NOT “Italian Superfood Burgers” from “Superfood Family Classics”

img_9461The weather on Sunday in London was absolutely glorious. It was a day begging for a barbecue, particularly when you consider we probably don’t have many barbecue days left. Consequently, I scrapped my original plan of a roast beef Sunday dinner– it had been raining and miserable when I bought the ingredients on Saturday– and pivoted over to the idea of burgers and other barbecue treats for Sunday dinner.

“Great,” I thought. “I know Jamie has a burger recipe in the book, so I can make that.” (This thought is important because we’ve been struggling to find recipes that we want to make out of this book so far.)

So we took the long way around to Waitrose– like I said, it was a beautiful day– to buy the ingredients. This is a word-for-word transcription of the conversation that occurred in the meat department:

Me: So we need 500 grams of lean mince for the burgers.

Tim: 500 grams? That doesn’t sound like very much.

Me: Well, you add cannellini beans to them to bulk them up. This is a Superfood Jamie recipe.

Tim: No.

Me: What do you mean no?

Tim: No.

Me: But it will make them healthy burgers! Jamie says so!

Tim: No.

Me: We could just try it. It won’t kill us.

Tim: No.

{This went on for a bit.}

Tim: I’m sorry, but it sounds disgusting.

Me: You’re right. It does. Let’s just make regular burgers.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is the first time in 5 1/2 years of doing this blog and testing recipes that he’s ever flat-out refused to try something. But I could see where he was coming from. What’s the point of having something delicious if you’re just going to muck it up by doing something weird* to it? Why risk buying expensive ingredients only to have everyone hate it?

*In this case, the weird was adding beans to mince. Although I was intrigued enough to want to try it, I’m not intrigued enough to make it just for me.

This conversation does go reinforce to what I said in my last post: this book is completely joyless and feels as though it was written by a team of people who don’t like food very much. I know that burgers are decidedly not the healthiest option. But surely I could have them every once in a while as part of a balanced healthy diet? Particularly on a night where we’re firing up the BBQ? Also, what does this tell people who don’t know how to cook and want a burger? The only way to have one is to add beans to it? WHY???


When we told the boys we had elected to not try the healthy Jamie burgers the response was nothing short of rapturous. I was glad we went the old-fashioned route, otherwise I imagine we would have had several leftover burgers on our hands when it was all over.

In the end, we had our usual burgers (best-quality mince with salt and pepper),  with cheddar cheese melted on top (somewhere a nutritionist on Jamie’s team is weeping), along with grilled halloumi, grilled corn on the cob, salad and potatoes in packets.

It was delicious and we were all happier for it, as we sat on our back patio under the setting sun laughing about the weekend. That’s what I call superfood.

NOT “Italian Superfood Burgers” from “Superfood Family Classics”

8 thoughts on “NOT “Italian Superfood Burgers” from “Superfood Family Classics”

  1. Mark Preval says:

    I couldn’t agree more with everything that you said. Jamie Oliver really has lost it. I have some of his older books (Jamie at Home, Jamie’s Italy, Jamie’s America, Jame Does…) and I use them regularly. I received a copy of Superfood Family Classics from a friend as a gift. As I flicked through it my heart began to sink. The recipes may well be healthy but as you stated, they feel utterly joyless. I have since passed this book onto a friend and unless Jamie begins to release books that a more appealing I can’t see myself buying another book by him again.

    There has been such a noticeable contrast in the mood of the contributors to this site from the last book you reviewed to this one. We need more people like Georgina Hayden and less people like Jamie who seems to spend most of his time preaching about the health benefits of a particular food.

    I had to laugh at a piece in the newspaper this morning where Jamie said that he wouldn’t mind being approached about being a judge on the Great British Bake Off now that the show has moved to Channel 4. So a man who wants to impose a sugar tax now wants to judge a show where sugar is prevalent in high quantities.

    I see that Jamie has a Christmas cookbook coming out in October. I bet we all can’t wait to try his healthy alternatives to classic Christmas food.

  2. Kat says:

    Haha, oh this is making me laugh! Wonderfully written. It’s so interesting- I agree totally with what you’ve said: the clan of Jamie finding it necessary to release a cookbook each year (what for?), the increasingly nutrition-orientated content etc- as I STILL use early Jamie cookbooks: the Ministry of Food cookbook is one of the foundation cookbooks that taught me the basics. Personally the switch/change happened around his revolutionary (in terms of design, format etc) 15 min cookbook- I own that and have never cooked anything from it!!

  3. Mark Preval says:

    I’m intrigued as to what he’s going to release next year. He can’t possibly release another Superfood book as 3 in 3 years would be overkill. I wouldn’t put it past him to jump on the clean eating fad.

    I can see it now: Jamie Eats Clean or Eat Clean with Jamie.

  4. Carrick says:

    Having bought the cookbook and tried this recipe I can confirm it was one of the most hideous things my family have tried in a while. Was dubious when I saw the proportions of beans to mince which was too much and more dubious when I realised there were no other flavours to be added to the mixture. The result was a burger that no longer tasted of beef with a texture (thanks to the beans) which will haunt me for some time…..

    1. Maureen Stapleton says:

      You’re a braver person than me, though maybe I would have tried it if my husband hadn’t doubled-down in the meat department of the supermarket. Though it sounds like we made the better choice. This recipe truly was a crime against food.

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