After making four different veggie burgers and reading a lot of recipes, I decided that I had learned enough to attempt my own veggie burger recipe. I identified four components that make a successful veggie burger.
The Five Habits of Highly Successful Veggie Burgers
- Structural integrity. It has to hold together when cooked. Otherwise you are making hash, not burgers.
- Not too sticky, not too smooth: If the burger mix is super sticky it is hard to work with, and the burgers stick to both your fingers and the pan. And they need a little texture when you bite into them.
- Moistness: A good burger must be juicy. It can’t be dry or too dense. This is a common problem with store bought veggie burgers.
- Flavor: the most successful burgers are filled with flavor, with savory deliciousness brightened by lighter notes.
- It has to have a crispy outer crust when cooked, with a soft interior.
Then I put it all together:
For structural integrity, I relied mainly on mashed sweet potato. That stuff really holds together, and it has a good rich flavor.
To control stickiness, I used dried whole wheat bread crumbs, because I happened to have some on hand.They worked great. Just adjust the amount as needed.
For depth of flavor I went with ground sunflower seeds, mushrooms, and pureed lentils (they also help hold things together).
For moistness, flavor, and texture, I added a lot of minced vegetables and some red wine vinegar. The fresh herbs, jalapeno, and greens worked especially well.
For the crispy crust, I pan fried them in olive oil on medium high heat in my trusty cast iron skillet.
We served them in pita pockets, with lettuce and tomato. They were good with ketchup, but even better with a little plain yogurt.
Veggie Burger Verdict: These got rave reviews for taste, and the patties were sturdy yet moist. The best veggie burger so far, and a pita was perfect as the bread to go with it.
One big problem: these were a lot of work to make, because they had so many components, and almost all the components had to be cooked before assembly. I’ll be looking to see if I can simplify it. But they’re definitely worth making, especially if you have some leftover cooked lentils or mashed potato in your refrigerator.
Want to make your own? Here’s the recipe.