So you know how we’d all like to get our kids to eat a range of vegetables in their own right, willingly and without complaint? Yeah? Does that happen at your place? If it does, then you are one lucky Mum (or Dad). It certainly doesn’t happen around here. And so, like many mums before me, and many who will follow, I resort to hiding veggies in other stuff. Although unfortunately for me, the range of the other “stuff” I can hide veggies in is fairly limited. I think I have the only 6 year old who does not eat spaghetti bolognese, every mum’s favourite veggie smuggling dish. Seriously, what kid doesn’t like spag bol??
So this is where my Magic Mince Mix comes into play. What my fussy 6 year old does love is a burger. And so that is where the veggies must be hidden. At first I tried to hide the veggies by grating them, but no dice – I swear, this kid could spot a piece of grated carrot at 10 paces…BUT I have finally found a way of getting them past him. The secret is to blitz the veggies in a food processor or Thermomix until they are almost breadcrumb-like consistency. That is the only way they are getting through. And by mixing everything together so well, I can even manage to sneak lentils in there too! He loves these burger patties so much he even takes the leftovers to school and is happy to eat them cold. Keep reading and I’ll share the miracle that is…
Magic Mince Mix
500g beef mince (grass fed if possible)
1 brown onion
1 large carrot
1 medium zucchini
1 tin brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup (approx) of breadcrumbs – you may need more (I blitz any leftover sourdough crusts and keep in the freezer for whenever they are needed)
1 tsp each of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dulse flakes (optional)
Salt & pepper
- Using a food processor or Thermomix, blitz the onion, then add carrot and zucchini. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until they look like this:
2. Add the lentils and process,scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until broken down like this:
3. Add egg, spices, breadcrumbs and mince, then process until well combined. If your mixture seems a little “wet”, add more breadcrumbs.
So now what do you do with it?
There are so many options!
Burger patties: I usually get at least a dozen good sized patties out of this mix. They work best when made ahead and refrigerated on a tray until ready to cook. You can also freeze them flat like this ready to cook another time (as long as you have used fresh mince rather than mince that was previously frozen). When ready, just pan fry with a little olive oil and serve up with your favourite burger toppings.
Meatloaf: shape the mix into a loaf. I do this using a loaf cake tin lined with cling film, then I turn it upside down onto a tray. You can freeze it in a loaf tin to cook later, too. When ready to cook, glaze with your favourite bbq sauce and bake in a moderate oven until cooked through.
Meatballs: roll into balls and bake on a tray in the oven. I have also added pesto for a flavour twist. These freeze well when they are cooked and reheat very nicely if you drop them into a spicy tomato sauce to serve on pasta or zucchini noodles.
Sausage rolls: a lunchbox favourite here. I add a squirt of bbq sauce to the mix, then lay onto butter puff pastry sheets to make sausage rolls. Brush with beaten egg and bake in a hot oven. I then freeze them and add them straight from the freezer into the lunchbox with a small container of sauce.
You could even just fry the mince mix in a pan, add tomato paste and tinned tomatoes or passata, a few different spices and use it as bolognese or in tacos, on baked potatoes, etc.
Told you it was magic, didn’t I?