Poppy seed encrusted green pea mini-burgers

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Adding to an ever-increasing number of bento-appropriate mini-burgers recipes here on Just Bento, here is one that turns out little green burgers that are as visually striking as they are tasty. What's more, they are vegan, gluten-free and inexpensive. I always try to have a bag of frozen green peas stocked in the freezer, and they really come in handy in the winter months when locally (or even reasonably locally) grown fresh vegetables are rather scarce. Green peas are great just cooked as-is, or mixed into stir-fries, but they're also very nice mashed up. The most famous example of this are that British staple, mushy peas. Green peas are also packed with protein and various vitamins.

These mini-burgers or nuggets have a Mediterranaan flavor from the addition of finely chopped black olives and rosemary, but the idea for the crusty coating came from the Everything Bagel, a type of bagel that is coated with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried onion and garlic flakes. The black poppy seeds form a nice color contrast with the green peas. The Dedicated Omnivore gives these a big thumbs up on taste and texture.

If you are using these as part of a totally vegan bento, pair them with a whole grain like brown rice, or a whole grain bread. (They'd be excellent as the filling in a rice burger.)

Recipe: Poppyseed encrusted green pea burgers.

Makes about 10 mini-burgers, about 40 calories each

The burger mixture:

  • 2 cups (440ml) frozen peas
  • 1 Tbs. tahini or unsweetened peanut butter (If you use regular sweetened peanut butter, the mixture will be a bit too sweet since the peas are naturally sweet)
  • 1 Tbs. rice flour (or if you don't have a gluten intolerence problem, you can use wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp. black olive paste, or about 2-3 black olives finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper

The coating:

  • About 3 Tbs. black poppy seeds
  • About 2 tsp. dried onion flakes
  • About 1 tsp. dried garlic flakes

  • Olive oil for cooking

Put the peas in a small sauce pan, and barely cover with cold water. Add about a teaspoon of salt, and bring up to a boil. Lower the heat and put a lid on, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the peas are bright green and cooked through. Drain well.

If you have a food processor or mixer, put all the burger mixture ingredients in the bowl and process until smooth. Adjust the amount of salt to your taste. If you are doing this by hand, mash up the peas finely first, then mix well with the other ingredients.

Heat up a non-stick frying pan or griddle with a little olive oil on medium heat.

Mix the poppy seeds, onion and garlic flakes on a plate. Take heaped tablespoons of the pea burger mixture, flatten them a bit in your hands (it does get a bit messy) and coat them on both sides with the poppy seed mixture. Carefully put into the pan, and cook on both sides for about 4-5 minutes each until crispy but not burned.

Let cool before packing into bento boxes.

You can freeze these fairly successfully, though try to use them within 2 weeks. Just cook them up, let cool and freeze. You can defrost them in a microwave, but ideally you'd reheat them in a frying pan over low heat.

Notes

I tried making these with canned kidney beans, but they weren't as good. The fresh flavor and sweetness of the green peas really makes a difference. I'll try them with edamame sometime, which might be interesting.