Vegan burgers with Smoky Black Garlic Ketchup from Hawkshead Relish

Now, I’ll admit that I’m not normally a huge fan of tomato ketchup – I think it’s bit pointless and doesn’t normally add much in the way of flavour. When Hawkshead Relish suggested I try their new Smoky Black Garlic Ketchup, though, it sounded like something a bit more unusual that could be worth looking at for a non-ketchup fan. It’s a lightly smoked version of their Black Garlic Ketchup with black garlic and Anglesey smoked salt (and no, I didn’t know black garlic was a thing, either). It costs £4.99 for a 310g bottle from Hawkshead Relish, and is also available from selected supermarkets.

As a straight ketchup, I thought it had much more to offer than generic tomato ketchup. I did find the very dark colour a little off-putting (my appetite kept telling me that food shouldn’t really be black!) but the flavour was lovely.

Neither the smoked flavour nor the garlic were overpowering, and my other half, who’s not normally keen on smoked flavours, really liked it. It was a little sweet for my taste, but overall I was impressed – this is a sauce that will add something rather than just covering your food in sticky goo. As the ketchup is vegan, to try its versatility, I decided to put it through its paces by including it as ingredient in a vegan burger recipe. Vegan burgers can be a bit tasteless, so I was hoping this would give it a bit of ooompf.

Vegan chickpea and sweet potato burgers recipe

Makes 5 to 6

You’ll need:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 standard 400g tin of chickpeas
  • Six spring onions
  • Fresh herbs (I used chives, thyme and tarragon)
  • Smoky Black Garlic Ketchup
  • Three good tablespoons plain flour
  • Three good tablespoons breadcrumbs (either fresh or dried)
  • Oil for frying
  • Bread rolls and salad, to serve

What to do:

  • Peel the sweet potatoes, cut into small pieces and boil them for 20 to 25 minutes until really soft and tender. Drain off the water, and mash them with a potato masher. Allow to cool.

  • Drain the chickpeas (you can reserve the water for another recipe, if you like), and mash through roughly with a potato masher.
  • Finely chop the spring onions and herbs.
  • Put everything in a large bowl and mix it all together. Add in three or four tablespoons of ketchup until you get a soft dropping consistency.

  • Tip the flour and breadcrumbs onto a plate or chopping board, and put some flour on your hands. Put a couple of tablespoons of mixture onto the floured area and work it into a rough ball shape. Press it down with your palm to flatten it to a burger shape, then use a fish slice to flip it over and bread the other side. Use the fish slice to transfer it to a floured plate while you repeat the process for the other burgers. If you have time, put the uncooked burgers in the fridge for a couple of hours – they’re much more solid and easier to cook once chilled.

  • When you’re ready to eat, prepare the serving plates with salad and bread rolls. Preheat the oven to 50 degrees C. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, and drop in the first two burgers (unless you have a massive pan it’s best to cook them in batches, as you’ll need a little room to manoeuvre!). The trick here is to let them cook by themselves for a few minutes to form a crust – if you try and move them too fast, they’ll stick to the pan. After three or four minutes, flip them onto the other side to finish cooking. Transfer them to a baking tray in the oven to keep warm while you cook the next pair of burgers.
  • Serve with fresh salad and bread rolls, and extra ketchup if you like.

The ketchup worked very well as an ingredient, helping to bind the other ingredients, and it really delivered a flavour punch. Even my other half, who’s not very into vegetarian food, really enjoyed these moist, tasty burgers and they were very filling as well. All in all, a win for the Smoky Black Garlic Ketchup – it’ll be in my store cupboard from now on.

All images (c) Write Image for you Media 2019

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