So far in the veggie burger quest, every single burger has been better without a bun. And when I look at veggie burger recipes, it is clear that this is no coincidence.
Veggie burgers don’t like buns.
Observe a typical hamburger:
The bun is clearly important here. You need something to catch all the juice and fat, and the dense bread gives a contrast to all the juicy meat.
Now observe a veggie burger I found in clip art:
It looks great, doesn’t it? Especially with all the lettuce and radishes. That’s clearly a very sturdy patty. But it is difficult to make a veggie burger as juicy and tender as a hamburger – it will fall apart every time. To stay together, it has to be much drier than the hamburger, and much denser. If you take a bite with the bun, it will just be a mouthful of two dense, dry carbohydrate filled foods. Your veggie burger will taste much better if you hand that bun to your carnivorous buddy and use some of the lettuce as a wrap. Or just eat it on its own, with veggies and condiments piled on top.
Another great option is a pita pocket. Then you can shove in all the toppings you want, and have something you can hold while looking for a place to sit at the cookout. The pita is thin enough to not overwhelm most veggie burgers. Here’s one I had last night:
I got overexcited and smashed my burger up a bit while loading in the lettuce, but you get the idea. And that’s another nice thing about pita – it will keep your veggie burger all together, even if it is a bit fragile. That means you can load in more delicious flavor when creating your burger recipe, instead of focusing so much on it holding together.
By the way, I made these whole wheat pita myself. It was a lot of fun trying to get them to puff up. Some did, some didn’t, but they all tasted great. There are tons of good recipes out there, and if you are a novice bread maker, these simple flat breads are a good place to start.