Spicy beetroot & black bean fritters two ways

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Spicy beetroot & black bean fritters two ways by Scrummy Lane

There is a chance, after reading this post, that you will never believe anything you read here again.

‘Why ever not?’ I hear you gasp. Well, you may remember this post, when I told you all about how Mr. Scrummy and I are settling down in England now. How I’m looking forward to reconnecting with family and friends, not being a ‘foreigner’ anymore and, most of all, having my own kitchen to run backwards and forwards in with pots and pans and make as much mess as I like.

Well hold the phone because we’re flying to Australia for a few more months on Sunday. Oh-oh. The country walks and polite conversations about the weather and roaring fires in pubs will have to wait for yet a little while longer. OK, maybe I would have had to wait a few more months for the roaring fires, anyway.

So a few weeks ago we spent a week here hunting for a home to rent. We settled on a lovely apartment with a little balcony and a great view of Nottinghamshire from almost the highest point in the county and were just about to put down our deposit when a little voice (aka Mr. Scrummy) started to doubt whether the time was quite right (from the point of view of his business, mainly). I’ve well and truly got my head around the idea now, but at first my heart immediately sank. Right down to about the level of my feet, I’d say. Take heed all you single readers out there: this is what you get when you marry an Australian (wouldn’t change it for the world, though, of course).

So I guess the point to take from all this is that life is an adventure. It’s uncertain. You have to be willing to adapt with the winds of change and see the opportunities rather than the disappointments. Hmm. Well, this is what I’m trying to tell myself, anyhow. I’ve been trying to picture myself and Mr. Scrummy with a big smile on our faces jogging around that beautiful river 9,000 miles away in Perth, scoffing our potato wedges with sour cream and sweet chili sauce afterwards then meeting up with our friends and family. And for the most part it’s working. Especially after I saw this:

Weather forecast for Perth, Australia


Image thanks to Google search results

Weather forecast for Nottingham, England


Image thanks to Google search results

Hmm. Anyone else think the Perth winter looks suspiciously like an English summer? Except possibly a bit warmer. Scary.

Spicy beetroot & black bean fritters two ways by Scrummy Lane

My point about ‘adapting and seeing opportunities’ was drummed home again, in a sense, while testing out these beetroot and black bean fritters. They were a bit of a labour of love, which you may remember me alluding to in my last post. My first attempt flopped, not spectacularly, but into a bit of a bore, quite frankly. So for my next attempt I made a few changes and … bingo! The fritters were somehow crunchy, sweet, textured, zingy & generally flavoursome all at the same time. The crunch came from the onion and grated beetroot on the fried edges, the zingy-ness from the chili of course, the sweetness was, I’m guessing, also from the beetroot and then there was the softer, slightly-chewy-around-the-edges black bean element as well. Delicious! From the moment I took my first ‘test’ bite, I knew that these ‘destined-to-be-burgers’ little patties could easily ‘graduate’ to become ‘fritters’ as well. Not only because it seemed a shame to hide that beautiful crispy sweet bite away in a big bready burger bun, but also because I thought ‘spicy beetroot & black bean fritters two ways’ sounded better as a post title than just plain old beetroot & black bean burger.

Spicy beetroot & black bean fritters two ways by Scrummy Lane

I think that there are a couple of keys to making these burgers/fritters a success. The first is to find some nice fresh raw beetroot and cook it yourself. Which at first I thought would be a pain. A messy pain. But actually, it wasn’t so bad. All you have to do is chop off the beetroot leaves and boil them whole for about 15 minutes or until tender. You then let them cool and peel off the skins as best you can and grate them coarsely.

chili & beetrootmaking spicy beetroot & black bean fritters two ways by Scrummy Lane

And guess who impatiently peeled and grated their beetroot while they were still far too hot so not only were the skins more difficult to peel off but they burnt their fingers a little, too? They also didn’t wear any plastic gloves, so yes, they did end up with purple hands. Don’t worry, though, they are not going to be flying to Australia with purple hands – they washed clean pretty easily!

Anyway, once you’ve got your grated beetroot, you squeeze it out into the sink a handful at a time to get most of the moisture out of it (hello even more purply hands). This squeezed-out beetroot goes into a big bowl with some black beans, chopped onion, cumin and coriander, basil, lemon zest, worcestershire sauce, an egg and a little flour, then you’re ready to fry up your fritters!

making spicy beetroot & black bean fritters two ways by Scrummy Lane

Don’t try to shape this mixture in your hands. I found that the best way to do this was to drop tablespoons of the mixture into a thin layer of hot oil and flatten them slightly with the back of the spoon as they start sizzling away.

Spicy beetroot & black bean fritters two ways by Scrummy Lane

As you can see from my photos, the first time we ate these fritters (as burgers – is this getting a bit confusing?), I served them in a wholemeal burger bun with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and a big spoonful of sour cream. Big piggies that we are, we then ate a little more of the mixture as slightly smaller fritters, dipped into sour cream, as so:

Spicy beetroot & black bean fritters two ways by Scrummy Lane

These fritters perhaps wouldn’t win any beauty contests, but, believe me, they taste great!

The next day, as there were still some leftovers (honestly, they seem to just go on and on …) I fried some more little fritters up and served them alongside some curry, which worked surprisingly well. The fritters tasted almost like slightly sweeter onion bhajis eaten in this way. Maybe I should have called this post spicy beetroot & black bean fritters three ways!

So I guess the moral of this recipe is that I adapted my ‘plans’ for it as I went along and it turned out great in the end. Likewise, I might be having to wait a little while longer to get settled in my home country, but maybe the end story will turn out better this way. For the moment, I just have to go with the flow. But however you look at it, I reckon I don’t really have any grounds to complain.

Spicy beetroot & black bean fritters two ways

Serves: 4 to 6 (with leftovers)

Delightfully sweet, crispy, spicy & generally flavoursome fritters made of grated fresh beetroot and black beans. Serve them in a burger bun for one of the most satisfying veggie burgers you've had, or as proper 'fritters' with a sour cream dip.
  • about 9 ounces/250 grams raw beetroot (I used 2 small/medium-sized ones)
  • 14 ounce/400 gram can of cooked black beans (8.5 ounces/240 grams net), drained
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 red or green chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon each of salt & black pepper
  • 1 small egg
  • 2 tablespoons flour (normal or gluten free)
  • oil for cooking (enough to cover the bottom of a wide skillet/frying pan)
  • burger buns, lettuce, cheese, tomato & sour cream to serve (or just sour cream & perhaps salad leaves if you’re serving as smaller fritters)
  1. Chop the leaves off the beetroot, then boil the beets for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and leave to cool, then peel and grate coarsely. Squeeze out as much of the water as you can by grabbing handfuls and squeezing over the sink. Put the squeezed-out beetroot in a large bowl.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
  3. Pour a good layer of oil into a wide skillet/frying pan and heat it up until it starts to simmer. Then drop heaped tablespoons (for burgers) or heaped teaspoons (for smaller fritters) of mixture into the pan and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. Cook them for a few minutes on each side until crispy and cooked through.
  4. Serve in a toasted burger bun with lettuce, tomato & sour cream or as fritters with sour cream for dipping.
These fritters also go really well with a curry. They reminded me of onion bhajis!

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  1. says

    Oh my goodness, Helen, if anything, I am even more excited to come and read your posts now! Wow, life truly is an adventure for you right now. Australia, eh? More foodie travels … and I guess more house hunting. 😉
    I so enjoy veggie fritters and the bean addition adds body and health benefits! These look delicious!

    • says

      Well, actually no house hunting because we will be staying with Mr. Scrummy’s mum who very graciously loves having us to stay there. It is indeed an adventure we have ahead of us – just got to keep trying to see it that way! 😉 So happy you like the fritters – you’re right, pretty healthy!

  2. says

    I’ll take Australia or England! :) But I can understand how hard it would be once you’ve got your mind/heart set on one thing for it to suddenly shift again – best of luck in the upcoming months!

    These Beetroot Black Bean fritters look amazing! I love the idea of eating them on a bun! Yum!

    • says

      Thanks so much for the good wishes, Kaylee. We’ll be fine. Definitely a first world ‘problem’ I’m talking about. 😉 So glad you like the fritters!

  3. Joyce says

    Love, love your stories and recipes too! One blog I look forward to all the time and take time to really read it, and with such enjoyment. Being American and living in Europe for many years, I love stories from out of our own USA. THANKS!

    • says

      Hello, Joyce! Wow, you have truly made my evening with this comment! I often write having absolutely no idea whether anyone is remotely interested in a word of it, but you have encouraged me that at least some people are (other than other food bloggers of course who I have to say are an extremely supportive bunch!) I love reading about people’s lives in other countries, too! I’m so so happy that you’re enjoying the blog and hope that you will continue to do so. Have a wonderful weekend!
      P.S. Which countries did you live in in Europe?

  4. says

    Australia sounds wonderful! I visited many, many years ago and loved it, but I said the same about London, didn’t I? It truly does sound like an adventure, and I wish you the best! Beets truly are a labor of love, but they’re so worth it. I love the combination that you came up with here — I would’ve never thought to pair them with black beans. This sounds just delicious, Helen! Pinning. :)

    • says

      So glad you like this idea, Marcie. I actually got the idea to mix beets with black beans at a restaurant in a mall, of all places, a couple of weeks back, and just took it from there. Thanks so so much for the good wishes and, of course, thanks for the pin!

  5. says

    Once again, you stun with the combination of unique flavors. You got the onion, basil, zest of a lemon, black beans, so far so good, but then you add, [stunned here] grated beet root! This is a new ingredient for me, never worked with it before and wouldn’t unless some creative person like yourself shows me how to use it!!!

    And this recipe is so timely for my family specifically. My husband came home with 20 cans of organic black beans yesterday (I guess there was a big sale!) I don’t dare complain because I don’t want to discourage him from doing the shopping.

    Congrats…is that the right word…on your travels to Australia, staying with your MIL, too cute. I bet she’ll love having you there cooking for her all your unique recipes.

    • says

      Actually, my MIL does really enjoy all the recipes. At least she is a pretty good sport about trying them – both the good and not so good. Laura, your comment is so sweet! Thank you so much for the encouragement. I hope this recipe doesn’t disappoint if you do try it. I don’t think so, though – you need to use up those beans somehow, after all! :-)

    • says

      Please do try it some time! It’s reeeallly good. So long as you get the frying right and they end up nice and crispy. :-)

  6. says

    And I thought our moving process was a bit hectic… nope, you win. You totally 100% win! Phew, well I hope there are bright things ahead for you in Australia these next few months, and keep pumping out these wildly creative recipes! These fritters look beautiful!

    • says

      Ha, yes I guess I do win. Can’t really argue with that! At least I win in miles travelled! 😉
      ‘Wildly creative’, huh? Hey, thanks! So glad you like the fritters and … hope your moving is going smoothly!

  7. says

    Helen, I can imagine it would be a bit rough to move to Australia when you had your heart set on England. But you seem to adapt very well and I’m sure you will make the best of it. And also come up with some delicious recipes, too! I’m anxious to see what Australia has to offer! These fritters look so tasty and perfect for the summer!

    • says

      Thanks so much for the lovely words, Gayle. I’m certainly learning to adapt! Also, you’re right that it’s a perfect opportunity to explore the food scene ‘down under’ – I realised last time I was there that Asian food is a big thing in Australia and the ingredients are pretty easy to get, so that’s something to look forward to for a start! So glad you like the fritters – summery indeed!

  8. says

    C’est incroyable! Je ne pouvais pas le croire. Tu viens de t’installer et voila parti à nouveau pour l’aventure! Bon, l’unique chose que je peux te dire c’est que tu pourra continuer à blogger de las bas et nous on sera par la. C’est un maigre consolation que je viens te donner! Je crois que tu fais très bien de le prend de bon côte, la vie c’est une aventure et finalement tu as la chance de t’immerger à nouveau dans une nouvelle culture. C’est tellement enrichissent ! Pense à tous les recettes nouvelles que tu vas a découvrir et que tu nous feras découvrir de coup!
    Ta recette est top! Très original, j’aime beaucoup!
    Je te souhaite un très bon voyage et des très belles aventures 😉

    • says

      Eva, tu es trop gentille! Moi aussi je ne pouvais pas le croire quand on allais louer l’apartement que nous avons trouve et puis … tout a change dans un instant. Tu as raison qu’au moins je pourrai continuer a blogger par la et que, d’un certain cote, tous mes amis ‘blogging’ seront la aussi! Merci beaucoup pour les bons voeux! :-)

  9. says

    I had to re-read this a couple of times! Wow. Such a huge change indeed. Both places sound fabulous to me, but I’m not the one living there. Life is full of curve balls and fickleness which I’m never too good at dealing with! You sound very calm about this whole thing! Also, just remember that you have blogging pals that are with you no matter where you are in the world! :) Too cheesy? lol

    These burgerfritters look AMAZING! They look like a latke burger, which sounds like my cup of tea. Yum! Love beets and beans and that beautiful colour.

    • says

      Ha! Burgerfritters … why didn’t I think of that?! Hmmm … am I calm about this ‘curveball’? Perhaps just resigned. There are many good things about going to Perth again but in all honesty I was all ready to set up shop here and that would be my first choice. And, cheesy or not, it is great to have blogging pals all over the world … doesn’t really matter where I am to keep in touch with all of you!

  10. says

    Oh my gosh, Helen! Life is an adventure for sure. And I thought our cross-country trip was covering a lot of mileage – you’ve certainly got us beat! Best of luck with all your plans. :) These fritters are so unique, I bet they’re delicious both as a “burger” or solo dipped in sour cream. I’d have a hard time choosing which way to eat them!

    • says

      Alyssa, I think your trip is still going to beat ours on the ‘adventure’ scale. We just have to sit on a plane for hours (and hours) but you are going to see all those amazing places on your way. I would love to do a US roadtrip! How is the planning going by the way? (I guess I can hop on over to your blog to find out!)
      Thanks so much for the good wishes. I think if I had to choose one way to eat these fritters it would be the ‘on their own dipped in sour cream’ way. 😉

  11. says

    Wait…. your moving back to Australia, so from Greece to England to Australia….that sounds amazing Helen, I would be up for that. How exciting, I will live voraciously through you….. Love these burgers, they look and sound amazing! Happy week-end to you and Mr Scrummy!

    • says

      Hmmm … I know it sounds exciting, but it would actually be great to live in one place for a while. Would you like to swap lives? So glad you like the burgers and you have a wonderful weekend, too! :-)

    • says

      Yes, if I’m honest that’s my favourite, too. They tasted very decadent, but they’re full of healthy indredients. Thanks so much for the good wishes, as well!

  12. says

    That’s so exciting!! But I can see why you’re still a little bit in shock about it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about life in Australia, though, so I’m sure you’ll love it!

    And yay for conquering these burgers! They sound fabulous!

    • says

      The life style is definitely good in Australia – you’re right about that. Just wasn’t expecting to have to go again right now. Still … all good! Glad you like the burgers!

    • says

      To be honest, when I was in Perth last year it seemed like it was always sunny! Just a bit chilly at night inside the house. Yup, trying to embrace the adventure indeed. I’ll wave to you over there in Sydney next week! :-)

  13. says

    So many adventures! It can seem daunting but your perspective will take you so far. Life is meant to be lived well, and you are clearly doing so! I know this next stint in Australia will grow and change you in remarkable ways. And these delicious fritters are making me hungry! So good!

    • says

      Monet, thanks so much for the lovely encouraging comment. You’re right that it’s all about perspective – it’s the way you look at a situation that counts! And … I definitely consider it to be a compliment that these fritters made you hungry!

    • says

      Thanks so much, guys! I think I’ve got a while to go before I get over my jet-lag, but we’re here safe and sound and that’s the main thing. Glad you like the fritters!

  14. says

    Wow, you guys are quite the jet setters! I completely understand you wanting to just finally be settled down somewhere, I think that is only a natural feeling for some of us. Unfortunately, for others (Mr. Scrummy), it probably only seems natural to travel around. It does sound like you guys get to go to some amazing places though! And maybe it is good for him to get it out of his system now and then hopefully soon you will be able to rent a house and finally settle down. We have moved around a lot for my husbands job and we finally settled down and bought a house about a year ago, and now both of us are already thinking of new places to move! Best of luck with your travels!

    I love beets, so I’m really excited about these beet and black bean fitters! I bet they would also be amazing with a little goat cheese on top! It is the season of burgers and I’m always looking for great veggie recipes and I really love this one :)

    • says

      I love love love travelling and never want to stop, but I think I’d prefer to be settled somewhere first and then travel from there. At the moment, our ‘problem’ is that I’m from the UK, Mr. Scrummy is from Australia and I lived in Greece for many years, so we’re bringing our lives in 3 countries together, which we’ve realised takes longer than you think. Still, we’ve had (and are still having) some great opportunities to see different places (and most of all experience all the different food … yum!)
      So where do you think you might move to? 😉
      So glad you like the fritters. That’s a fantastic idea to top them with a little goat’s cheese – I can totally imagine how perfect that would taste. Mmm … next time I’ll try that. :-)

    • says

      Sometimes it feels more like a big chaotic mess, but yes, it is exciting really. Or it will be once I’ve got over this jet lag … lol! Glad you like the burgers!

    • says

      Thanks so much for the compliments, Brittney, and thanks for paying me a visit, too. There’s nothing I like better than ‘meeting’ new readers here. So glad you like the fritters!

    • says

      Thanks, Lilli! I’ve always been disappointed by the veggie burgers I’ve tried so I was excited to try making one that I do like. :-)

  15. says

    Oh my goodness! What a huge change of course since I last read your blog a few days ago. You never know where life will take you. I’ve never been to Australia so I can’t wait to get a glimpse of it through your blog.
    Love these fritters! The beets give them the most fantastic color!

    • says

      They do have a rich, vibrant colour, don’t they? Scary-looking, almost!
      It is indeed a big change coming back here to Oz, Christin, but at the same time feels very ‘normal’ too as I’ve been here for a year out of the last two. This time though I’m hoping to delve into the food scene a bit more. So glad you like the fritters! :-)

  16. says

    How wonderful Helen! Mr Scrummy is brilliant to go off to a little “warmer” adventure before settling in England. Life is full of surprises and we can’t wait to read your posts from Australia! Love these vibrant beetroot fritters, they sound healthy and look beautiful :)

    • says

      It’s a curve-ball, that’s for sure, but as I said in my post I’m trying to see it as an opportunity. So glad you like the beetroot fritters. I was pleasantly surprised by how well they turned out and yes, they are healthy too, which makes me that little bit more excited about them. Hope you girls are doing well and see you over at your blog very soon!

  17. says

    What terrific fritters! I’ve never served them on buns, but I LOVE this idea! And beets and black beans? Wow, scrumptious!!!

    • says

      Thanks, Liz! They were pretty drool-worthy, I have to say, especially neat and dipped in the sour cream. Believe it or not, black beans are not so popular over in the UK at all, so I was really happy to find a can of them hanging out in the supermarket. So glad you like them!

  18. says

    So you’re headed to Australia?!? So cool. Can’t wait to hear more.
    Can I can these fritters burgers? I mean they look just like it in a sense. I’ve planted my very first beets and I’m so excited. I really hope they grow. If not, I will be one sad momma.
    Have a marvelous Monday Helen!

    • says

      Thanks so much for the good wishes! When you say ‘can’ do you mean put them in a tin can and preserve them? Sorry if I mis-understood! I think they will freeze very very well indeed, especially as you end up with so much mixture. That’s VERY exciting that you’ve planted some beets! I would SO love to do that! Do let us know how that goes. :-)

    • says

      Thanks so much, Kathy. It is all rather exciting – the best thing is seeing friends and family again. Glad you like the fritters and hope you do make them soon!

  19. Shashi @ RunninSrilankan(dot)com says

    Oh Wow – am so glad you are so positive about this change in plans – I love your phrase “the end story might turn out better this way”!
    And I love these beet and black been burgers/fritters – I love beets and combined with cumin and coriander – these would be so delicious! I will take any extras off your hands gladly 😉

    • says

      Thanks for your sweet comment, Shashi. I think you have to think of things in terms of the whole story, and 3 months is really not too long of a delay in getting settled down … in the grand scheme of things. So glad you like the fritters. The spices are what made them so tasty, I reckon. The chili adds some ‘ooomph’ too, of course. Pop by Perth some time and I’ll gladly make you some of these!

  20. says

    To be honest, if I didn’t have children in school, I would love to live in all the places you have! What an adventurous life you lead. Going back to Australia will be a fun & warm adventure. You will make it back home eventually!

    Although I am not a fan of beetroot – you make me want to give it another go with these fritters. They look TASTY!

    Good luck with your move to Australia!

    • says

      Pam, thank you so much for the good wishes. Maybe you can do some travelling once your children have finished school! As for the fritters, I would have to say that you don’t really taste beetroot exactly. I think the beets just add a sweetness and crunch, because it’s a fritter. And some healthy veggie, of course (bonus). So maybe you should give these a try and see what you think – let me know if you do! :-)

  21. says

    I completely understand the disappointment phase that you may have gone through but WHAAAAA???!!!!!! Australiaaaaa!!!! Wooohhooo!!!! Sometimes, unexpected adventures can bring soooo much joy! You’re going to have an amazing time!!!! Of that I am 109 % sure!!!! Can’t wait to see this new place through your posts! :* These fritters are sooooo AWESOME! I loveee beetroot!!!! especially the red-purple hands part!!! I’m LOVING all those spices that you’ve added!!!!!! since monsoons are arriving soon here, these are just perfect on a cold, rainy day!!!!

    • says

      I waved at you as we passed close-ish to Mumbai on the plane yesterday, Samina! You were running around with that camera of yours taking photos of food again. 😉
      Thanks so much for the good wishes. I’m really looking forward to seeing family again (we’re going to surprise them!) and checking out the food scene here, especially the Asian restaurants. So glad you liked the fritters. The spices (and crunchiness) were what made them, actually. Definitely making them again!

  22. says

    haha oh my gosh Australia! Girl you are on the go all the time it seems!! But still exciting! I studied abroad in Australia in college and adored my time there : )

    And these fritters sound amazing – definitely my kind of meal!

    • says

      I guess it is rather exciting – just sitting here all jet-lagged in Perth as I write. I am wondering a bit who I am, where I am and what day it is, but trying to see the adventure in it all. Where in Australia did you study? My fave places so far are Melbourne (for the food & hip vibe) and Sydney (for that gorgeous harbour and China town!) Very happy that you like the fritters!

  23. says

    Congrats on the move! It sounds so exciting and I look forward to keeping up with your new adventures. We were so planning to make black bean burgers tonight and will have to try these fritters, they are so beautiful!

    • says

      We’ve just arrived in Australia and feeling rather disoriented right now, Jessica, so the good wishes are very much appreciated. Thank you so much, and so happy that you like the fritters, too. I’ve never made a black bean burger before so I was really happy that these turned out so well. :-)


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