Wednesday 17 August 2016

Earth Burgers served with a surprising "cheese" sauce (vegan)

A couple of weeks back I finally made two recipes I have had on my to do list for ages.  Not just my gonna-make-it-some-day list but on my I-am-going-to -make-this-tonight-for-sure list!  And it has taken me weeks!  But I am really pleased to have finally tried the Earth Burgers and Life Changing Cheese Sauce.

It was on the week that my car had a flat tyre.  It was very tiresome (indeed that pun was intended).  Not only did it happen while I was on a main road and meant sitting in a side street in the rain instead of arriving at work on time, but it also meant I had to get my spare tyre replaced and while I was at it, my friendly tyre store said I had another tyre that needed replacing.  So I had an hour or so to kill while they replaced my tyres.  Buying a Harry Potter movie was the silver lining on that afternoon!

Sylvia is smitten with Harry Potter.  I had been promising her we would get the movie of the Chambers of Secrets a few weeks before when we finished reading the book.  And so we ate this meal while watching Harry Potter and finding that the DVD was so faulty we could not watch it through to the end.  Which was fine as it was so long that we needed to watch it over a few nights.

And besides I was quite happy eating the burgers with cheese sauce.  Happy because they tasted really good and happy because a friend had taken Sylvia for a playdate after school and so I had some space in my day to make them.

I really liked the earth burgers, esp the crunch of the seeds on the outside.  They taste like hippy vegetarian food and I say that in a good way.  No pretensions and airs.  Just good honest home made grub.  I cut the nori as small as possible with scissors and used sesame oil to fry the onions but am not sure I should do that.  Nor should you lump the nori under the tofu and let it become a wet blob - stir as soon as you add it.  It was fun to squelch the mixture through your fingers when mixing.  It is like playing with playdough.  Though I should have let the hot brown rice cool a bit.  It was so hot it was a bit ouchy (as Sylvia says).  But I was racing to have it ready before I picked up Sylvia.

The cheese sauce left me puzzled.  Fi at Eat Healthy Eat Happy called a Life Changing Cheese Sauce.  Well I guess it changed Fi's life but not mine.  It tasted like well seasoned mashed potato.  So I went with my gut and added some nutritional yeast flakes and enjoyed it but it was still not that much like cheese.  I would not claim like she did that it is the best vegan cheese sauce I have tasted.  And while it is great to have a nut free cheese sauce, I depend on cheese for nutrients and often use it to boost the protein in the meal.  This sauce is a nutritional lightweight compared to others I have made.  That is not always a bad thing.  It worked brilliantly with these protein rich burgers that needed a lighter but tasty sauce.

We got a couple of good nights of meals out of the burgers and then I had a few over and more cheese sauce.  Incidentally the sauce was lovely as a dip too.  I then made a pizza with tomato sauce, crumbled burgers (they did crumble rather easily) and blobs of cheese sauce.  I scattered a little grated cheese on it but it was pretty ineffective in both adding flavour and holding the ingredients on the pizza so I would probably do without the grated cheese next time.  It was a fantastic pizza. 

I am sending these burgers and cheese sauce to Jac for Meat Free Mondays, Kimmy and Mary-Ellen for Healthy Vegan Fridays, and Cindy for Gluten Free Fridays,

More vegan burgers from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cauliflower burgers (gf v)
Chesapeake tempeh cakes (v)
Roasted beetroot tofu burgers (gf, v)
Sweet potato, chickpea and hemp seed burgers (v)
Tamale burgers with mole sauce (gf, v)
Vegemite burger (v)
Watercourse Foods tempeh burger (gf,v)

Earth Burgers
Adapted from Teresa Cutler's The Healthy Chef
Serves 4-6 (I think about 16 burgers)

1 tsp oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot grated
1 handful spinach, finely chopped
3 cups cooked brown rice
3 nori sheets, finely chopped
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
300 g grated firm tofu
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons tamari (soy sauce)
1 tablespoon of kale powder (optional)
sesame seeds for rolling

Preheat oven to 180 C (or 200 C if you oven is slow like mine) and line a couple of medium baking trays with baking paper.

Fry onions in oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes until mostly cooked.  Add grated carrot and stir in for a few minutes until it changes colour and looks cooked.  Remove pan from the heat and stir in chopped spinach.  Add remaining ingredients except sesame seeds.  Use your hands to mix together for 2-3 minutes to make it stick together.

Chill mixture in fridge for 30-60 minutes.  (It can also be left overnight in the fridge.)  Take handfuls of mixture and roll into patties using damp hands.  Pour some sesame seeds into a bowl (between 14 - 1/2 cup) and toss patties in seeds to coat them.  Place on baking trays and bake in oven for about 30 minutes.

Potato based vegan cheese sauce
Adapted from Eat Healthy Eat Happy

2 cups peeled, cubed potato
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
4 tsp lemon juice
4 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp tamari (soy sauce)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Cook the potatoes and carrot in boiling water until soft (about 15-20 minutes).  Drain and blend.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

On the Stereo:
1989: Ryan Adams


  1. What a shame about that cheese sauce, it sounded promising! And that's annoying about the tyres but I guess it means you're less likely to have to deal with them for a bit (unless the other two need replacing).

    1. Thanks Lorraine - the cheese sauce sounded intriguing - and I like your take on the new tyres - it is nice to know they are in good condition - esp as this wet time of year

  2. I do know exactly what you mean about the potato based cheese sauce, I've had some in the past, it was okay - but I wasn't mad on it. I like old style burgers, so these Earth Burgers appeal to me, i love the seedy exterior.

    1. Thanks Shaheen - the seedy exterior was so good I have considered doing it on other burgers

  3. I know instantly that I'd love the earth burgers. I remember going to a festival many (too many!) years ago as a new veggie where they had burgers made with all those classic hippie ingredients in. I loved them then, and I'd love to try making them again now too!

    1. Thanks Joey - funny you say that as there is a place that goes to festivals I have seen a couple of times that does old fashioned veg burgers and they are really good

  4. Harry Potter is the best!

    The cheese sauce you described sounds like something I tried once as well. People really shouldn't say "life changing" if it isn't lol.

    Your version looks so much better! I can't wait to give it a try as I'm obsessed with all things vegan cheese.

    1. Thanks Mary Ellen - yeah Harry Potter is just such a great yarn - have enjoyed reading it again with Sylvia

      I agree about making these claims online - I know it might change one person's life but to claim it will change everyone's is a big call when everyone has such different tastes - but I do love a new vegan cheese to try!

  5. I like the sound of the earth burgers and Teresa Cutter certainly has some good recipes.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I like the approach of Teresa though quite a few of her recipes aren't in my ballpark but I have another of her recipes that I have adapted to post soon

  6. This does indeed look like classic hippy vegan food, in a good way. Sorry about the tyres though!

    1. Thanks Kari - seeing I drive an old car perhaps I am just the type to need new tyres and eat classic hippy vegan food :-)

  7. Not so sure either why that sauce should be life changing, but the burgers sound good. How frustrating to have a flat tyre on the way to work!

  8. I love hippy food haha ;p These sound really great. I can't wait to try them out. I have never thought of making a cheese sauce with potatoes - I'm intrigued!
    Thanks for sharing at HVF Johanna =)


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