where's the beef? homemade veggie burgers

by Stacy

A gripe I often hear about vegetarian food is when it tries to “replicate meat” and fails. Serious Eats just featured a veggie burger taste test with a little debate and some snark in the comments.

The idea of a veggie burger is not to attempt to replicate the taste and texture of a beef patty, it should simply be a flavorful protein patty on a bun with toppings. Does it taste like beef? No. It should just taste good. Do people condemn the salmon burger or turkey burger for not tasting like beef? Hardly. So why harp on the veggie burger? Ignore the tasteless preservative-riddled soy pucks from the freezer case (or at least stop overcooking them!) and make your own.

homemade veggie burgers

It takes maybe fifteen minutes to mix these patties up and about ten minutes to cook them, plus ten minutes of chilling time in the middle. If you start with the potatoes, they’ll be done at the same time as some oven-baked fries! Whether you’re vegetarian or just looking to cut back your red meat consumption for health/financial/ecological reasons, this is a good protein-packed meal. It’s also husband-approved!

We’ve eaten them a few different ways this week (I got 6 patties out of the recipe) — pictured is with mashed avocado on top and cheese underneath. Other styles include with caramelized onions and sliced pickles, and with mustard and sprouts. All were delicious and filling.

homemade veggie burgers

Veggie Burgers

Makes 6 patties
Inspired by TheKitchn

For beans, I used about equal amounts of black and pinto beans because they were in my fridge. I also had leftover canned chipotle in adobo, so I used that for flavor and moisture, and hoisin sauce. You could replace them with any combo of ketchup, tomato paste, or barbecue sauce. For flour, anything is fine except pastry flour or semolina. I used whole wheat.

12 oz cooked beans (or canned, rinsed and drained)
½ cup pecans, diced
1/3 cup onion, diced finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shiitake mushrooms, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 ½ tablespoons hoisin sauce
½ cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 egg white
1/3 cup flour

canola or other high-heat oil for frying

1.) Place beans a large bowl and mash about 15 times using a potato masher or a fork (you don’t want a paste, just to break the beans up a bit). Add the rest of the ingredients, flour last, and mix well. The patties should hold their shape when molded, so adjust flour or liquids as needed to obtain this consistency. Chill, at least 10 minutes.

2.) When ready to cook, heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. When water sprinkled in the pan sizzles add a splash of oil, enough to cover the bottom. Scoop out bean mixture, about 1/3-1/2 cup at a time, and form into a ball. Gently flatten into a patty, taking care that the sides don’t crack too much, about 3/4-inch thick. Carefully place in pan and cook 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook another 3-5 minutes until brown and crispy on both sides and heated through.

3.) Serve immediately on a sandwich bun with toppings of your choice. Side of fries, optional. While you could probably reheat cooked patties, I recommend keeping any extra bean mixture covered in the fridge and frying them just before serving.

homemade veggie burgers

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Birch February 5, 2010 at 6:32 am

I think some vegetarians, and more non-veggies, want and expect their veggie burgers to taste like beef. Some people might miss the taste (I know that’s foreign to you). But yeah, veggie burgers that don’t try to mimic beef are much tastier.

Though we had some fabulous vegan sausage in Seattle that seriously tasted and textured like meat sausage. (And had the kid shouting “Meat! Meat! I like the meat!”)


stacy February 5, 2010 at 9:25 am

I just think the ones that try to taste like beef and fail don’t taste as good as the ones that just try to taste good.

Sausage is easier because you taste the spices. The first time we tried fake hamburger crumbles in tacos with taco seasoning it was almost creepy because the flavor of the spices was the same. There’s a brand of fake Italian sausages that is also creepily realistic. I had them at a friend’s house and was paranoid that it was real meat for a few bites.


Birch February 5, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Yes, I was just wondering why they try to taste like beef at all.

The “fake chicken” has gotten creepy-close.


stacy February 5, 2010 at 1:08 pm

The Quorn stuff is good! At this point I barely remember what most meat actually tastes like anyway.


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