We’re always trying to invent a great veggie burger to add to our archive. I’ve made Wild Rice Burgers, Black Bean Burgers, Jamaican Chickpea Burgers, and the list just goes on because there can never be enough recipes out there to choose from.. Well that’s what I thought, but right now I’m thinking we’ve just invented the one vegan burger that trumps all others. These meaty patties seem like the perfect burger compromise between an omnivore and a vegetarian; thick, fully-textured, and marinated in rich smoky flavors. The inspiration came after we tested the “Ultimate Veggie Burger” published in the New York Times. For them to call it “ultimate” and for me to have a history of keeping my hands deep in veggie patty concoctions, I had to check it out. So many great tips to take from them, but of course, we had to do it our own way. And we thought we’d make it vegan too while we were at it…
4 TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST VEGGIE BURGERS
There are a few things to remember when making a great veggie burger, and I’m going to break it down better than I ever have before:
1. Choose vegetables that already have a meaty texture
When choosing the ingredients to go into your veggie burger, think about how they’ll hold up in the final patty. You want ingredients that contribute to the overall texture of the patty, which, if you’re trying to mimic a regular burger, should be meaty. Mushrooms, beans, chickpeas, squash, quinoa, and tempeh all make fabulous additions to a veggie burger–once they’re removed all their natural liquid. Which brings me to my next suggestion…
2. Dry out all ingredients separately before grinding and molding them into patties
Eric’s biggest complaint about most veggie burgers (either the ones I’ve made or the ones he’s eaten when we’re eating at restaurants) is that they’re too soft, and that they fall apart easily–he’s usually left scooping up the remaining 3/4 of his burger with a fork. And no one wants to eat a burger that is the same texture as the bread it’s sitting on cause what’s the excitement with that? Well I’ve been on a mission to reconcile this issue. Research agrees: Bake all vegetables and beans in the oven until they’re completely dried out. This allows them to stay compacted when you mold them, also removing the water makes the flavors more concentrated/less watered down. So it’s a win win.
3. Don’t Overgrind the Mixture
I’ve certainly been guilty of this one. Overgrinding the veggie patty mixture turns the patties into paste. We don’t like when our meat is ground into paste, so why would we treat our vegetables with that type of indecency?! Grind them just enough so everything is uniform, but not too much so you can still see little hints of what’s inside. Doing this will give the burgers just enough bite to make it memorable and meaty.
4. Freeze the patties before cooking
I’m usually ready to just chow down after taking time to make veggie burgers, so I just plop them on a sheet pan and into the oven. Freezing them though, ensures the patties don’t fall apart, which makes them easily grillable and “pan-sear-able”! Why is this important? Because it creates two textures on the patty, a seared, crunchy outside, and a juicy and tender center- just like those award winning burgers around town.
I urge you to try the recipe at least once, and to not be discouraged by the prep time required. You can take care of much of the prep while you’re cooking dinner the night before. And you can double the recipe so it serves for 2 meals.
Things to Prep the Night Before:
- Cook the eggplant and marinate overnight
Things to Prep in the Morning:
- Cook the brown rice
- Bake the vegetables in the oven, let cool.