Homemade Veggie Burgers

Back before you could find garden burgers in every grocery store and on the menu at just about every diner, sports bar, and burger joint it was a lot of work to make a vegetarian burger. Growing up there were 2 kinds I liked - one was a powdered mix, similar to a falafel mix that rehydrates and formed a pretty tasty grain based burger, the other were my mom's tofu burgers. Her recipe combined crumbled tofu, egg, bread crumbs, and cooked rice with a few flavorful ingredients - cheddar cheese, ketchup, minced onion. They were firm, and fairly neutral in flavor, perfect for loading on the toppings. My version is based on her recipe with a few updated ingredients. I've replaced the rice with quinoa for added protein and a bit more earthiness and added grated carrots sauteed mushrooms and walnuts for moisture and a 'meatier' flavor. They are sturdier than most bean based burgers, but rather delicate compared to a beef burger, and won't hold up well on the grill. But they are really good, much better than a garden burger (and I've grown to like garden burgers) and I feel better eating something made from fresh wholesome ingredients naturally high in protein than their highly processed counterparts. This recipe makes an All-American burger that pairs well with ketchup and traditional fixins, but the vegetables and seasonings can easily be adjusted to make them better bases for other condiments.

Homemade Veggie Burgers
Makes 4 large patties

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
2 cups crumbled tofu
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 grated carrot
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
6-8 crimini or button mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 egg
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1/8 tsp celery salt
pinch cayene pepper, to taste
salt and pepper to taste*

Saute mushrooms in 1 tsp olive oil until browned, season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients with mushrooms, thoroughly mix with your hands. Place in the fridge for atleast 20 minutes before forming 3/4" thick patties. Preheat oven to 350. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in a large oven proof skillet over medium high. Add burgers and cook on each side for about 2 minutes until a golden brown crust forms. Transfer to the oven to cook through, about 10-15 minutes.

* I like to combine all ingredients expect for the egg and taste for seasoning before adding the egg. If you'd like to make these vegan, or divide the recipe, you can replace the egg with some vegan (or regular) mayonnaise.

I made the Food & Wine Cheddar BLT burgers for Jon and shared the suggested condiments and fixins, sans bacon. It's a really nice All-American burger and the Tarragon Russian Dressing really makes it special. And on the side we had some spicy roasted potatoes with yogurt dill sauce and a fresh succotash salad.

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