How to Make the Best Ever Veggie or Vegan Burgers
First things first, yes - making veggie burgers is slightly trickier and messier than making regular burgers. Though it really is a small price to pay, when you consider how unbelievably delicious and healthy the resulting burgers are.
Plus, it’s also worth remembering that you can make a ton of these at the same time and throw a bunch in the freezer. Great for getting out for an impromptu barbecue, or anytime you fancy a guilt-free snack.
This recipe can be modified for vegans and vegetarians as preferred. It’s all down to the use of eggs as a binder, which can be switched out for flax egg if preferred. The vegan version is slightly crumblier than the veggies version, but every bit as delicious and all-round awesome!
As for the rest of what goes in there, you can of course experiment to your heart’s content with different types of veggies. Just as long as you keep the basic ‘structure’ of the burger the same, you’ll come out with epic results every time.
The Golden Rule of Good Veggie Burgers
When looking to make a fantastic burger without any meat, there’s one seriously important rule that forms the backbone of the whole thing:
Always get rid of as much excess moisture as you can from the vegetables.
It’s when the veggies are too moist that vegetarian and vegan burgers fall apart, or come out too mushy to be particularly enjoyable. Some squeeze the excess liquid out of their veggies, but there’s a much better way of getting the job done while also intensifying the flavour of everything that goes into it - roast them!
Chop the vegetables you intend to use into (very) small pieces and roast them in the oven, until they begin to deliciously caramelize. Likewise, the beans that form the basis of the burger can also be roasted for a good 15 minutes or so, until they start to dry out and split open.
You honestly will not believe how big of a difference this makes to both the texture and the taste of the resulting burger. If you’ve ever been disappointed with a veggie burger made with raw veggies before, you now know where you were going wrong!
Top Tip - Keep It Textural
Another important rule for making an amazing veggie burger - keep it textural. The last thing you want is a bland and boring patty that’s the same colour and texture throughout. It doesn’t look good, feel good or taste particularly good - texture can make a real difference to the enjoyment of the whole thing.
Use a food processor to chop the veggies up to the consistency of coarse crumbs, which will make up the most part of the burger. When doing so, avoid the temptation to pulverise the living daylights out of them until they become powdery.
You should still be able to pick out the different colours of the veggies, when they’ve been chopped down to the right size.
Prior to making your burger patties, folding in some cooked brown rice can also complement the texture fantastically. This will help create a burger with a more conventionally ‘meaty’ texture, without any unpleasant graininess.
Making Vegan Veggie Burgers
As previously mentioned, there’s the option of making a vegan and vegetarian version of this burger. If you’d prefer not to use standard eggs, you can use flax eggs instead. Though either way you need to include something to bind the mixture together, otherwise you’ll be looking at one seriously hot mess!
Making flax eggs is easy - all you need to do is whisk 6 tablespoons of water in with 2 tablespoons of finely ground flax seeds. Leave this concoction to one side for around 10 minutes, at which point you’ll have a vegan equivalent of two eggs for your recipe.
Feel free to experiment with any other types of vegan egg substitutes you like - most of them do a pretty decent job!
Making Veggie Burgers in Advance
Once the mixture has been thrown together, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. It can actually be slightly easier to mould the patties when the mixture has been left to rest in the fridge for at least a couple of hours or so.
Though you can make the patties as soon as you combine the ingredients, if in a hurry.
It’s at this point you can also make a bunch of patties and freeze them, or freeze the mixture in its current form. Highly recommended as they’re pretty addictive and you will definitely want more.
Tips for Cooking the Patties
As we’re talking vegetable burgers here, they need to be cooked with a certain amount of care and attention. A frying pan on a medium heat is just about the best way to go, or a grid on the surface on a barbecue will also do the trick. The grills of a BBQ can be problematic due to the gaps between them, so proceed with caution.
They’re fairly stable once the crisp exterior has formed, but can be quite fragile until then. Take care when flipping them and moving them around in the meantime, using a wide spatula to avoid breakages.
Ingredients Needed to Make Epic Veggie Burgers
The ingredients below are enough to make eight burgers of a decent size. Feel free to double or even triple the quantities, in order to keep some on standby in the freezer.
Here’s what you’ll be needing:
FOR BURGER PATTIES
- 225 grams of mushrooms
- 1 medium carrot
- 85 grams of broccoli florets
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1 tin of black beans
- 35 grams of walnut halves
- 2 packs of spinach leaves
- Handful of fresh herbs
- 35 grams of breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs (or flax eggs)
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 115 grams of cooked brown rice
Step 1: Roast the Veggies
Start out by chopping the onion, broccoli, carrot and mushrooms into small pieces and place them in a food processor. Add the salt, pepper, chilli powder, smoked paprika, olive oil and garlic, before pulsing a number of times until they reach the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs.
Empty the resulting mixture on to a baking tray and press down with a spatula to create a single thin layer. Roast for around 15 minutes at 200° C, giving an occasional stir to ensure that they are evenly cooked.
In the meantime, place the drained black beans onto a different baking tray and place in the oven at the 15 minute mark. Roast everything for a further 15 minutes, keeping an eye on it to ensure nothing burns.
Step 2: Make the Patties
When the veggies and beans have cooled down, place the fresh herbs, spinach and walnuts in the food processor. Pulse until the same course texture is achieved. Add the roasted black beans and pulse around five times to combine. Then do the same with the roasted vegetables, including the tomato puree, the eggs and the breadcrumbs.
Be careful not to blitz the mixture to a smooth consistency - there really needs to be some texture to it. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the cooked brown rice.
You can then begin making the patties, place the mixture in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Again, giving the mixture an hour or two to cool in the fridge can make it easier to form the burgers.
Step 3: Cook the Burgers
It’s entirely up to you how large or small you make your patties, but it’s best to aim for a thickness of around half an inch. Bear in mind that the veggies on the inside are already roasted, however, so it really doesn’t matter if they come out slightly too thick.
After forming the patties, put a decent bit of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and place over a medium heat - never higher. Cook gently for around 4 to 6 minutes on each side, flipping carefully to prevent them from falling apart.
If cooking from frozen, it’s way better to bake them in the oven, or under a medium grill. Though it’s advisable to allow them to thaw out first, before putting them down to remove as much residual exterior moisture as possible.
Most other types of beans work perfectly well with this recipe - chickpeas in particular make for a fantastic result.
You can also mix things up with the spices, if looking to create something with an Indian, Moroccan or oriental influence.