Veggie burgers are always a hit or miss. I’ve eaten some that have been full of flavor and completely wonderful, and then I’ve had some that tasted like sewage. No joke, sewage. I’ve tried so many store bought varieties and to this day my favorites are still Lick’s Veggie Burgers and President’s Choice portabello Veggie burgers. I have a problem though… neither of these varieties are sold outside of Canada.
I have yet to find a variety in America that I really love. My problem is that so many veggie burgers try and imitate meat and fail miserably. If I wanted a meat burger, I’d just eat one. I want a veggie burger that can stand on it’s own, one that even the biggest meat eaters will truly enjoy.
I recently came across this article on Serious Eats that described how to make the perfect veggie burger at home. I was intrigued by the thought of making my own, and decided to give it a try. My recipe is loosely based off the serious eats recipe.
Considering how much I love the President’s Choice veggie burgers, I replaced the button mushrooms in the original recipe with portabellos. I also did not include celery as I thought the flavor may overpower the burgers. I added a shallot, more garlic, replaced the barley with textured vegetable protein to make the burger a little more solid, and seasoned it with Worcestershire sauce and a few additional spices. I also added liquid smoke to the mix, as it gives the burgers a nice barbecued flavor, even if you don’t have a barbecue.
The verdict? Best veggie burger of my life! It was so good, Greg finished his before I even sat down to eat! This meat and potatoes man even had seconds! What’s even more ridiculous? We argued over who got to eat the last one for lunch today. I won, obviously.
I’ll admit, these burgers are a little labor intensive, but the recipe makes 8 and they can be stored in the freezer. I formed mine into patties before freezing them, this way I can easily heat one up for a stress free lunch or dinner in the future.
Greg topped his with typical burger toppings, including cheese. I topped mine with a vegan sun-dried tomato and cornichon aioli, ketchup, baby spinach, tomatoes, onions and mild pepper rings. I was afraid I would miss cheese, but that thought was thrown out the window the minute I took a bite. The aioli paired perfectly with this veggie burger. I even made extra to dip my sweet potato tater tots in.
I hope you enjoy these burgers as much as we have! These will definitely be a summer barbecue staple in our house. Have a great weekend!
I’d love to know, what is your favorite store bought veggie burger? Have you ever made your own veggie burgers? Did they live up to your expectations?
- 2 portabello mushrooms, thickly sliced
- ½ small eggplant, thickly sliced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil (plus more for cooking)
- 2 leeks, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 tbsp. pine nuts
- ½ cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- 1 15oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp. marmite
- ½ tsp. soy sauce
- ½ tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp. liquid smoke
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ¾ cup Panko bread crumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss mushrooms and eggplant with one tablespoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Place mushrooms in a single layer on the lined cookie sheet. Divide the eggplant slices in two and wrap each pile with tin foil; place on the cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and set aside to cool. Continue cooking eggplant for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
In the meantime, heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add leeks and shallots to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook until fragrant; about 30 seconds. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
Add cashews and pine nuts to the pan and cook over medium heat stirring often. When the nuts begin to brown, remove from pan and set aside.
In a small pot bring bring half a cup of water to a boil. Add TVP to the boiling water, stir, cover with a lid and remove from heat. The TVP will take approximately 5 minutes to re-hydrate. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.
Add chickpeas, cashews, and pine nuts to a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped. Transfer to the large bowl with the TVP.
Place mushrooms, leeks, shallots, and garlic to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the large bowl.
Place eggplant, marmite, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, onion powder, and garlic powder into the food processor and pulse until smooth and well combined. Add mixture to the large bowl.
Use you hands to mix all the ingredients in the large bowl together until well combined. Refrigerate at least one hour or chill overnight. This helps the flavors to merge. At this point you could also form the patties and freeze for future use.
When you are ready to prepare the veggie burgers, heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Add bread crumbs to the veggie burger mixture and form into eight patties. When the oil is shimmering, add four patties to the pan and cook for three minutes without moving. If you want, you can optionally press slices of onions into the top of the burger patty at this point. Turn the burgers and cook for an additional 3 minutes without moving. Repeat steps with the remaining four patties.
Serve immediately on a bun with toppings of your choice. I topped mine with a vegan sundried tomato and cornichon aioli (recipe below), baby spinach, tomato, white onion, ketchup and mild pepper rings.
Recipe Makes 8 burgers
Vegan Sundried Tomato and Cornichon Aioli
2 Tbsp. Vegenaise
1 tsp. sundried tomatoes packed in oil
1 tsp. finely chopped cornichons (or any pickle of your choice)
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
In a small bowl combine all ingredients until well combined. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.