Veggie burgers have gotten a bad rap over the years. Flaccid, bland, mushy and unsatisfying, the veggie burgers you remember may have been anything but appetizing. But, times have changed. In fact, two of the most highly demanded burgers in NYC right now are actually veggie burgers. That’s right, today’s veggie burgers encourageequal opportunity salivation from vegans and carnivores alike.
Not only can veggie burgers taste as good as their beefy cousins, but their rising popularity is a powerful factorinthe fight against climate change. Americans eat around 50 billion burgers a year, or about 40 pounds of bun-nestled ground beef per person.
Unfortunately, the livestock industry uses precious resources at a rate that is harming our planet. Just one pound of grain-fed beef requires 1800 gallons of water, while a single quarter-pounder is responsible for creating 6 1/2 pounds of greenhouse gases.
That being said, if merely 1 out of every 5 beef burgers consumed were veggie burgers, wed save trillions of gallons of water and 32.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, among other benefits. And thats just if everyone were to swap 2 of the average 12 burgers we consume each month for hearty veggie burgers. Does that seem like too much to ask? Watch the video below to learn more about how our relentless hamburger consumption impacts our environment and our health.
The first step toward change is creating a delicious veggie burger you’ll want to eat. When it comes down to it, all good veggie burgers have 6 basic component: a bulky base, vegetables, textural ingredients, binding agents, liquid ingredients and flavorings.
Here is a great guideline to develop your own unique veggie burger recipe, or to help you experiment with any of the recipes below!
Care2 Veggie Burger Guidelines
– 2 to 2 1/2 cups bulky base: cooked rice, mashed beans, cooked quinoa, mashed tofu, corn masa, chickpea flour, cooked teff flour, almond meal, coconut flour, et cetera (feel free to mix multiple ingredients into your base)
– 1 to 1 1/2 cups vegetables: onions, zucchini, sweet potato, broccoli, kale, carrots, chard (make sure you cook them first to avoid mushy burgers)
– 2-4 tablespoons of texture: chopped nuts, seeds, tempeh, olives, et cetera
– 1/2 to 1 cup of binding agent: around 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats/breadcrumbs, or a few eggs/flax eggs
– a dash of flavor: use plenty of sauted garlic, ginger, paprika, fresh oregano, cumin, curry powder, salt, pepper, chile powder, et cetera, in quantities to suit your tastes
– 1 to 4 tablespoons of liquid (if needed): umeboshi vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, unsweetened hemp/almond milk, vegetable broth
Add base (making sure any grains are precooked) along withchopped, roasted veggies to a food processor and pulse until combined. Quickly pulse in textural ingredients. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir/knead in your binding agent and flavorings. Stir in liquids at this time if needed. The dough should be neither too wet nor too dry, with the ideal consistency being that of soft sugar cookie dough. Roll the dough into balls and flatten into 1/4 inch thick patties. Sprinkle on a coating of masa, chickpea flour or panko breadcrumbs to ensure your burgers are extra crispy on the outside (optional). Cook in a light coating of your favorite cooking oil over medium heat, or bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. If you create a sturdy enough burger, you can even try grilling!
Not into experimentation? Try these 6 veggie burger recipes to inspire and expand your tastebuds:
The Basic Veggie Burger: Looking for a basic yet tasty recipe to get you started? Look no further. Fork and Knives offers a great recipe that includes a base of vegetables, beans, rice, seasonings and nuts (optional). The burger is covered in cornmeal or chickpea flour to ensure an extra crispy crust develops during baking.
The Grill-Worthy Veggie Burger: While seriously lacking in vegetables, this burger is both high in protein and sturdy enough to handle a good grilling. The grill is what makes a burger quintessentially a burger, after all. These hearty burgers from Minimalist Baker contain brown rice, walnuts, onions, beans, breadcrumbs and spices.
The Paleo Veggie Burger: Just because you are Paleo doesnt mean you only eat meat. In fact, people in the Paleolithic era most certainly only binged on meat once in a while when a hunt went successfully. But, can a burger without beans, meat or soy really live up to American burger standards? You be the judge. This burger from Apples to Zoodles uses coconut oil, cauliflower, carrots, onions, sweet potato, zucchini, almond flour, coconut flour, eggs and spices to concoct a tasty veggie patty that is totally Paleo-friendly. Even better, the vegetables are cooked prior to using to ensure a less mushy interior. Give it a tryliving a Paleo lifestyle is no excuse not to tread lightly on the planet.
The Green Veggie Burger: Cant get enough green vegetables in your life? Then you should make sure you pack your veggie burger chock full of greens. Filled with peas, kale, broccoli and celery, this bright greenburger isnt trying to hide the fact that its loaded with vegetables. This completely vegan burger comes from Vegan Heaven.
The Red Veggie Burger: Its natural that you should alternate your favorite green burger with a red one. This beet-based burger includes shiitake mushrooms, smoked tofu, tempeh, sundried tomato, garlic and sunflower seeds. Sound tasty? You bet! Check it out at Love and Garnish.
The Foodie Veggie Burger: If you love to cook and you love playing with interesting flavors in the kitchen, this recipe from New York Times Cooking has perfected the flavor, texture and look so that even the staunchest carnivore will crave it on a delicate brioche bun. The secret to this burgers success is the variety of different ingredientswet, dry and binding and that the most watery ingredients are roasted beforehand to prevent mushiness. With a combination of soy, egg, cheese, nuts and breadcrumbs, this recipe isnt allergen-friendly, but, for those who can enjoy, its sure to be tasty.
Once you have your favorite veggie burger recipedown, get creative! Add Thai flavors, homemade BBQ sauce, smokey chipotle, curry spices or your favorite flavors. Veggie burgers dont have to be mushy and boring. They should be nutritious and delicious flavor explosions that make both you and the planet happy!
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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.
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With These Veggie Burger Ideas, You’ll Never Crave Beef Again