VEGGIE burgers created by a Lothian schoolgirl are to go on sale in supermarkets across the UK.
Mhari Robertson, a second year pupil at Linlithgow Academy in West Lothian, won a competition to create a healthy recipe as part of a schools initiative run by Sainsbury’s.
The prize in the Scottish Food Challenge was 250 for Mhari’s school and a trip to see her winning recipe cooked up by chefs in Sainsbury’s kitchens.
But when buyers for the supermarket tasted the prize burgers they were so impressed they decided to add them to the company’s product range.
Now 13-year-old Mhari’s face is to feature on packs of the burgers which go on sale in Sainsbury’s from today.
The recipe, which uses traditional Scottish vegetables, is tipped to prove a winner with customers.
Today, keen cook Mhari said the success of her recipe had left her stunned.
The youngster, who has not yet decided if she wants a career in the food industry, added: "I am amazed that people can now just walk into Sainsbury’s and buy my veggie burgers, and that my face is on the pack. I’m thrilled, but I was inspired and helped by Valerie Drew, my home economics teacher."
Ms Drew said she knew Mhari’s recipe was good, but it had still been a surprise when the supermarket decided to sell the product in its stores.
"It’s great to celebrate Mhari’s success," said the teacher, who is very proud of her pupil’s winning recipe.
But she added the competition, which was part of Sainsbury’s Taste of Success Scheme, had been popular with all the pupils who had taken up the challenge to produce a healthy recipe designed to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables.
"We were able to get all 220 of the second year pupils in the school taking part. It has been a great opportunity for pupils to use the valuable life skills they get in home economics and apply them in a real life situation," she said.
Sarah Richards, Sainsbury’s nutritionist, said one of the reasons Mhari’s recipe had proven so popular with the judges was that it showed how healthy food could still be tasty. She added: "It is vital to encourage young people to develop an understanding of how to eat more healthily and develop the practical food skills required to make healthy nutritious foods.
"Mhari’s veggie burgers are just one example of how healthier eating can be made fun, easy and still tasty."
Mhari’s veggie burgers are on sale in Sainsbury’s at 99p for a pack of two.
David Bann, who runs David Bann’s vegetarian restaurant in St Mary’s Street, said: "The more mainstream vegetarian food is, the better. This is fantastic. I wish her well."
Mhari's winning recipe
• 150g carrots
• 100g potatoes
• 100g wholemeal breadcrumbs
• 75g leek
• 50g swede
• 15ml oil
• 1 tablespoon parsley
• 1 egg
1. Boil the water. Peel and wash the carrots, potatoes, swede and leek. (Make sure all the vegetables are clean and all peelings go in the bin.)
2. Dice the swede and potato, grate the carrots and thinly slice the leek.
3. Boil the potatoes and swede until soft. Drain and mash when done.
4. Heat the oil in a small pan and fry the carrots and leek for about five minutes.
5. Add the fried vegetables to the mashed potato and swede.
6. Lightly flour the table and divide the mixture into four equal pieces. Shape each of them into cubes. Coat each of them in egg and breadcrumbs.
7. Put in the oven and bake until golden brown (don’t burn the burgers).
8. Serve with a garnish of parsley (wash and dry dishes).