I have tried to write this post about six times. I tried to turn it into a fairy tale, tried to tack the main point onto another, bigger point, tried to make it funny. But really, all of those attempts simply missed the point. The point, this week, is pulp. And frankly, pulp is quite tricky to embellish.
People often ask me what the difference is between green smoothies and green juice. In a word: pulp. In juices the pulp is removed while smoothies blend the entire fruit or vegetable and so retain the pulp.
What is pulp? Simply put, Pulp is fibre.
I could go on about the additional nutritional benefits, but I won’t. Not today.
One of the things that often happens when people start changing their dietary habits is that food becomes little more than a single or grouping of multiple nutrients. Nuts are fat, rice is carbohydrate, fruit is sugar, chicken is protein. And while these foods do contain said components, they are also made up of other things. Foods in their most natural, whole state strike a unique balance between fats, carbohydrates and protein. For example, did you know that apples have fat?
But I won’t go into that. Not today.
Whenever we go to Paris, I am struck by how different the attitude there is towards food. In the US as well as in the UK, conversations are often about calcium and omega 3s and protein. In Paris, those things don’t come up in the same way. The cliché is true, at least as far as I’m concerned: in Paris food is about enjoyment.
When I embarked on this journey to health, I found it quite difficult to find tasty foods that also satisfied my various needs and made me feel good. Often labels that read “healthy” should have stated “bland” or “ridiculously over-flavoured,” “strangely textured,” or “plain old disgusting” instead.
I could write an entire book on the subject.
But I won’t. Not today.
Today is about those sweet meals when feeling good meets delicious, about discovering lovely flavours and foods, about being full of energy, happy, nourished, loving life and what we’ve eaten.
When I say this, I’m pretty sure pulp isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.
And yet, today, pulp is where it’s at.
When I started juicing, I was loathe to throw such beautiful leftovers away. And pretty soon, our compost heap was overflowing. So I tried everything: I baked pulp cookies and muffins, I incorporated it into salads, I even attempted pulp ice cream. Let’s just say there’s a reason I’m not sharing any of those recipes with you today.
This veggie burger is different. For one, it doesn’t have the mushy, soggy taste that pulp can have. Secondly, I love that it’s a flavoursome version of another “healthy” yet often gross food. Veggie burgers are usually overprocessed, with huge amounts of sodium, rancid fats and strange additives.
Pulp, meet Burger. Burger, meet pulp.
Carrot Veggie Burgers
(makes about 20 small to medium patties)
Carrot juice is abundant in vitamin A, B, C, D, E, G, K calcium and potassium, it acts as a normaliser to the entire system – and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Carrot juice is also fantastic for breastfeeding mothers as it enhances the quality of the milk. It is, however, also relatively high in natural sugars.
A note about carrot pulp: I’m pretty sure you can use other juiced vegetables, like courgette (zucchini) or, if you’re not a juicing person, grating should be an option. The most important piece in making these guys is the removal of excess liquid (see below).
- pulp of 1.5 kg juiced carrots
- 1 cup onion/mushroom mixture (see below)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ t fresh thyme
- ½ c fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ t cumin
- 1 T wakame flakes
- 1 t mirin
- 1 T tomato sauce (made with just tomatoes)
- ¼ t chipotle powder (optional)
- salt, to taste
- 4 eggs*
- coconut oil to grease the pan
For the onion/mushroom mixture:
In a wide-rimmed pan, bring about a cm of water to boil. Chop up 2-3 onions and 3 large portobellos and add to the water along with a sprig or two of fresh rosemary and thyme. Salt to taste. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes, adding water so it doesn’t dry up. The goal is to keep the vegetables moist without drowning them – you don’t want to end up with soup. What you want are well-cooked, flavoursome, slightly browned onions. At the very end, mix in 1 T coconut aminos (or soy sauce).
For the veggie burgers:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade (347 Fahrenheit)
Place the carrot pulp in a strainer and press down with a spoon to drain excess liquid. (note: you can place a bowl underneath for extra drinking pleasure)
Put in a large bowl and mix in all the other ingredients except the eggs. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then add the eggs.
Grease a large baking pan with a little bit of coconut oil.
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of the mixture and set on the baking sheet. Press down lightly with a fork to flatten into patties.
Bake for 25 minutes, flip and bake for another 20.
* To keep this recipe vegan, you can use ground, soaked flax seeds in a ratio of 1T flax soaked in 1T water to 1 egg. In this case, I would halve the amount, so use 2 T ground, soaked flax though I haven’t tried it myself.