Why do I have so many recipes for a plant based burger? To tell the truth most of my plant based burgers are made with whatever I happen to have in the cupboards and fridge at the time I want to make burgers and I make a note and create a recipe as I go just incase it turns out to be the ideal plant based burger. The fact is, they are all great and this post is really about showing you that you can make a great plant based burger from anything you have in the cupboard and fridge (within reason).
I try to think about the following when creating a veggie burger and that is:
- Protein – where is the protein in this burger (or is it patty) ?
- What’s going to hold the burger together?
- What flavours and spices do I want this time?
The main source of protein, my go to is beans (red kidney, black, butter) or lentils (red or green), chickpeas or Textured soy Protein (TVP) or a combination of all of them.
It should not be forgotten that the binding ingredients, such as Quinoa (it becomes sticky like porridge if over cooked) is high in protein as is the chickpea batter (gram flour plus water).
What holds the plant based burger together?
What stops the burger from falling apart during cooking and turning in to a mush in the pan? The Beans when mushed together do hold the burger in place to a certain extent, but I find a binding agent such as chickpea flour (gram flour) made into a thick batter can act as an egg replacement.
Simple plain flour also provides some binding if the burger is allowed to rest after stirring into the burger mixture. Overcooked sticky rice and even cooked wholewheat pasta (chopped up in a blender) act well due to their starch levels.
I’ve found the cooking method can also change the consistency of the burger. That is, to fry or bake? If I’m cooking a side dish in the oven, then I also bake my burgers (see below on the bake or fry section) and I’ve found baked burgers come out firmer that fried ones, I think its probably down to the fact they are in the oven for much longer than when I fry them.
If cooking from frozen I tend to bake, as the freezing process seems to add more water to the burger and need longer and slower cooking to remove this.
Flavours – spices and herbs
My plant based burgers usually have some core ingredients like chopped onions and chopped mushrooms for the base flavour, whcich are fried slowly to reduce and intensify the flavours and then its a choice of herbs and spices.
What Spices you use depend on what you fancy when eating the burger, for me its usually Cajun or jerk inspired flavours, i.e. hot and spicy. But you can use flavours of English roasts such as rosemary, sage and/or thyme, or even an Italian inspired burger using Oregano and my son’s favourite, a smokey BBQ flavour using a mix of smoked paprika, sweet maple syrup and chilli spices.
For that umami flavour I usually use dark Soy sauce or the gluten free version Tamari and there is the Soy free version aminos.
The other addition I sometime to add is mushroom powder, which gives the mixture a darker colour to the burger and meaty overtones to the flavour.
Vegan plant based burgers recipes
TVP and Seitan Burger – This is the “meat burger” which makes quite a good fake meat style texture and is made up of Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) and Vital Wheat Gluten (VWG) and spices.
The red Lentil Burger makes use of ideas from Indian cuisine where they make small falafel type foods and these burgers use that idea with red lentils for the bulk, high in protein and sticky, perfect for holding a burger shape
Spicy black bean and lentil burger expands on the lentil idea to include bean as well as lentils
Falafel, bean and kale burger This is one of my favourite burgers to make as most of it is from a packet ! I buy Falafel packets and make the falafel mix and combine it with various options such as chopped kale, mushroom
Make them in Bulk and freeze them
Plant based Burgers are perfect for making in bulk and freezing to use for another day. This is variation of the falafel burger and makes 10 burgers and once frozen only takes a few minutes to cook.
Fry, bake or freeze burgers?
All these recipes can be baked or fried. It usually depends on what else I’m cooking with the burgers. If I have other things in the oven such as the baked sweet potato fries I would place the burgers on a non stick lined metal tray and turn them after 10 mins.
If I have them with a mixed green salad, I gently fry in a little oil several minutes on each side.
I have found baking for longer them gives the burgers a firmer texture.
All the burger recipes are be frozen at the point in the recipe when they are formed into burger shapes. Then carefully individually wrap each burger and place them carefully into the freezer until frozen, then collect them together into box to store neatly in the freezer, that way you can remove as many as you need at the time.