This is a Veggie Burger created by a carnivore, for carnivores. It is not a vegetarian burger pretending to be a meat burger, packed with obscure ingredients. This is just a flavour packed, juicy vegetarian burger that’s satisfyingly meaty. And it can be grilled!
A vegetarian burger will never taste like a beef burger. So forget trying to fake meat. Just make a tasty, meat free burger!
MY PERFECT VEGGIE BURGER
My idea of a perfect Veggie Burger is one that has less beans* and more veggies, a golden crust on the outside, moist on the inside but not soggy ( <– notorious problem with veggie burgers), with a nice meaty texture.
It only contains “normal” ingredients and most importantly, it has to be ultra tasty. I’m not willing to compromise on deliciousness just because this is meat free. It has to be just as tasty in its own right!!!
* Most Veggie Burgers are quite high in beans, presumably because it’s the easy solution to make a patty with a “meaty” texture that’s moist. Vegetables, on the other hand, make burgers mushy as they release moisture when the patty is being cooked.
THE SECRET TO A KILLER VEGGIE BURGER….
OK, so here’s my big secret to a killer Veggie Burger: bake the beans and vegetables to dry them out slightly.
This serves three purposes: removing excess water to eliminate the soggy patty issue, improving the burger texture and intensifying flavour.
For my vegetables, I use mushrooms and carrots. Mushrooms add great savoury flavour and add to the “meatiness” of the patty. And I use carrots because it’s a low water content veg plus I like that it adds little bits of colour to the burger.
As for the beans, I use cannellini beans mainly for colour purposes. Other beans will work just fine – I’ve made this with red kidney beans, black beans, butter beans and chickpeas.
When you pull them out of the oven, they will look thoroughly unappetising. Wrinkled and dry. And that’s exactly what you want!!!
↑↑↑ Always amazes me how much mushrooms shrink. 🙂
4 STAGE BLITZ
I think you’ve already got the gist that texture is key with Veggie Burgers. Biting into a glorious towering burger only to find the patty is so soft it oozes out the sides and has the texture of baby food is truly one of the saddest food experiences you’ll ever have.
So here’s my (other) rule for a killer Veggie Burger – a 4 Stage Blitz. It’s key to control texture.
Blitz 1: The cashews. Trust me, you need them. They add soft bits of texture into the Veggie Burger Mixture. Can’t separately identify it in the end result, but when you bite into it, you’ll notice if they’re absent. Blitz these first until they are chunky breadcrumbs.
Blitz 2: Add the wrinkly dried out beans, carrots and mushrooms. Blitz again until they are crumbs. Don’t blitz into powder otherwise you lose texture – and remember, there’s still 2 blitzes to go!
Blitz 3: Add the Flavourings. Parmesan, garlic, paprika, mayo (bit of fat + flavour), salt and pepper, plus egg to bind and some breadcrumbs to reduce some of the moisture content of the Veggie Burger mixture. Blitz again until it’s all well combined and it has a texture like meat mince (ground beef).
There’s room to move on the amount of blitzing in this step, as long as you can still see “bits” in the mixture. In the burger photo at the top of the post, I blitzed the mixture more than pictured in the step photo below so the side of the burger looks smoother.
Blitz 4: Add brown rice and shallots / green onions, then blitz very quickly just to disperse. Don’t over blitz – if the rice gets mushed up, it turns gummy and gluey.
The brown rice adds more texture and oomph to the Veggie Burger. I tried it with and without, and it really makes a difference to make the Veggie Burger more “meaty”.
The shallots add freshness – you could sub this with chives or parsley, but don’t sub with onion or leek (they’re too watery).
The mixture should be wet enough so it holds together when you make patties, but it shouldn’t get stuck on your hands. If the mixture is too wet, add a touch of extra breadcrumbs and blitz quickly to disperse.
NOT TOO THICK, NOT TOO THIN
I know, I know, you want gigantic, super thick Veggie Burgers. I’ve been there, and discovered the hard way that you can’t be greedy when it comes to Veggie Burgers.
Anything thicker than 2cm / 0.8″, and you’ll started experiencing soggy insides.
Any thinner than 1.3 cm, and it starts becoming more like crisp fritters.
So use this mixture to make between 4 to 6 patties that are about 10cm / 4″ rounds and no thicker than 1.8 cm / 0/7″ thick. Sensible size (6 patties), Standard (5 patties) or Mega (4 patties).
THAT GOLDEN CRUST
With beef burgers, it’s all about cooking hard and fast, and ensuring the inside isn’t overcooked. With Veggie burgers, it’s the opposite – ensuring the heat is low enough so it cooks all the way through without burning the outside.
Also – no skimping on oil! You need it, to ensure you get a nice golden crust on the burgers. Veggie Burgers have very little fat compared to beef burgers. So you need it!
And here it is! Hopefully you can see from the photo that the inside looks firm but still moist, with plenty of texture. It’s by no means crunchy at all, all those “bits” you see give the patty meatiness so you feel like you’re biting into something substantial rather that something soft and wimpy.
Just like a meaty beef burger! 😂
WORTH THE EFFORT
There’s no denying it. Veggie Burgers take more effort than making beef burgers.
Is it worth it?
YES. No question about it.
It is actually really hard to buy a good veggie burger, at least here in my area. The ones at the supermarket are just offensive. And every time I’ve taken the plunge and chosen a veggie over a meat burger when I’m eating out, I’ve always been disappointed.
And it was one such disappointing experience that kicked me into action to make a killer homemade Veggie Burger.
It’s everything a burger should be – it’s satisfying, it’s juicy, it’s “meaty” and most importantly of all, it’s so darn tasty! – Nagi x
Beans and Veggies:
- 250g/8oz mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 400g / 14 oz can cannellini beans, drained (Note 1)
- 1 large carrot , grated
- 1/2 cup / 70 g cashews, raw unsalted (Note 2)
- 1/2 cup / 55 g panko breadcrumbs (Note 3)
- 1/2 cup / 50 g grated parmesan
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1/2 tsp each paprika, salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup / 150g cooked brown rice (Note 4)
- 3/4 cup sliced shallots / green onions)
- 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil (or other)
- Soft buns, lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles, sauces, avocado, beetroot
Beans and Veggies:
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F (standard) or 160C/320F (fan/convection).
- Pile mushrooms on a baking tray. Drizzle over oil, toss, then spread on the tray.
- Spread beans on another tray, sprinkle carrots all over.
- Put beans on top shelf and mushrooms on the shelf underneath.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until surface of beans is dried out and splitting and they look thoroughly unappetising, and the carrots around the edge of the tray are a bit golden. (Note 5) Remove tray with beans from oven.
- Move mushrooms to top shelf, bake for further 10 minutes until dried out and wrinkly. Remove from oven, cool.
- Place cashews in food processor. Blitz until they are breadcrumb size, don't blitz to powder.
- Scrape beans, mushrooms and carrot into food processor. Blitz on high for 10 seconds or until chopped to large crumb size (see video and photos).
- Add breadcrumbs, egg, parmesan, garlic, paprika, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Blitz for 15 - 30 seconds until it comes together like meat burger mixture but you can still see bits in it. (Note 6)
- Add rice and shallots, blitz for 2 seconds until just dispersed (over blitzed rice = gluey).
- Mixture should hold together well to form patties, but not stick to hands. If too wet, add breadcrumbs. If too crumbly, blitz more.
- Shape into 4 - 6 patties, between 1.5 - 1.8cm / 0.6 - 0.7" thick and 10cm / 4" wide (Note 7). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To Cook - Stove:
- Cook burgers cold, straight from the fridge.
- Heat 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil skillet on the stove over medium to medium-high heat.
- Add 3 - 4 patties and cook until deep golden and crispy, 4 minutes. Carefully flip then cook the other side for 4 minutes until golden, then transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Cook cold, straight from fridge. Brush BBQ and Veggie patties with oil. Heat BBQ to medium high. Cook 4 minutes each side until a nice dark crust forms.
- Toast buns, spread top bun with relish or sauce of choice. Top with your choice of burger fillings and the Veggie Burger, then more sauce if desired.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
At a weekend gathering. His eyes are just at eye level. What torture for him! 😂