Recently I ran across these two recipes for Italian Panelle and Veggie Burgers. The burgers I’ve been making for awhile because they’re so cheap, easy and last for a long time. All that makes up for the Panelle, which takes awhile to cook but is SO worth it! If you’re looking for a quicky weeknight meal, I highly recommend the Veggie bean bugers, found on one of my absolute favorite sites from across the pond Frugal Feeding. The Panelle is found on a new blog that has some really interesting recipes on it as well, The Traveller’s Lunchbox. Both are really inspiring and I highly recommend you check them out.
What You Need:
1 can of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
Around 1 tsp of cayenne (more or less depending on how spicy you like it; I accidentally dumped WAY to much in)
1 tsp of ground cumin
2 tsp of dried oregano
What You Do:
Drain the beans and mash them together in a bowl. I leave mine not too mashed because I like the consistency of the beans.
Add the cayenne, cumin, oregano and a couple handfuls of bread crumbs. They help the beans stick together in a patty shape.
Make them into burger patties (this is the fun messy part)
Using a bit of oil, lightly fry each side so that they stick firmly together. I sprinkle some extra bread crumbs on the outside for good measure.
Messiness – Really messy, but messy in a fun way. The way that you used to knead dough with your mom when you were a kid. Really though, it’s quite self-contained, you’ll just get your hands a bit dirty.
Simplicity – I think anything that requires minimal cooking and fool proof to be very simple. With the exception of the light cooking, you’re good to go.
Budget – If you’ve got the spices, all you need are two cans of beans, which you may already have as well. For me, this costs $2, makes 8 patties which feeds me for days.
Delicious Factor – Since you can basically make them taste any way you want, of course they’re delicious!
What You Need:
2 cups of Besan/Chickpea Flour/Gram Powder (this is sold at Indian stores for about $2 for a large bag; the hardest part is finding the store)
3 cups of water
1 rounded teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh Rosemary (I used dried and deeply regretted it)
Oil for frying
Lemon Juice and freshly ground pepper for serving
What You Do:
Oil two large baking sheets. I only needed one and a quarter, but it was still over one. Also, only lightly oil it, you’re going to fry it anyway so don’t wast your oil on the baking sheet.
Whisk the flour, water, salt and Rosemary in a medium sauce pan, and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly. It will take a couple minutes to thicken but once it does, it happens quickly, so keep stirring. You want the consistency of a thick porridge. During this time, try to get any lumps out, and making it uniformly thick.
As soon as it thickens, quickly pour it onto the pans, flatten the top, and let it cool. (it was during this time that I made the burgers above)
Once cool, cut the hardened (still a bit soft though) mixture into triangles or rectangles that will be easy for you to fry (about 2-3 inches).
Fry them, and put them on paper towels so the excess oil drains out.
To sever, sprinkle with lemon juice and black pepper OR sugar (brown, white, powdered, whatever) and dip in syrup.
Messiness – Everything’s done fairly quickly so there’s no mess.
Simplicity – If you’re trying to make the jump from amateur cook to intermediate, this is a great recipe to try. Things move quickly and you’re required to fry, so it takes some skill, but is still a cinch. It is a bit time consuming though, since you have to wait for it to cool and fry it. You also have to go on a mini mission to find the flour, which makes you feel like a grown-up cook too.
Budget – Pretty cheap. Like I said, once you find the flour, it’s cheap, and rosemary isn’t too expensive either. You can make this for around $5 and it will make many, many batches. It’s also a perfect, cheap, but seemingly gourmet (mostly because it’s foreign) appetizer.
Delicious Factor – 5/5. It’s basically a churro, only much easier to make, and made with chickpea flour, which tricks you into thinking it’s a little better for you. Serve salty and sweet to give people a variety. For the salty version, I dipped in in thousand island dressing… amazing!