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Claire’s Beetroot and Black Bean Burgers

Claire Thomson

In season now

Serves: 6

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 6 mins


1 medium onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

2 medium beetroot (about 300g), peeled and grated

1 x 400g tin of black beans, rinsed and drained, then roughly mashed with a fork

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon sweet paprika – smoked or unsmoked

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground

a small bunch of fresh dill, leaves roughly chopped

80g rolled oats – or use breadcrumbs, if you like

salt and freshly ground black pepper (about 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper)

neutral cooking oil (sunflower or vegetable), for frying the burgers

For the aïoli:

1 egg yolk

2 cloves of garlic, crushed to a paste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

approx. 100ml olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

lemon juice, to taste, a good squeeze at the very least

Veg Portions / Serving: 1


Recipe donated by Claire Thomson for Veg Power. Recipe from "The Art of the Larder" by Claire Thomson. Food photography by Mike Lusmore. Portrait photography by Ivy Lahon.

Honestly, these beetroot and black bean burgers will have children and adults alike devouring them with gusto. Quite apart from looking the part, the combination of beetroot and black bean offer up a delicious and inexpensive alternative to beef burgers. Beetroots are root vegetables and naturally sweet tasting, they also happen to be exceptionally good for you. Beetroots also do a grand job of staining your hands and tongue. What’s not to love? Serve in a bun, with gherkins and sour cream, mustard for the grown ups, perhaps some ketchup for the kids.


Cook the onion in a small saucepan with the olive oil until soft and translucent, about 8–10 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, until fragrant. Remove from the heat and set to one side.

Combine the grated beetroot, beans, mustard, spices, dill, oats/breadcrumbs and seasoning in a bowl. Use your hands to work the mix together until cohesive and easily shaped.

Shape the mix into burgers about 2cm thick and place them on a tray or plate. Put them into the fridge to firm up for an hour or so.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with enough oil to cover the surface of the pan and about 1cm deep, and fry the burgers over a moderate heat for 2–3 minutes on each side, until crisp and the interior is hot. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

To make the aïoli, place the egg yolk, garlic and mustard in a small bowl and beat together.

Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking vigorously all the time until it thickens, adding salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

Children will really enjoy shaping these burgers, squishing the mixture through their hands to thoroughly mix it first. Older kids can also grate the beetroots and even gently shallow fry the burgers, if you think they’re able. Although look out for beetroot-covered mitts leaving pink fingerprints everywhere…



While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.



Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.



The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.

Claire Thomson

Claire Thomson is a chef, writer and mum. Find her on Instagram for a daily diary of the food she cooks at home. Claire is a National Trust Food Ambassador and is co-owner of The Table of Delights.

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