If you’ve read my previous recipes, you may have picked up on my ‘wing it’ approach to cooking. I think this mostly comes from teaching and parenting. Whilst it’s good to have a goal in mind (to create something edible is a good start!), you really do have to think on your feet when you’re in a kitchen full of teenagers!

Bare Necessity

The current world health crisis we find ourselves in means we have to adapt to our changing environment, say goodbye to our old way of doing things and use what we have right there in front of us (without leaving the house where possible).

To quote the words of one of my favourite Disney characters, accepting this new way of life is a ‘simple bare necessity’.  Forget about the worries and strife that comes with hunting around various supermarkets for a list of fancy ingredients you’ve never heard of. Scrap the over complicated recipe you saw in a magazine and get creative with what you have.

Chick Peas

Ok so I will give you a starting point. Chickpeas.

Someone the other day said to me ‘’I’ve tried to eat chickpeas, but ugh!” and pulled a face.

I knew exactly what he meant. Chickpeas are packed with goodness, they’re readily available, and they’re tinned which comes in handy at times like this. But the texture divides the crowd.

For those of you who are trying to introduce chickpeas for health reasons, convenience and cost, but really don’t like them, I suggest you get a potato masher, give them a crush and add a little zing!

Combine crushed chickpeas with finely chopped left-over cooked veggies, add some curry paste, squash the mixture into a patty shape in the palm of your hands, whack it on the heat and voila, you have a veggie burger. It beats a ready meal, hands down, but is just as convenient.

If you like, you could swap the chickpeas for lentils, black eyed peas or even baked beans (without the sauce!) Swap the curry paste for mango chutney with a few spices or add a dollop of BBQ sauce and breadcrumbs instead. So long as you have something to bind it all together and add flavour and colour, what’s the worst that could happen?

Top Shopping Tip for today’s climate: Don’t do any! Unless McDonalds has suddenly reopened, you’re likely to be making home cooked meals most nights and already have veggies stored in your freezer or cupboard. To save time and effort, put aside some cooked veg and see what you have in your cupboards to bind it into burgers or koftas for another night’s meal. The mixture will keep for around 4-5 days in the fridge or a month in the freezer.

Here’s one I made earlier

What you will need:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can full of roasted broccoli and carrot or other leftover cooked veg (no need to weigh, just fill the empty chickpea can)
  • 1tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp medium piri piri sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Garnish, e.g. baby gem lettuce, vine tomato and red onion
  • 4 muffins, toasted (pitta bread or toasted sliced bread works too)
  • Optional burger relish (my son made a ‘raid the cupboard relish’ from mayo, ketchup, New York Buffalo seasoning and ground black pepper, I haven’t a clue what ratios he used but it was yum yum!)
  • Potato masher or fork (or blender if you have one)
  • Mixing bowl and spoon
  • Frying pan or griddle pan

How to make an Ark Pantry Veggie Burger

  1. Use a masher or back of a fork to mash up the chickpeas. Thinly slice the leftover cooked veg and toss together in a mixing bowl
  • Combine the peanut butter, crushed garlic, ketchup, piri piri sauce, curry powder and honey into a smooth paste
  • Add the paste to the crushed chickpeas and finely chopped veggies and combine well with a metal spoon or palette knife
  • Get your hands in, separating the mixture into 4 and pressing into roughly rounded patties. A burger is meant to fit in the palm of your hand so that’s usually your best guide for size!
  • Pop the patties on a lightly floured plate, cover in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Now’s your chance to grab some vitamin D (sunshine!) in the garden, prepare some potato wedges, do a HITT workout or call a friend 🙂
  • After 30 minutes your patties should be nicely firmed up and ready for the pan
  • Lightly brush your frying pan or griddle pan with vegetable oil and heat
  • Cook the patties for around 2-3 minutes on each side. I usually turn mine twice, changing the angle to get griddle mark patterns. At the end of the day you’re sticking a bun around it and eating it so it really doesn’t matter!
  • Remove from the heat and cover with foil to keep the burgers warm whilst you prepare your choice of bun, salad garnish and dressing. Serve up and enjoy 😊

Take on the challenge

I’d love to see what wonderful burger creations you come up with from your own ingredients at home. Remember, no cheating and nipping to the shop!


Please do share pictures and comments on social media using #ArkPantry. It’s good to build each-other up in confidence, skills and resilience during these strange times.

Start a conversation. What flavour, texture, colour and cooking methods work well? Did you try anything you would definitely NEVER do again? What are you most proud of? What would you change?

Have fun, stay connected and keep learning. It’s good for the soul 😊

Chat soon,