Create a delicious homemade veggie burger by using quality ingredients with contrasting textures and a balance of flavors. Making it yourself instead of buying a commercially made burger saves money and also provides creative freedom. Craft your own signature burger by using your favorite vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains mixed with herbs and seasonings to suit your palate. Use the freshest ingredients possible to maximize flavor.
A food processor provides the easiest method for making homemade veggie burgers; with it, you can quickly chop, grate, shred and blend ingredients to create the right texture for your burgers. If you don’t have a food processor, use a food mill or chop veggies with a sharp knife, although you’ll end up with a mixture that’s coarser and may not bind as well as that made with a food processor. A spice grinder is another handy tool for grinding nuts or seeds, which tend to stick to the sides of the food processor while you’re grinding them. Other useful items include a mixing bowl, measuring spoons and a platter.
If you want to make a fast burger with minimal ingredients and preparation time, try grilling a marinated portobello mushroom cap or a marinated slab of firm tofu or tempeh. For something more complex, experiment with different combinations of vegetables, including leafy greens, aromatics such as chiles and onions, root vegetables such as parsnips and beets. Use different beans for flavor, texture and binding. Chickpeas and lentils tend to be among the more neutral in flavor. Chopped nuts and seeds such as sunflower kernels, almonds or cashews add crunch, while grains such as barley, rice or quinoa add structure. You may want to also add some breadcrumbs to help hold the patties together.
Shaping the Burgers
You can make your burger mixture ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator for up to five days. If you’re using breadcrumbs, add them right before shaping the patties for the best texture; if they are added too soon, they absorb a lot of liquid and become mushy. Shape the burgers into 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick patties with a diameter of approximately 4 inches. Making the burgers too large increases the risk that they’ll fall apart during the cooking process. Alternatively, shape the mixture into sliders by making tablespoon-sized patties.
Cooking the Burgers
Grilling homemade veggie burgers on an outdoor grill can be a tricky process; many burgers simply fall through the grates or fall apart when you’re flipping them. If you’ve made a firm, sturdy burger, try grilling it right on the grates. Alternatively, grill them for approximately 15 minutes — flipping once — on foil or a baking sheet to keep them intact. Other methods include baking the burgers for 20 to 25 minutes in an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternately, pan-fry them over medium-high heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until they are brown and firm.
References and ResourcesVeggie Burgers Every Which Way; Lukas Volger
Veggie Burgers; Bharti Kirchner
Mother Earth News: How to Make Veggie Burgers
Serious Eats: The Food Lab: Vegan Burgers That Don't Suck