This week I watched Vegucated, an insightful documentary addressing common practices in our farm animal industry and meat processing. The perspective is from a vegan who selects three devoted meat eaters in New York and has them follow a vegan diet for a few weeks while educating them on the US meat industry during that time. I chose to watch it as I’m on a food learning binge for Eat Seattle’s educational side. I have no intention of being a devoted vegan or vegetarian but I’m certainly moved to avoid mass industry meat as much as possible. And it isn’t easy…with this in mind I decided to come up with a moist and flavorful veggie burger recipe.
The three most important components to a successful veggie burger are:
- density, so it stays together while cooking
This recipe meets all of this criteria
It’s perfectly fine to switch out vegetables for something similar (or add more of one but not the other) but two of the ingredients that should remain are the mushrooms and onion. They are important for the flavor and consistency. Also, be aware of how much water the produce you use releases during cooking. Vegetables like zucchini and mushrooms release quit a bit of liquid which help make the burger moist but not so wet that it doesn’t stick.
I started off by doing a brunoise (a small dice) of 200 grams of mushrooms (2 cups). It’s important to get these small and uniform as much as possible. Here’s my technique on how to get them uniform:
I take my time while I hold the mushroom together so that I can get it sliced correctly before dicing. Doing half at a time to slice again will make it a perfectly uniform brunoise.
I do a similar size for the half of an onion, a medium zucchini, 1 medium carrot, half of a red bell pepper and half a yam (200 grams).
I sautéed the yams in 3 tablespoons of olive oil for 3 minutes before adding the rest of the vegetables. Once all of the vegetables and two minced garlic cloves are in the pan I added 1 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp red pepper flakes. It’s also the best time to season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Cook all of the vegetables for 7-10 minutes over medium heat until they are soft. Set this aside to cool.
In a food processor add a 15 oz can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed. Then add a 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of salt. You may need to add a bit more olive oil to get the beans moist enough to puree.
Mix the cooled vegetables with the chickpea/black bean puree in a larger bowl. I added 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro and 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalepenos. It’s a good time to taste to see if more seasoning is needed. Add 1 egg yolk and 1.5 cups of bread crumbs. The texture should get mealy but not too dry. I did add a squeeze of a lime (1 tablespoon of juice) to incorporate a citrusy note. The mixture looked like the photo below before I started making the patties.
At this point, you can make the patties to the size and shape you like. I like to use a mold to shape my veggie burgers. If the mold is deep don’t feel obligated to fill it to the top. Use a spatula to pat it down so that it sticks together nicely.
I got 11 burgers from this recipe. I stack those that I don’t use between layers of foil or plastic wrap then put in the fridge. They last up to 5 days in the fridge.
Pan fry the burgers in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 4 minutes on each side until golden brown and warmed through. They taste delicious served with avocado and high quality melted cheese. I use Beecher’s Flagship which is a blend of cheddar and gruyere. To melt the cheese I put my toaster oven on broil and put the patty on a bun topped with the cheese for about 5 minutes (or until the cheese is full melted and the rim of the bun is toasted).
My husband and I ate these for lunch and dinner yesterday.
- 1 medium carrot diced small
- ½ yam diced (around 200 grams)
- ½ onion diced small
- ½ bell pepper diced small
- 1 medium zucchini diced small
- 2 cups diced mushrooms (washed and de-stemmed)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 pinch of salt and ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon pickled jalepeno
- 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 15 oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1.5 cups bread crumbs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (optional)
- Serve on kaiser roll with avocado and melted white cheddar
- Dice into a small brunoise all of the vegetables (yams, bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, carrot, zucchini. Sauté yams in large pot with 3 tbsp olive oil for 3 minutes over medium head. Add the rest of the brunoised vegetables, garlic and all of the spices (cayenne, paprika, chilli powder and red pepper flakes) and cook for 7-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In food processor add the drained and rinsed garbonzo beans and black beans. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to moisten enough to get a puree paste.
- Add the cooled vegetables, bean puree and mix in cilantro and jalepenos. Add the egg yolk, lime juice and bread crumbs. The paste should seem mealy but not too dry that it can't adhere when you make the patties. If it is too dry then add a little olive oil or another egg yolk. If it isn't dry enough then add more bread crumbs. It should be just right by following this recipe.
- Pan fry each patty in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat until golden brown and warmed through (about 4 minutes each side).
- Add a melty white cheddar and either throw in a broiler for 5 minutes or cover your pan until it is melted.
- Serve on a roll with avocado