5 Basic Veggie Burger Tips

Take care of all your friends with a meatless option at your next barbecue

Veggie Burger

You are bound to have at least a few veggie-minded folks gathered around the grill at your upcoming outdoor gatherings this weekend and into the summer months. And instead of grabbing a box of frozen veggie patties from the freezer section, impress your veggie guests by whipping up homemade veggie burgers. It is easier than you think! Here are 5 basic tips for perfect veggie burger.

Veggie Burger Basics: 5 Tips

1. Bases. You can make veggie burgers out of a few items. The most popular ingredients are: mashed beans, lentils, chopped mushrooms, ground nuts, sticky grains like rice and quinoa, mashed potato, and ground veggie proteins like seitan, tofu, or TVP. Note that most vegetarians and vegans don’t mind if their burger isn’t a perfect shape or even if it falls apart a tad when eating it. Soft textures are fine — like a bean/sweet potato combo. Just be sure to focus on flavor and the rest is easy! Speaking of…

2. Flavor. Dried spices, salt, and other flavor-boosting ingredients are key to making a veggie burger successful since many of the main ingredients — grains and beans — can be on the bland side if left unseasoned. Try a variety of spicy and bold spices like Cajun, chipotle, and lemon pepper. Also try ingredients like tahini, hummus, miso paste, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, and sweet accents like maple syrup to give your patty mixture some serious yumminess.

3. Binding. Like I said above, most veggie eaters don’t mind if a burger falls apart a bit. But to bind those burgers as much as possible try flour, bread crumbs, sticky grains, thoroughly mashed sticky beans, paste like tahini, nut butters, and sticky seeds like chia seeds and flax seeds. Chia and flax seeds absorb moisture, so they enhance stickiness greatly.

4. Cooking. Most homemade veggie burgers do not fare well on a flame-smacked grill, unless you cook them in a foil packet or separate container. And that is just fine, because most veg eaters probably want their burgers cooked away from the meat-crowded grill anyways. You can also bake or fry most veggie burgers. The healthier (and easier for large amounts of patties) option is to bake them in the oven at 350 to 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes – exact time depends on how wet and thick you make your patties. You can also sauté your patties. I like to dredge my burgers in Panko crumbs and do a quick sauté in safflower oil. With that method, about 3 minutes cooking on each side should do it.

5. Serving. Veggie burgers are known for having complex flavors and textures, though they’re usually softer in texture than traditional burgers. So for the bread and toppings, it’s important to go crisp! Toast those buns well — use whole grain-filled bread — and for the toppings a nice crisp lettuce leaf, perky onions, and/or some amazing homemade carrot or cabbage slaw always works. Vegan condiments like spicy mustard and vegan mayo are a must!

— kathypatalsky, Babble


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