Since Milo’s been weaning I’ve been thinking a lot about how to minimise the number of meals I’m making whilst cooking for a baby, a toddler, and two adults. I first began making this bean burger for Luna, but quickly realised this is actually one dish which manages to cater for all of us with one lot of prep, and more importantly, one lot of washing up. These burgers contain cannellini beans, sweet potatoes and peas, all of which are very palatable for young kids and babies, and full of goodness, so perfect for fussy eaters who might not readily eat vegetables in recognisable form.
You should view this as a base recipe, which you can then adapt as you please. The recipe listed below is for the basic burgers I made for Luna, but having taken half the mix out and shaped them for Luna, I then added lots of seasoning and extras to the remaining mixture before shaping them for the grown ups. You can really add anything you like, so long as it’s not too wet – see method for what I added. I prefer to eat these stuffed into toasted pittas, as I find burger buns invariably a bit disappointing compared to other breads, but obviously do as you prefer.
Cannellini bean burgers for kids
Makes 14 small toddler-sized burgers, or 8 mini and 4 adult burgers (they freeze well so it’s worth making the whole batch)
- 240g cooked cannellini beans (this is either one drained tin, or if you’re using dried, start with 100g dried beans, soak them overnight in cold water, then drain and rinse, and boil in fresh un-salted water until tender)
- Splash vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 medium/large sweet potato, diced (I don’t peel it)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 200ml boiling water
- 100g frozen peas (I don’t bother to defrost them first, but you could)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 65g fresh breadcrumbs
- 50g cheddar cheese, grated
- Heat the veg oil in a frying pan until hot, then add the onion, garlic and sweet potato. Saute for a good few minutes until the onion is softened, then add the 200ml boiling water, and simmer until the water has boiled off, and the sweet potato is cooked. If you need to add more water, do, but make sure it all cooks off before removing it from the heat. Allow it to cool a little.
- (At this point, if you’re feeding a newly weaning baby, you could puree a spoonful of the onion and sweet potato mixture with a spoonful of the cooked beans before proceeding)
- In a food processor, blitz the cooked potato mixture with the cooked beans, frozen peas, egg, flour, bread crumbs and cheddar – stop when it’s still a little coarse, you don’t want it entirely smooth, but blended enough to hold together. If the mixture is too loose, add some more breadcrumbs to firm it up.
- At this point you can shape them into 14 toddler size patties, using plain flour to coat them. Alternatively, shape half the mix like that, then add whatever you like for the grown ups to the remaining mix before shaping into larger patties. I like to add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, harissa paste, crumbled feta, chopped parsley, salt and black pepper – don’t forget the seasoning for the grown ups!
- If you want to freeze any, put them into the freezer at this point on a flat tray/plate, and then transfer them to a freezer bag once they’re frozen solid.
- Once the patties are shaped, you can either fry them in vegetable oil until golden on both sides, or, as I prefer, bake them at 180’c fan/200’c conventional/gas mark 6 for about 15-20 minutes until firm and dry to the touch. The one in the first pic was fried, but having tried them both ways now, I’d whole-heartedly recommend baking them. Not only is it healthier, but it also gives them a firmer texture with more bite to them.
- Serve immediately, in a burger bun, or stuffed into a toasted pitta.