The old fake meat veggie burger of old has been buried for good.
The new veggie burger heralds and proclaims vegetables in their own right, not as meat substitutes. Make your veggie burgers at home with nuts, soy, beans and grains - all excellent sources of vegetable protein, essential minerals, and vitamins. They tastes so good and have wonderful textures.
The huge variety of veggie burgers are very healthy choices for people trying to lose weight or trying to eat healthy whole foods.
These burgers help reduce saturated fats, complex carbohydrates and increase natural fiber in the diet in a delicious way.
In the following article I have gathered some of the best tips for making the perfect veggie burger at home that will avoid all the pitfalls. I also include some of the best recipes for veggie and tofu burgers.
Binding the ingredients together - This is perhaps the commonest source of problems.Some of the ideas are:
Use lighter soy or alternatives - Dark soys can swamp the taste and so use a lighter variety or substitutes such as soy sauce with tamari.
Cooking options - meat burgers have a lot of fat that helps stop them drying out on a grill and cooking properly.
Dairy Substitutes - there are many great substitutes that work very well such as coconut, soy, almond milk and hemp milk. Finding a cheese substitute may be more difficult, but you can use chopped tofu. Don't try to imitate the cheese - go for a unique taste instead.
Don't overdo the variety - Many veggie burgers can become a mash or ingredients with no real fundamental flavors, especially when everything is finely chopped. One good idea is to pick on one or two main ingredients and primarily focus on those. That can mean anything from eggplant, nuts or chickpeas as the star ingredient.
Go Bold with the Flavors - So many veggie burgers can be rather bland and uninteresting with everything blended together. The two solutions are not to chop the ingredients so finely so you can taste and enjoy the texture of the individual foods. Also try to be bolder and more adventurous with the flavors. Use fresh or dried spices and herbs - a little more than you would normally need. Incorporating ingredients with intense flavors, like dried or roasted tomatoes, olives and capers.
Be Adventurous with the Toppings - Don't be limited to the iceberg lettuce, chilli sauce or ketchup. Veggie burgers tastes better with strongly flavored and adventurous toppings, like olive tapenade, chipotle mayo, mustard, aioli, guacamole, pickled onions and one of the many spicy relishes that are available. Strongly flavored cheese is also a good idea.
Try adding finely ground smoked almonds which gives the burgers a deep, rich flavor without overwhelming them with too many nuts.
Preheat the oven to 375 F( 190 deg C). Cook the beet greens by steaming or blanching for 1-2 minutes, drain and finely chop. Add to large bowl with the cooked quinoa. Fry onion, ginger and carrot in a pan with a little oil until just cooked, then add the cumin and garlic and cook for another minute, cool and then add to the bowl with the quinoa mixture. Using food processor, puree the chickpeas with the egg (optional) and the lemon juice. Add to the bowl with the quinoa mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix everything together. Cook in a heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using slightly moist hands shape the mixture into patties or your required size. Fry the burgers for 1 - 2 minutes on each side until top and bottom is browned. Transfer the pan to an oven (or use a flat baking dish). Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until the patties are browned all over. Remove from the oven and serve.
Add one teaspoon of a high-temperature oil to a pan and fry the onions until soft. Add the mushrooms and shallow-fry for another 3-4 minutes, then cool. Using a food processor, blend the garlic and cilantro with two-thirds of the tofu until smooth. Grate the rest of the tofu and add mixture. Combine everything in a large bowl and stir well until well mixed. Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes. Using wet hands or a large spoon divide into 6-8 burger patties. Roll them in some extra breadcrumbs.
Add the black beans to a mixing bowl and roughly mash them using a fork. Add the cumin, water, chili powder, garlic, tomato paste, cilantro, and onion and combine together with a fork. Add the bread crumbs and wheat gluten. Using clean hands knead the mixture until it is firm and thoroughly mixed. Cook as above.
Steam the sprouted garbanzos until just tender, or rinse and drain the caned beans. Add the beans, eggs, and salt to a food processor and blend until the mixture thick but stick chunky. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the onion, zest, cilantro and sprouts and combine. Add the breadcrumbs and set aside for several minutes to allow the moisture to be absorbed by the bread crumbs. Add extra bread crumbs or water if needed. Form the mixture into about 12 patties using a large spoon or you hands.
Cook the potatoes and pumpkin in boiling water until tender, drain, cool and cut into 1 cm pieces. Transfer to a large bowl, add the cumin, chickpeas and coriander and mix until just combined. Cook the mustard seeds over high heat, in 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan. Add the seed to the mixture in the bowl and add the coriander leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper and gently mix to an even consistency. Using wet hands, form the mixture into burgers and the size that suits and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Cook as above.
Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Generously oil baking sheet. To squeeze the liquid from the tofu, place it between two plates, and place a heavy weight of some kind on top (a large saucepan of water can be used). Leave for about 15-30 minutes and then drain off the liquid. Fry the peppers, oregano, onions, carrots, basil and dill for about 7 minutes in a large frying pan with a little oil. Don't overcook - leave them a little tender to add texture and crunch. Break the pressed tofu into small pieces and add to a large bowl. Add the walnuts, miso, soy sauce, tahini, bread crumbs and mustard (optional). Then add the sauteed vegetables, and combine well. Form the mixture into 8-10 patties using your hands. Place, well separated, onto the greased baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until burgers are golden brown and firm to touch.
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (430 degrees F). Cook the quinoa by simmering in a cup of salt water for 13-15 minutes until tender. Drain well and set aside. Spread the black beans over a oven sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 15 minutes.
Then transfer the black beans to food processor or blender and pulse to chop. Add the cooked quinoa, Mexican seasoning, lemon rind, feta cheese, chipotle chilli and half the lemon juice. Pulse until the mixture just binds together. Divide the mixture into quarters and shape into burger patties. Prepare the sauce by combining the adobo sauce, yogurt, and a pinch of Mexican seasoning, salt and pepper to taste, and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in a bowl. Heat the olive oil in a heavy frying pan over moderate heat. Cook the burgers for 3-4 minutes on each side until crisp and golden brown.
To serve, cover the burger buns with a spread of the chipotle yogurt mixture, add a pattie and top with avocado, tomato and shredded lettuce and extra sauce. Serve immediately.