This nut bake from Asda has an interesting concept. Much like the Brazilian grills we tried last week, it comes with a sachet of sauce that you can pour over the bake in order to enhance the flavour. This allows you to try it with or without the sauce – though in all honesty I’m still dubious about this format. It’s little more than a gimmick in my eyes – and when you are creating something for the sake of a gimmick, it’s not always going to be the highest quality in terms of actual taste and enjoyment.
Still, we gave this one a try. We both love sweet potato and are often using kale in our recipes, so this one couldn’t go wrong, right? I’m always a bit wary of something that calls itself a nut bake or nut roast as these terms, in my mind, are usually associated with boring and unimaginative veggie options.
The sauce was not too spicy, just nicely sweet and tangy, so in this case it felt like a good addition. Not perhaps strictly necessary – but still nice. The square bake had strong nutty flavours and was actually quite rich; the kale taste was mostly indistinguishable from something like spinach, so there wasn’t really anything that screamed kale about it necessarily. The various layers were great and there were chunks of sweet potato to enjoy. It had a varied texture throughout to keep things interesting, especially where the nuts were concerned. As far as bakes go, this was definitely better than I expected.
Having tried out the Mexican veggie burger recipe of my own devising previously, I wanted to try something new. This time I put together some ingredients which I thought may be helpful, and which are our favourites from the cupboard in terms of taste. It was more a case of experimenting than having something particular in mind. I have been working on plans for possibly the best veggie burger of all time, but that will wait until later! At the moment I’m trying to perfect the technique as well as working on flavours. The recipe made six burgers, although they were very generously sized. If you wanted them to fit neatly into the average burger bun, you could most likely halve them and make twelve.
Here are the ingredients that I used:
1 red onion
400g kidney beans
400g pinto beans
1 teaspoon tahini
4 handfuls kale
4 teaspoons cajun spices
4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Wyke Farm cheddar cheese (for serving)
1 avocado (for serving)
I started off by basically blending everything together. I didn’t overblend – there were still some lumps of whole beans in there. It was literally just a few short pulses to get everything mixed up. Then I followed the normal process of cooking at 220C for 20 minutes, before removing the burgers from the oven. At this point I added the thinly sliced cheese on top to just about cover each burger. It goes back in for another five minutes, until the cheese is all totally melty. It takes just a couple of minutes for it to harden up again enough to scoop up onto the burger buns in one piece.
Together with soft white buns, I also added about a quarter of an avocado to each burger as a topping. This just adds another level of texture which is really nice. I actually recommend adding avocado to just about any burger. You can keep it as a chunk, or mash it up for a different texture. You can also use guacamole as an alternative. It just freshens up the taste so much. Anyway, it’s down to taste, but I always prefer to have that element in the burger where possible.
The outcome was not quite perfect, by a long shot. Despite the cooking time, and the fact that the outsides went quite crispy, the inside was still a little mushy. I’m not convinced that any extra time in the oven would have rectified this, unfortunately. One thing I’ve discovered with a lot of veggie burger recipes is that you need to add flour to get that firmness up a little bit. I resisted doing so here, and I should perhaps have made sure to add a little bit in the mixing phase. They weren’t disgusting, but they were not as exciting as hoped either. They are a good way to use up a few ingredients, but flour might help them get a little firmer in the middle!
On the VegBurge scale, I give this…
Taste – 5/10
Price – 8/10
Rest of experience – 6/10