Sunday 23 January 2011

Nordic Beetroot Burgers with Goats’ Cheese and Walnut Salad

Nordic Diet-9

I’ve developed a bit of a beetroot fetish since moving to Sweden. I find it’s always on my shopping list and seems to leave its scarlet mark on almost every dish I cook. I love the muddy flavour and mellow sweetness and would be very sad if there was ever a world shortage of beetroot. One of the reasons I like it so much now is that I used to hate it when I was younger. I’ve got bitter-sweet memories of hating the overly pickled taste of my grandmother’s beetroot but loved the fact that it came, covered in sandy soil, from their kitchen garden. Now, whenever I eat beetroot I remember my grandparents and their staggering vegetable patch and hanker after having one of my own one day.

Veggie burgers have a very bad press. They normally fall apart and taste more of old oil than of anything pleasant. It strikes me as a shame to mush up lots of lovely vegetables and then muddy the fresh flavours in search of the juicy glory of a really meaty burger. But the beauty of beetroot burgers is that they are singularly focused on one vegetable that responds very well to being “burgered up”. I guess it’s a combination of their vivid flavour and colour, but also the fact that beetroot’s starches caramelise nicely when seared, much like meat does.

This recipe for the burgers is from Trina Hahnemann, but without any ghastly rapeseed oil and rather than a barley salad is paired with a goats’ cheese and walnut salad instead. My only question is what are the mystery seeds in the photo from the book at the top of this post because they don’t appear in the recipe?


For the beetroot burgers:

500g red beetroot, grated
100ml porridge oats
3 eggs
1 shallot, very finely chopped
4 tbsp finely chopped dill
2 tbsp finely chopped thyme
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
Crème fraiche and dill dollop

For the salad:

Mixed leaf salad including beetroot tops
Goats’ cheese
Toasted walnuts
Honey, mustard, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dress


Peel the beetroot and then finely grate. If you have a Magimix I’d suggest you use it as it saves a lot of time.

Mix the grated beetroot with the eggs, porridge oats, herbs, seasoning and shallots. Get your hands dirty and work it all together. Then chill in the fridge for an hour or so. This is important as it allows the mixture to mingle and means that the burgers have more structural integrity.

Grated beetroot

Form the burgers into patties and fry until they are crisp on the outside and then finish in the oven for 20 minutes.

Frying burger

Assemble the salad, and whisk up the dressing whilst the burgers are cooking through and serve with a dollop of dill crème fraiche.

Beetroot burgers with salad

I’ve got a feeling they would also work well as “beet-balls” but I’m not sure yet what sauce to slosh on top of them. If you’ve got any ideas, let me know.

Delicious. Healthy. And different. Well done, again, to The Nordic Diet.

This post is part of little series dedicated to The Nordic Diet cookbook which was sent to me by Quadrille.


Helen said...

ooh these look lovely. I made some beetroot fritters recently that look similar. It's sad that most people over here are only really familiar with the vac-packed vinegared version. Such a lovely earthy flavour. I am hankering after my own veg patch too since nothing grows properly on my balcony. Thinking about getting on the waiting list for an allotment so I should have one in about 10 years time ;)

Manne said...

You probably now already but that's a take on the Swedish classic Biff a la Lindström. Hated a s a kid when served in the school food hall, loving it now. :)

Just remembered I was supposed to send you some tips on Swedish cook books. One I really like, which mixes Swedish classic recipes with other influences is by Tobias and Ulrika Roth. Simply called "Kokbok"' with the subtitle "Old, honest Swedish food. But new.", it is full of great ideas.

Unknown said...

oh how I wish you'd posted this yesterday... I bought 3 lovely raw beetroots at our local veg shop and didn't know what to do with them as I really wanted to retain their earthy taste... these burgers would have been genius so i'll keep the recipe for next time... I cut mine into wedges and roasted them in cold pressed rapeseed oil with rosemary and a little balsamic vinegar... they tasted amazing though x

Jonathan said...

@Helen - Beetroot fritters sounds good. And bring on the veggie patch. Have you got space for a few pots and a window box?

@Manne - Of course. Biif a la Lindström... is that with an egg yolk on top? And thanks for the book reco - is it available in English?

@Dom - Sorry it was too late... hope you find time to make them in the future. Your beetroot wedges sound good - although I'd struggle with the rape oil.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Beets are something I have enjoyed since I was a child even if it was the pickled variety. I still love all things pickled but these burgers are a must try for my favourite root vegetable.

The Viking said...

As a (sort-of) Viking, I have to say that this recipe definitely floats my longboat if you know what I mean. Looks absolutely cracking!

The Viking -

Jonathan said...

@bellini valli - I am growing to like it more in its pickled state. But it is great in burgers.

@The Viking - Good luck with your longboat expeditions.

Unknown said...

I made them tonight... changed them up a bit (I can never leave things alone)... and they are so bloody fantastic! Thanks so much for the inspiration... they're on the blog

Jonathan said...

@Dom - Nice twist. Seem to have gone down a storm on your blog.


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