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17 October 2009

Vegetarian Burgers

I have been noticing vegetarian patties at the store that you can grill and eat like hamburgers, and I've wanted to try to make some veggie burgers for a while. I mentioned in the previous post a recipe for a pumpkin and white bean burger that I wanted to try because I had fresh pumpkin on hand, I did make that. Also, a while ago I made a spicy black bean burger recipe that was pretty good, but I would do things a little different with it. And yesterday my boss mentioned to me a way to make patties with lentils and cracked wheat, so maybe I'll find a recipe for that, or we'll start making it at work and it will be good.

I tried the recipe with pumpkin and beans.  I read several comments where people said that they added bread crumbs and eggs and they held together better throughout the entire process. So I tried that, but I forgot to add the oats that it calls for. I think the oats instead of the bread crumbs would have been better texturally, and I would definitely keep the egg as well. I also patted bread crumbs on to the formed patties, to try to give it a nice crunchy exterior, and it worked! The exterior browned nicely and was firm and crisp. But overall I was a little disappointed with the finished product. It was very starchy, so much that I couldn't stand to eat it on a bun, and I couldn't even taste the pumpkin. I ate it with an avocado instead of a mayonnaise sauce, and I liked the avocado a lot. Here's what I would do with this recipe if I make it again: 1) Use the recommended amount of oats, not bread crumbs 2) Add an egg to the original recipe 3) Use a very flavorful squash puree, drained so that the patties won't be so juicy, they will be easier to form 4) Coat the formed patties in bread crumbs to help them stay together during cooking and for a nice crunchy outside.

The spicy black bean burgers I tried were pretty tasty, but difficult to make. They didn't hold together very well, so I kept adding more bread crumbs. When I chopped up the onion and green pepper in a food processor, they became very very juicy, so I think that's why it needed more bread crumbs. If I was making it again I would either chop the veggies by hand instead of in the food processor, or I would drain the processed veggies very well to keep the mixture from becoming too soggy and unmanageable.  Also, the author says that if you are grilling them, to put them on a piece of foil, and then put them on the grill. It almost makes sense to use foil, because veggie burgers don't hold together as well as ground beef and they would probably fall apart and slip between the bars of the grill rack when you try to flip them, or even just place them on the grill. However, the burgers stuck to the foil, even though we had sprayed it with non-stick spray, and they didn't seem to actually get cooked all the way through. So we found a rack to put on the grill with small holes, like something you might use for fish, and used that instead of foil, and that got the job done. I think it would also be easy to cook them on the stove with some oil on a cast iron griddle. Overall, these burgers were quite good. They had a nice texture, not like meat, but you can't have everything. Even with all the extra added bread crumbs they weren't too starchy, and they were spicy and very tasty. I had used cayenne pepper instead of hotsauce, and they had quite a kick to them.

The other day we bought these veggie burgers, and they are quite good, but I think they have way too much salt in them. Also, there are chunks of something, probably the bamboo shoots, that are way too fibrous and hard to chew. When I bite into a piece of the bamboo shoot, it reminds me of trying to eat cardboard, or maybe styrofoam. I don't like that. And they use soy protein; I'm still not sure how I feel about soy products, and I generally stay away from them. But I do like that they are uniform in shape and size, that they have chunks of vegetables, they hold together, even on a grill and that they aren't made of mostly beans.

I guess that is my goal for making a veggie burger now: something that holds together without needing a ton of bread crumbs, I figure, if I'm going to put these on a bun, I don't need bread already in the patty. And it needs to have other vegetables in it besides beans, and I probably won't be doing tofu of TVP anytime soon. So if I find something that works and I love, I will put it up here!

1 comment:

  1. If you want that meaty texture try adding some coarsely chopped walnuts and some finely diced raw onion to the patty.