salad burgers with oat & cauliflower patties

the week is over…! and am i happy? three cheers for the weekend. yay! yay! yay! my friend d is visiting for the weekend, coming from london. i can’t wait to hug her and squeeze her. she’s a little nuts but so inspiring. just really the perfect friend. oh, it will be fabulous. apart from that, maybe there will be a little bar hopping. and since it’s street parade in zurich (bloody effing helll… i hate these mass events… creepy!) – i think we’ll avoid the city as much as possible. maybe hop into the lake one more time? because it does look like the hot, hot summer might be over, finalmente. there is always an end to everything – but let’s celebrate the end in style!
now about vegetarian ‘burgers’ (stop rolling with your eyes, you meat lovers)… you know how i prefer vegs to meat, anytime, right? well, my brother is the opposite… he has always been a keen meat eater (like all the men in our family). while most of our weekday meals as a kid were vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) at home, my brother had the privilege to pick something ‘meaty’ for friday night. yes, he usually picked a whole roasted chicken (is anyone surprised?) – for himself, alone, mind. he loves meat that much. whileas i… was happy with anything vegetable based. or, ahem, occasionally also ‘meat replacements’. honestly though, when has meat replacement gotten that unfashionable connotation? when has it turned into the bad word of the year? huh? i am still a meat replacement lover, come what may! and i’m proud of it. okay, so maybe today i skip the tofu, quorn and glutenmeat (seriously, another bad word) and make a side of quinoa or something. actually, no, scratch that: today i just really cook vegetarian stuff differently. i don’t think in clusters of: meaty basis, vegetable side, starchy side (noodles or rice or potatoes) – plus a sauce (very swiss way of thinking, btw). i approach the veg menu differently, as you’ve seen many times. but occasionally, just sometimes, something that looks like meat but isn’t really, technically (or otherwise, come to think) meat is just what i want. something that makes me part of the meat eater gang, without feeling left out. something like vegetarian oat & cauliflower patties. yum.
sorry, meat eating gals, but i asure you i’m no spoil-sport all the same, wait and see! it’s not a trap, scout’s honor! because, guys, you know i’m a people pleaser, right? so give these patties a go. or let your girlfriends give them a go, hadiha. i totally swear my uncle (meat-lover par excellence) adored them. ask him, his name is eugen and he is a very good liar if he didn’t like them. but then again, i also believe in santa and the easter bunny, so maybe i’m not that good a reference, after all. oh, schmock. i spoilt it all now, didn’t i?

salad burgers with oat & cauliflower patties

ingredients for the oat & cauliflower patties:
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups good vegetable broth, hot
1 little old white bread piece, torn apart or finely chopped
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cauliflower florets (raw), ground (finely chopped)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 onionm, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. fleur de sel
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup chives, finely chopped
3 tbsp. thyme, leaves finely chopped
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs*, panko or quinoa to coat
enough peanut oil or ghee for frying
directions for the patties:
soak the oats in the broth for ten minutes, then drain. finely chop the old bread and soak it in the milk. in the meantime, prepare the other ingredients: finely chop the cauliflower florets, to make it look like ‘meal’ or bread crumb sized. in a skillet, heat the olive oil, then sweat the finely chopped onion and garlic for a few minutes until onion is translucent. add the paprika, cayenne pepper and salt, then the ground cauliflower, parsley and chives. sweat for a minute or two. turn off heat and let cool. after the soaking is done, drain the oats and squeeze out the bread from any excess milk. put oats and bread in a bowl, add the cauliflower-onion-herb mix and combine everything. add the eggs. season with more salt if necessary.
form patties out of golfball sized dough balls, and gently flatten them in the palms of your hands. roll the patties in the bread crumbs. put aside. heat peanut oil or ghee in a skillet, then fry the patties on each side for about 3 minutes until golden-brown and crispy from the outside. use either hot or cool.
ingredients to assemble the burgers:
1 bowl mango salsa – recipe here
1 ripe mango, thinly sliced
1 lettuce, leaves torn apart and cleaned
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 yellow pepper, finely sliced
skewers or toothpicks to hold the burgers together
directions to assemble the burgers:
take one large lettuce leaf and hold it like a bowl. put a patty in the leaf, then add a few mango, onion and yellow pepper slices, and top it off with a spoonful of the mango salsa (make it nice and spicy). wrap the salad – kind of like a burrito or an enchilada or a fajita – and devour.  
* i think we used couscous instead of breadcrumbs, since we were out of breadcrumbs… ahem. it was marvellously crispy and delicious, nevertheless. panko would look lovely, too, but unfortunately it’s very hard to find in switzerland at the moment. apparently they have trouble getting stuff from japan. sad thing, panko-less bread-crumbing. couscous is a decent placeholder.
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