Quinoa, Beetroot and Date Burger

Despite the presence of chilli, this is by no means a spicy burger. What the chilli does here is balance the sweetness of the dates and the bulk of the quinoa. If your pallet is sensitive then you might notice it, otherwise you will not. This is a very earthy burger that is also vibrant in colour, due to the beetroot, which is grated raw into the mix. The sweetness comes from dates and coconut nectar (which you can replace with maple syrup if that’s easier to get hold of).
The final mix is quite soft, so I would recommend putting the final patties in the freezer for at least a couple of hours before cooking them, to help them retain their shape. I froze mine overnight and they held their shape perfectly.
I’ve kept the recipe entirely gluten-free, but if you have no such issues then you can use any bread you like for both the mixture and final bread rolls. A word of warning here: not all gluten-free bread is vegan, even though it may say dairy-free. Some contain eggs, so make sure you read the packaging.
For the burger salad I’ve chosen pan-fried thin strips of courgette, to which I added a little sea salt and dried sage. I also used pea shoots instead of lettuce, which I found in Morrisons with the rest of the salad items. The dressing is a very simple vegan mayo with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, but if ketchup is your thing, then go for that.


Prep time: 20 minutes (plus freezing time). Cooking time: 20 minutes.
Makes 8-10 patties.

Gluten Free

For the Burgers:
150g raw quinoa, washed and cooked according to packet instructions
200g Mejool dates, pitted
1 large, mild, red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 tsp dried sage
1 tbsp smoky chipotle sauce (or your favourite sweet chilli sauce). I got mine from the chilli sauce section of Sainsbury’s
4 tbsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 tbsp coconut nectar (or maple syrup)
2 raw beetroot bulbs, peeled and grated
100g gram (chickpea) flour
150g gluten-free (and vegan) bread, blended into crumbs
1 tsp salt
Sprinkle of black pepper
Olive oil for frying
8 gluten-free (and vegan) bread rolls

For the Salad:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 courgette, thinly sliced lengthways
½ tsp dried sage
Pinch sea salt
Enough pea shoots (or other lettuce) for 8 burgers
4 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Once your quinoa is cooked, set aside and leave to cool.
Put the dates, chilli, dried sage, chipotle sauce, tamari and coconut nectar into a blender. Add a couple of tablespoons of cold water to help facilitate blending, and then blitz until fairly smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, put the grated beetroot and cooled quinoa. Add the blended dates and then mix together. Add the gram flour, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.
Shape into 8-10 burger shapes and place onto greaseproof paper. Freeze for at least two hours or preferably overnight.
When they are ready to cook preheat the oven to gas 6/200C/400F. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the burgers, 2-3 at a time, for about 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Place the fried burgers on a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes to finish off.
Once your frying pan is empty, heat two more tablespoons of olive oil and fry the courgette slices for a couple of minutes on each side. You may need to do this in batches and you want them soft but not too coloured. Season with salt and a little dried sage while cooking.
To make the dressing mix the mayonnaise and mustard together in a small bowl.
Serve the burgers on the buns with the pea shoots, courgettes and mustard mayo.

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