When we used to live in Camden we loved going to Hache, a burger restaurant to match no other. Back then my favourite was the blue cheese – I probably never even gave a glance to the vegetarian menu. Oh how times have changed, eh? It’s fine though because through broadening my horizons I have chanced upon some seriously lovely alternatives to the beef burger, this being one of them.
I didn’t discover it on a veggie website either – it was Martha Stewart to the rescue! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; don’t restrict yourself to vegan/veggie websites or blogs. The omnivore world is catching on and they want to take part in veggie meals too and have some superb ideas that can compete with any meat dish. How can you not love Martha? I definitely want her in my life and the fact that she championed VeganYumYum’s AMAZING knit night cupcakes makes me like her even more.
You know, thinking about Martha and cooking makes me want to have my permanent home and kitchen right now. Sigh! Soon enough, soon enough:) In the meantime PeaSoup is ‘A home cooking weblog from a tiny kitchen in Solihull’ – doesn’t sound quite as glamorous as Smitten Kitchen’s New York location but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this little Midlands town, which is very green and very sweet. I’m particularly loving the olde worlde buildings in the town centre. The name Solihull brought images of an industrial town so this was a welcome surprise.
The important thing about this recipe is to not eliminate two very important components – the avocado and the ciabatta bread. The avocado sauce, which one could argue is just a guacamole (and it pretty much is) is essential in making this burger not just good but great. I’ve also discovered that what I loved about Hache was not the meat but the fact that they used fantastically chewy ciabatta that could cope with all the juices and not fall apart in your hands. Therefore, if you can find ciabatta, use it! If, however, all you can get your hands on is burger buns be sure to toast them lest they disintegrate whilst you’re eating.
As for the sweet potato fries? Well, who needs encouragement to eat those!
portobello mushroom burger
2 large portobello mushrooms
salt and pepper
2 slices tofutti dairy free mozzarella cheese (f.y.i. vegans – this stuff rocks!)
2 ciabatta rolls
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.
Remove the stalk form the mushrooms and gently wipe them. Place in a baking dish, season, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Bake in oven for 30-40mins.
1 large avocado
2 spring onions
1/2 green chilli
1 tbsp chopped parsley
juice 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
Scoop out the flesh of the avocado into a bowl. Mash with the back of a fork.
Finely chop spring onions, chilli and parsley. Add to bowl along with avocado, season generously and squeeze in the lemon juice.
Mix thoroughly and place in fridge until ready to use.
sweet potato fries
2 sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper
Wash and dry the sweet potatoes – no need to peel.
Chop into long, medium sized slices. Drizzle with Olive oil (just enough to coat otherwise they will not crisp up and remain soggy), sprinkle over cumin, chilli and season. Toss the fries in the oil and spices ensuring they are evenly coated.
Bake in oven for 30mins, turning them occassionally.
About 10mins before everything is ready pop the ciabatta rolls into the oven. When they are ready halve, place a slice of tofutti mozzarella cheese on the bottom half and grill until melted:
Spread the avocado sauce on the other ciabatta half and assemble….
….to the bottom half add salad leaves, mushroom and top with the ciabatta spread with avocado. Serve hot with the crispy sweet potato fries.