits of using whole spices and fresh ingredients.

Chickpea burgers

Mile-high chickpea burgers with Indian purple coleslaw.

- Advertisement -

Chickpea burgers

These burgers are spicy and deeply satisfying. Put aside any preconceptions of bland, mass-produced bean burgers, these are so much more. The coleslaw really adds vivacity with its texture, freshness and tanginess. The patties also work well made into kebabs and rolled into a wrap with the coleslaw, Tangy Herb Chutney (see Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast) and garlic yogurt.

For the burgers:
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1½ tsp cumin seeds
1 small-ish onion, finely chopped
2 rounded tsp peeled, finely chopped
root ginger
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp garam masala
1½ tsp dried pomegranate powder
(optional but really delicious)
1½ tsp chilli powder
salt (to taste)
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 slices of wholemeal bread, crumbed

For the purple coleslaw:
50g shredded red cabbage
20g finely sliced red onion
30g finely sliced carrots
large handful of chopped coriander leaves
80g mayonnaise (light is fine)
30g Greek yogurt
2 tsp lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

To serve:
4 large, or 6 small, burger buns (I like those with sesame seeds on top)
a few crispy lettuce leaves
1 large vine tomato, sliced

For the burgers, heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and cook for 10–20 seconds, or until they have darkened a little. Add the onion and cook until golden and the edges are beginning to brown. Add the ginger and garlic and cook gently for a minute or until the garlic no longer smells raw. Add the spices, salt and a splash of water and cook down until dry again.

Add the chickpeas and cook for three to four minutes, or until most of the moisture in the pan has dried off. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour just over three-quarters of the contents of the pan into a blender with the breadcrumbs, and blend until smooth. Lightly crush the remaining chickpeas in the saucepan, scrape the blended mixture back into the pan and mix well.

Mix together all the ingredients for the coleslaw and season to taste.

When you are ready to eat, heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan. Make four to six burgers out of the chickpea mixture, making sure the edges are smooth. Place in the pan and cook over a gentle flame for six to eight minutes, turning once, until both sides are lightly browned.

Meanwhile, lightly toast your buns. Assemble the burgers as you prefer, with the coleslaw, lettuce and tomato. Balance the remaining bun half on it all and enjoy.

Makes 4 large burgers, or 6 medium burgers.

Griddled courgette carpaccio, chickpea salsa, pistachio dressing

For the salad:
4 large courgettes (a mix of green & yellow, if possible)
olive oil, to brush
400g can chickpeas, drained well and rinsed
1½ tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
1 scant tbsp roasted ground cumin
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1/3–½ small red onion, finely chopped
salt, to taste
30g coriander (leaves and roots), chopped
75–100g feta cheese

For the pistachio dressing:
2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, peeled
15g pistachios (roasted is fine)
¼ tsp caster sugar
¾–1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar (to taste)
¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper (to taste)

Heat a griddle pan until quite hot. Slice the courgettes on the diagonal into thin slices, no more than ½cm thick. Oil the slices, place on the griddle in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, for three minutes, or until the base has well-charred lines. Turn and repeat on the other side. Repeat with the remaining courgettes. Transfer to a plate as you cook each batch.

As you stand over the griddle, stir together the chickpeas, lemon juice, roasted cumin, tomato and red onion and season to taste.

Blend together all the ingredients for the dressing with 2 tbsp water until smooth; I use a good stick blender, but a mortar and pestle will also work. Adjust the seasoning and vinegar to taste and keep aside.

To assemble, place the courgettes on plates or a platter, slightly overlapping at the edges. Drizzle with the dressing. Mix the coriander into the chickpeas, scatter them over with the feta cheese and serve.

Serves 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a light lunch.

Recipe by Anjum Anand: celebrity chef and author of cookbooks, available where all good books are sold.