Hi guys! This is Christine, and usually on Friday I check in with a healthy dessert recipe, but today I’ve got something special for you! Maybe it’s the warm weather, but this week I’ve got burgers on the mind!
Frozen Hockey Pucks vs. Mushy Bean PattiesHave you noticed that veggie burgers only manage to fall into these two categories? Don’t get me wrong—I’m always psyched to find Boca Burgers at a cookout, and I am just as happy to say ole! to a round of black bean burgers.
Still, we’re always forced to settle: either enjoy an expensive pattie of processed soy, or keep pretending that those smooshed beans are satisfying your carnivorous friends. Lately, I’ve been yearning for something more.
Perfecting the Veggie Burger
Instead of filling this summer’s barbecues with sub-par burgers, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I thought long and hard about all the burger recipes I’ve tried, and what exactly I liked about each one.
First, I had to address the texture of the burger. Mushrooms were a necessity for me after I tasted the beefiness of these portabella burgers. I also really like the way the lentils and flaxseed worked in structuring the Reluctant Vegetarian’s recipe for lentil burgers. Next, I decided to include nuts after seeing how well the almonds worked in these raw burgers from Thrive.
I chose to include vital wheat gluten to get a real chewiness out of the burgers. This is usually the second ingredient in those frozen boxed versions, after TVP of course. Vital wheat gluten will bring the most realistic feel to the patties, but you could also use regular whole wheat flour, bread crumbs, or an alternative flour like buckwheat.
As for taste, I loved the way the red wine, tomatoes, and onions brought out the beef burgundy side of plain old lentils in the recipe aptly titled Hungy For Meat? Eat this instead. With a dash of liquid smoke, vegan worcestershire sauce, and thyme, I believe I am on my way to perfecting the veggie burger.
NMA Grill-Worthy Veggie Burgers
- 1/2 lb dried lentils
- 3 cups water
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 portabella mushroom caps, gills and stems removed, chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
Rinse the lentils and cook in the water until they are tender and water is absorbed, about 30-35 minutes.
Fry the onion in the oil until soft. Add the mushrooms and garlic; fry until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, thyme, and black pepper. Let fry for a few minutes. Stir in walnuts and let toast. Slowly add wine, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke. Stir in the lentils.
Remove from heat and stir in flax seed and vital wheat gluten. Keep stirring to strengthen the gluten and get the burgers chewy. Form into ten patties and refrigerate for an hour. You can freeze them now to cook later, or preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal and arrange patties on the pan. Bake for 20 minutes, then fry in a pan on medium heat with a little oil for 2 minutes per side. If you just want to fry them without baking, lower the heat and fry for 3-4 minutes per side.
I was so pleased with these burgers that I made a double batch so I would have plenty to freeze! The vegan worcestershire is really yummy as a topping too! I hope you give these burgers a shot at your next cook0ut—I’d love to hear how they taste on the grill!
See you next week when I’ll put the sweet back in Sweet-Tooth Friday!