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The Rise of Meatless Mondays

With the health benefits of foods becoming more important to all of us this year, plant-based foods are being embraced warmly.  Many households across the UK are starting to incorporate a ‘Meatless Monday’ in their weekly meal planning.  But don’t panic! There is no need to feel as if you are missing out on a juicy burger because growing a hearty harvest of vegetables with dense flesh and succulent textures, will still have the makings of a satisfying meal right at home.

By filling your ‘Meatless Monday’ garden with varieties such as plump aubergines, tasty leeks and colourful peppers, you will have the pick of the bunch for plant-based recipes. Let us introduce you to a selection of Burpee Europes most versatile picks for suppertime!

This is such an adaptable vegetable, it can be used in place of burgers (see image above and recipe below) and is gorgeous in exotic dishes such as Baba Ganoush.  When harvesting, look for firm fruits with a glossy shine. Dull skin is a sign that the plants are overripe.
– Aubergine ‘Genie’ seeds are available from Marshalls 

Bright and flavoursome, large peppers are perfect for stuffing and roasting for a substantial meal. Fill them with cooked rice, onions and cheddar or quinoa, tomatoes, mushrooms and basil.  Peppers are very container-friendly!  Plant them in a container at least 18-24 inches wide and deep, and use a commercial potting mix rather than garden soil.
– Pepper ‘Red King’ seeds are available from Thompson and MorganKings Seeds

Tasty and easy to grow, leeks are the mainstay of dishes such as stews, soups and just lovely smothered in cheese sauce with your roast dinner!  You can forget about the hassle of starting the seed indoors. Just sow the seeds directly in the ground in early spring, and you’ll be pulling long succulent stems by midsummer on into autumn.
– Leek ‘Chefs White’ seeds are available from Plants of Distinction, Suttons Seeds, Otter Farm, Just Seed

Aubergine Burger

Check out our recipe below devised by the chef Valerie Hamelin for a great vegetarian spin on a hamburger!

Serves 2
1 Aubergine ‘Genie’ 
1 Pack halloumi – Sliced                                           
1 Large beef tomato – Sliced – Bushsteak
1 Red onion – sliced
2 Brioche buns
1 Packet of rocket leaves
1/2tsp Oregano
2tbsp Olive oil
1tsp Smoked paprika
4tbsp Mayonnaise
½ Lemon
Vegetable oil to shallow fry the aubergine

Ingredients for panée / breaded aubergine
2 eggs
50g Panko breadcrumbs
40g Plain flour  

  • Set the oven at 190C.
  • Set out two large plates, put the flour onto one, the Panko breadcrumbs onto the other, then beat the eggs.
  • Slice the aubergine and dip them one at a time into the flour and shake off the excess. Then run the aubergine through the egg to coat lightly, allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl.
  • Finally, lay the aubergine in the breadcrumbs pressing each side to coat it well.
  • Slice the tomato, red onion and the halloumi and set aside.
  • In a shallow pan, add the oil and heat it through until hot.
  • Gently drop the breaded aubergine (away from you) into the pan and fry until golden brown.
  • Drain onto kitchen paper to remove any excess oil then place in the oven. Then place the sliced halloumi on a separate tray with olive oil and oregano and cook until golden brown. The cooked aubergine should be tender to touch.
  • For the mayonnaise – Mix the mayonnaise and smoked paprika in a dish, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

To serve: Place the base of the brioche bun on a plate or chopping board, then build your burger. Starting from the bottom, place the paprika mayonnaise on the brioche, then add the rocket leaves, the sliced tomatoes, red onions slices, grilled halloumi, breaded aubergine, a little more paprika mayonnaise then top with the lid of the brioche bun.  You can place a long skewer in the middle to hold it together.

Tip: Why not try with BBQ pulled pork & red slaw

Ready to eat and enjoy with sweet potato fries!

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