Trying to make veggie burger that will be tasty, not falling apart and have some nice bite to it can be sometimes challenging. But not impossible. The more often you do it, the closer you get. Here are 6 tips to help you in your search for the perfect veggie burger:
1. Know which ingredients you want to add and why. I believe this is important because it contributes to your understanding of the process and role of each ingredient. This way opens far more possibilities to be creative with.
2. Be sure to know how much wet ingredients (like beans, lentils, sauces…), and how much dry ingredients (like breadcrumbs, flour, ground oats, ground nuts…) you will use. Add small portions of each. That will make it easier for you to find out what you need to add if the consistency is not right. The mix shouldn’t be too wet because that makes patties mushy which is not really pleasant to bite. It shouldn’t be too dry either because that makes patties fall apart. The patties should be easy to form and shouldn’t stick on your hands.
3. Use a binder in your veggie burger mix, like flax meal, chia seeds, tapioca starch, arrowroot powder, etc. There are lots of options. Choose one you have at hand, combine it with the amount of water needed and you get your egg replacer that will help your patties hold together better.
4. Don’t leave any big chunks in the mix as they are pretty good in making patties fall apart. So make sure everything is finely chopped and the mix is well combined.
5. It is better to sauté or bake the vegetables and squeeze them before you add them to the mix. This way, you will get rid of extra water, which can mess things up.
6. It really helps if you prepare the mix a day ahead or at least couple of hours ahead and let it rest in the fridge before you form the patties. In this way you’ll give the ingredients time to get to know each other better and with that combine into tastier, flavorful patties. Beside that, they will stick together better.
Stick to experimenting and try to find what consistency suits you, which spices give it better taste, what kinds of beans, grains and vegetables you prefer. Some things that worked well for other people might not work well for you. And that is normal. Different people, different tastes. In the end, it’s always best to find your own way.
While being on your veggie burger journey, you can always test some good recipes. So if you are interested, here are 2 great veggie burger recipes that might be exactly what you want or might get you closer to what you are looking for.
Cook with love and have fun!
1. Beet and Been Burgers
3 large red beets (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup brown rice (not cooked)
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
2 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans
1/4 cup prunes, chopped into small pieces.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 teaspoons smoked paprika, to taste
2 teaspoons brown mustard
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large egg (optional, leave out for vegan burgers)
Salt and pepper
First, cook the beets: Heat the oven to 400°F. Wrap the beets loosely in aluminum foil and roast until easily pierced with a fork, 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Cook the rice while the beets roast: Meanwhile, bring a 2-quart pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and add the rice. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the rice until it’s a little beyond al dente. You want it a little over-cooked, but still firm (not completely mushy). This should take about 35 to 40 minutes. Drain the rice and set it aside to cool.
Begin sautéing the onions when you’re done with the rice (or during, if you’re OK with multitasking!): Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir the onions every minute or two, and cook until they are golden and getting charred around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. A few wisps of smoke as you are cooking are OK, but if it seems like the onions are burning, lower the heat. A dark, sticky crust should develop on the bottom of the pan.
Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the cider vinegar and scrape up the dark sticky crust. Continue to simmer until the cider has evaporated and the pan is nearly dry again. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Process the oats in a food processor until they have reduced to a fine flour. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Drain and rinse one of the cans of beans and transfer the beans to the food processor. Scatter the prunes on top. Pulse in 1-second bursts just until the beans are roughly chopped — not so long that they become mush — 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl. Drain and rinse the second can of beans and add these whole beans to the mixing bowl as well.
Grate the roasted beets: Use the edge of a spoon or a paper towel to scrape the skins off the cooled roasted beets; the skins should slip off easily. Grate the peeled beets on the largest holes of a box grater. Transfer the beet gratings to a strainer set over the sink. Press and squeeze the beet gratings to remove as much liquid as possible from the beets. (You can also do this over a bowl and save the beet juice for another purpose.)
Combine the veggie burger mix: Transfer the squeezed beets, cooked rice, and sautéed onions to the bowl with the beans. Sprinkle the olive oil, brown mustard, 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and thyme over the top of the mixture. Mix all the ingredients until combined. Taste the mixture and add salt, pepper, or any additional spices or flavorings to taste. Finally, add the oatmeal flour and egg (if using — it helps hold everything together, but isn’t 100% necessary), and mix until you no longer see any dry oatmeal or egg.
Refrigerate the burger mix 2 hours, or up to 3 days: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer the mixture to a refrigerator container, and refrigerate the burger mixture for at least 2 hours or (ideally) overnight. The mix can also be kept refrigerated for up to three days before cooking.
Shape the burgers: When ready to cook the burgers, first shape them into burgers. Scoop up about a scant cup of the burger mixture and shape it between your palms into a thick patty the size of your hamburger buns. You should end up with 6 large patties.
Cook the burgers: Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to completely coat the bottom of the pan. When you see the oil shimmer and a flick of water evaporates on contact, the pan is ready.
Transfer the patties to the pan. Cook as many as will fit without crowding; I normally cook 3 patties at a time in my 10-inch cast iron skillet.
Cook the patties for 2 minutes, then flip them to the other side. You should see a nice crust on the cooked side. If any pieces break off when you flip the burgers, just pat them back into place with the spatula. Cook for another 2 minutes, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 4 more minutes until the patties are warmed through. Enjoy!
Recipe from The Kitchn
2. Seitan Veggie Burgers
1 t paprika
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t rubbed sage
few pinches mustard powder
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
2 T olive oil
40 g whole wheat flour (~1/4 c)
30 g oat flour (~1/4 c)
25 g garbanzo flour (~1/4 c)
1 T flax seed meal
8 oz seitan well drained
Make a vege paste. Slice the onion, garlic, and zucchini and grind in a food processor until they form a smooth paste.
Line a colander with a clean kitchen towel and turn the paste into the towel. Wrap and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. A little moisture is fine, but the mix should be somewhat crumbly.
Start the burger mix. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add some olive oil, the paste, and the spices. (I used the spices listed above, but feel free to use whatever you like. Have a favourite steak rub? Stick it in!
Stir over heat until the spice are mixed in, then remove to a medium-sized bowl and add the oil. Stir to combine.
Add the flours and flax seed meal to the bowl and stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning, remembering that it should still be a little over-seasoned, since you still have to add the seitan.
In a food processor, briefly pulse the seitan until it’s chunky. Don’t worry if the chunks are a little big—it’s likely that they’ll break up as you stir the burger mixture.
Add the seitan pieces to the bowl and fold to combine.
Remove any jewellery, roll up your sleeves, and scoop 1/4 of the burger mixture into your hands. Shape into a patty and place on parchment paper or some other surface.
On the grill, cook until well-browned on the outside, about 5-7 minutes each side, depending on your grill method/temperature. Enjoy!
Recipe from The Wicked Good Vegan