Veggie Burgers: A Formula

The “Salsa” Veggie Burger

The burger is quite possibly the most recognized American contribution to the culinary scene. McDonalds has done a formidable job infiltrating every corner of the globe, so you can get your McD’s made the exact same way from Japan to Italy to Topeka, Kansas. I am not a fast-food fan, and had my last fast food experience on a Junior High field trip. I have nothing against homemade burgers however, and love them’ deconstructed’ (aka. no bun!).

I have experimented with various permutations and combinations of veggie burger. I’ve changed up the protein (from beans to almonds to sunflower seeds), the grain, how to cook them, what vegetables to add (if any), baked vs. pan cooked … you name it, I’ve tried it. I came across this burger recipe and am now convinced that it is the best burger recipe to date. Unaltered it results in delicious curry burgers, but it’s easily customizable to whatever mood you’re in. Above is this recipe tweaked for a “salsa” burger. I’ve also used this as a base for beet burgers, zucchini burgers, and lentil burgers – all delicious! The recipe can be found on Food Network Canada here: Boon Burger’s Buddah PattyIt is compliments of Boon Burger, a restaurant in Winnipeg, Canada which serves the best vegan burgers I have ever had. The restaurant was featured on Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here, which is the Canadian version of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. If you are ever in Winnipeg, be sure to check out Boon Burger. But until then, satisfy your burger craving with this toothsome, filling patty that surpasses all others!

Tips to Change Flavours:

The Legume: You can use whatever cooked bean you wish in this recipe. Black beans lend a more ‘southern’ flair; lentils and black-eyed peas are a neutral background that let your other flavours shine through; chickpeas add a middle-eastern or Indian flair; edamame for an Asian burger; or you could substitute the beans for the same volume of mushroom/walnut/almond meal!

The Vegetables: The best way to add vegetables to burgers is to grate them first. Squeeze out any excess water if they are particularly watery, like zucchini. Vegetables that I have had amazing success with include beets, carrots, zucchini, squash (butternut or acorn), sweet potato, or diced mushrooms.

The Binder: If tomato paste doesn’t match your spice flavour profile, tahini, 1-2 tbsp. chickpea flour, or more beans/grains also work. The binder helps hold the burger together, but I have found that if you use the food processing technique in this recipe the burgers hold well with or without the binder.

The Grains: Rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, barley, bulgur wheat … really any grain you want! Don’t be afraid to mix and match! Instead of potato flakes/bread crumbs, I usually increase the amount of grain and add 1/4 cup cornmeal or sprouted grains. The cornmeal/sprouts helps act as a binder while giving the burger a bit of texture.

The Seasonings: Season to your mood! Put in as much or as little as you want. These burgers are infinitely adaptable, so whatever strikes your fancy just throw it in! I really like the combination of thyme and beets, chili spices with black beans, curry spices with lentils/chickpeas and carrots, wasabi ginger burgers with edamame, and fresh herbs with zucchini. That’s the beauty of food processor recipes – virtually everything tastes delicious!

These burgers freeze really well, and don’t turn crumbly when you reheat them. They are excellent hand-held on-the-go meals, sure to satisfy your appetite for a while. If the thought of eating a patty straight doesn’t appeal to you, instead of forming burgers spread the burger mixture on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and top with standard pizza toppings. Bake the ‘pizza’ to the burger specifications, and now you have portable all-dressed burgers! So get creative and enjoy these burgers!

Note: Above I have the “salsa” burger with black beans, tomato paste, cornmeal, and chili spices. I served it over a fresh salsa salad, made of diced tomatoes, green bell pepper, jalapeno, and chopped cilantro sprinkled with lime juice. Delicious!

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