Coconut burgers. Yep, I went there. Bear with me, they’re better than you think. They look the part, smell the part and, Jesus Christ, they’re meaty. I have nothing against bean burgers and the rest of the Vegetarian BBQ Squad, but they’re not quite on the same level as a thick, juicy beef patty. I mean, I didn’t give up meat because that shit isn’t delicious. We all know it is. But even as a vegetarian, when I fancy a burger I want to be SEDUCED.
Until now, this hasn’t happened. I’ve basically been on a string of pleasant dates with veggie burgers of various kinds, all nice enough, but nothing to set my loins on fire, metaphorically speaking. But I’ve recently discovered this stuff called coconut meat, and it’s a game-changer.
Now, I warn you, this isn’t a case of throwing a coconut on the barbie. There is some prep. Get your pinny on and pay attention.
First of all, gather your ingredients. The following makes four whoppers:
- 450g MightyBee virgin coconut meat (available at Whole Foods, Planet Organic and similar. The website has a store locater.)
- 100g breadcrumbs
- 2 small red onions, finely chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- Coconut oil, for frying
(NB: Don’t go out and BUY breadcrumbs, for goodness sake, you’re not made of money. Get the stale crusty ends out of your bread bin and bung ’em in the blender. Add garlic and rosemary and your breadcrumb game is already a million times stronger than Tesco’s.)
I’m going to go ahead and assume you don’t have a dehydrator, so preheat your oven to 170°C and lay your virgin coconut meat evenly on a baking tray.
When the oven has reached full temperature, switch it off and place the trays in the oven. When the oven is completely cool, remove the trays and heat it to 170’ again and repeat.
Repeat this process, turning the coconut meat until it is thoroughly dry and slightly crispy to the touch. It’ll start to colour a little when it’s done. Mine took five rounds and went from 450g to just 95g.
I agree, this bit is tedious, but stick with it.
When it’s done, it will look like this.
Place the dehydrated coconut in a blender and pulse it until it resembles breadcrumbs. Remove and put to one side.
Get all the ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly combine. Add the bread crumbs bit by bit. I’ve listed 100g of crumbs as a guide, but I didn’t use the whole bowl I made. Add them until the mixture takes on a more solid shape.
Form into burger patties. Or sausages, if you like.
Fry your burgers in coconut oil on a high heat for a few minutes on each side until they’re crispy and darker in colour. Alternatively, barbecue those bad boys.
Prepare the table and garnishes, because shit’s going down.
These are definitely a special occasion dish, because the dehydrating is a bit of a faff. But once that part is done, it’s a breeze. A similar process in fact to making beef burgers. It’s a great recipe if you’re the lone vegetarian at the BBQ and you want to take along some proper food, lest you get saddled with the YawnQuorn.
Author: Carla Juniper
Carla is a proud Putney-dweller and newly-minted vegetarian. She loves pickled beetroot and experimenting in the kitchen, especially when accompanied by a very large glass of wine, which is known to aid creativity and culinary prowess. In her spare time she uses her degree in Illustration to create bespoke digital portraits (you can check our her work here).
She also sucks at the flying trapeze.