Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Perfect Burger

OK, maybe not perfect, but as good as it's going to get. I realized from my Veganomicon chickpea cutlet and black bean burger experience that I was being a weenie with the high gluten flour in my previous attempts. 2 tbsp? Not even close! So, I upped the flour, added bread crumbs and some chickpeas, and changed the method a bit. The result? A pretty darn tasty burger that has a nice firm texture. These burgers in the pic were made without soy sauce since my father in law must have a no salt diet, so the patties do not have that "burger look" they had when I tried to make burgers before. Even without the salt they were good.

Makes 8 thin, or 6 thick, patties
- 4 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, small dice
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp ground fennel seed
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup TVP
- 2 tbsp instant tapioca
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp HP sauce (optional)
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, finely mashed
- 1/2 cup high gluten flour
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a frying pan. Saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent, about 5 mins.
2. Add in spices and fry for 1 min. Add in TVP and tapioca and mix well.
3. Add in water, soy sauce, and HP sauce (if using). Stir until all water is absorbed and TVP is soft. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and let cool. (I put mine in the freezer and stirred it every few mins to speed up the process).
4. Once TVP mixture is cooled, mix in chickpeas, then flour and bread crumbs. Knead for a few mins until it all comes together.
5. Form into patties (I like to press it into a metal ring for perfect burgers) and fry in a small amount of oil over medium heat for 5 mins per side.


Dawn said...

A 2 part balsamic vinegar/1 part molasses mixture makes a good replacement for soy sauce. Sometimes I thin it a little more with water, but not usually. It gives the nice soy sauce color and shockingly enough tastes pretty close.

Anonymous said...

Hi Vegan Dad,

I recently found your blog and am a big fan! I read through all the archives and listed the recipes I want to make (12 so far!). I'm a vegan who is just happy with a plate of beans 'n' greens, but I like to cook for my (also vegan) boyfriend, whose tastes lean more towards refined flour and fake meat. You have a lot of great ideas for manly seitan and tofu, but I appreciate how you serve balanced meals that include veggies and also have a lot of flavorful bean-and-rice dishes. I just wonder how the heck you find time to prepare some of these meals on weeknights when you have three hungry kids waiting on you! If you have any kitchen time-management tips, please share them. Also, I am hoping that you have a dishwasher, or cooking so much delicious food would be a full-time job.

Thank you for posting so frequently! And your photos are always fine, even if you don't think so.

Minneapolis, MN, USA

Vegan Dad said...


Thanks so much for the comment--I am glad you like the blog. I guess if I can get people to think of tofu as "manly" then my work here is done.

As for kitchen management tips:
1. Plan you meal prep. I always think through the meal ahead of time so that no time is wasted. I also do things like steam veggies over boiling pasta or potatoes to cut down on time and dishes.
2. Have the right tools. My favourite tool is a Chinese cleaver--it cuts, it scrapes, it crushes garlic, it helps you get all your chopped veggies into the pan, etc. I rarely use any other knife. Also, things like an immersion hand blender save you from transferring batches of soup into a blender.
3. Clean while you cook. Try to get dishes cleaned as you use them.
4. Keep your workspace organized. Having everything in its place is always a good idea. I just re-organized my spice cupboard for this very reason.
5. Pre-mix spices. Before you start a curry, mix all the necessary spices in a bowl--then they are ready and waiting when needed.
6. Get the skills to pay the bills (don't argue with the Beastie Boys). Chopping, frying, sauteeing, braising, etc., etc. If you know what you are doing, fewer mistakes will be made, and time will be saved.
7. Watch cooking shows. I got sucked into Top Chef last season. Although I was appalled at what they made (and how often they fried things in duck fat) it gave me good ideas, and showed me some technique. Iron Chef is also good for that.

Alas, we have no dishwasher, but we are making the kids help with the drying.

arthursmommy said...

Vegan Dad,

What substitute can I use for tapioca? Please let me know. Thanks.


Vegan Dad said...

I think you can just leave the tapioca out--I was just trying to get a bunch of stabilizers in the recipe to firm the patty up. I think the gluten flour and bread crumbs, combined with the chickpeas will suffice.

VeganLinda said...

I didn't like the V-con chickpea patties or black bean burgers so much because of the wheat gluten so I'd love to try your recipe, but we don't do there something else I could use? Thanks!

Vegan Dad said...

Vegan Linda,
I don't know . . . . I suppose you could use veggie crumbles or something, but they are kind of chewy and vile. And, if you don't do TVP, then perhaps you don't do fake meat either. Maybe lentils?

Michellebee said...

I loved these a lot, and served them on sourdough english muffins with sweet potato fries and an apple/celery/cabbage slaw. They were delicious. A little crumbly around the edges, but I didn't use a ring. Omni-Life-Partner praised the flavor. Note to self: regular tapioca pearls are NOT the same as instant tapioca. The only regrettable part of the meal were the rock hard tapioca pearls inside. They were soft by the next day. I'm going to use this recipe to make veggie porcupine balls, sans regular tapioca!!

Kim said...

Made these tonight. I loved them and they went over fairly well with my picky eaters (7, 5, 3). I am trying to transition the family to veganism and love your site. Thanks!

David said...

It's been a long time since you posted this, but that doesn't mean people don't still dive into the archives a bit. Every other burger recipe I tried has, for lack of a better term, sucked. I made these and substituted a quarter cup of whole wheat flour instead of a cup. The end result? The. Best. Burger. Vegan dad, your awesome. Thanks for keeping up such a great blog.