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Kid-Friendly Finger Food: Veggie Bites and Burgers

Annabel Karmel

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
Makes: 16 small bites or 8 burgers
Suitable for freezing or reheating
Suitable for children under 1

You will need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, diced
½ celery stalk, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
½ small leek, thinly sliced
3 cremini mushrooms, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 ½ teaspoons mayonnaise
1 heaping tablespoon grated Cheddar
salt and pepper, to season
5 tablespoons unseasoned dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg
2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil, for frying
buns, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, to serve (for burgers)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan, and saute all the vegetables except the garlic for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the soy sauce and sugar and cook for 1 minute more. Spread out on a plate and let cool.

2. For small veggie bites, you need to chop the cooked and cooled veggies, either in a food processor (scraping down the sides frequently) or with a large knife.

3. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and mix in 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the fresh bread crumbs, mayonnaise, Cheddar and pepper to taste (the soy sauce should give enough salt). For bites, roll teaspoonfuls into balls. For burgers, take tablespoonfuls and squish into a patty shape. You can use a cookie cutter on the patties to create star-shaped burgers. If you have time, put them on a plate and chill for 1 hour or preferably overnight. However, they can be coated and cooked without chilling.

4. Mix together the dried bread crumbs and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan on a large plate, along with salt and pepper to taste. Put the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Beat the egg in a small bowl.

5. Dust the bites/burgers in the seasoned flour, then dip in the egg and roll in the bread crumbs. Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick frying pan and cook the bites/burgers for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until golden. Drain on paper towels and serve warm—with buns, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise for burgers.

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