It’s hard to trace the origins of the brilliant veggie burger, but what’s important is that it can make the 14 billion yearly burger consumption of Americans as a healthy one. 14 billion burgers amount to 4.13 trillion calories, so we thought learning how to make veggie burger patties at home might now be interesting.
To make veggie burger patties that taste like real beef, you need a mixture of shredded vegetables and plenty of soybeans. Soybeans have a molecule called Heme, which gives red meat its color. So you bet the veggie burgers would turn out like actual beef the more beans you add.
To learn more about the recipe and the process of how to make veggie burger patties, read on and unlock a few hacks.
What Is a Veggie Burger Patty Made Of?
As mentioned above, a veggie burger patty is made of 0% meat. The plant-based ingredients typically used in making one would be the following:
- Grains (rice or wheat) — To provide texture for the patty that resembles that of a red meat patty.
- Vegetables — Corn, carrots, and mushrooms add taste and contribute to the texture. The reaction of these vegetables when heated also prevents the burger patty from breaking.
- Beans — Soybeans or black beans are used to throw in the aroma, taste, and appearance of the actual burger beef.
- Oil — Coconut, olive, and safflower oils are the most recommended lubricator for the grain mix. This brings out the flavors of the patty and prevents it from sticking in the food processor.
- Salt — This is optional. The purpose of salt is just to lengthen the shelf life of the patty. The mixture does not need any preservatives for improved taste.
What Are Good Meat Substitutes?
Plant-based sources of protein can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, which red meat usually causes. That is why it’s ideal to explore healthier alternatives for your beefy meals.
Aside from soybeans and vegetable mixtures, there are other meat substitutes that aren’t even plant-based but equally rich in protein. These foods can also produce texture, flavors, and look of actual meat the way soybeans and other legumes like tofu do.
Here are the other healthy options for zero meat burger patties:
Let’s say you’re not into vegetables or you just want to have unique flavors for your burgers — well you’ve got it. Fruits are good antioxidants so including them in your diet as they reduce the risk of acquiring some types of cancer and heart diseases.
Jackfruit is the best meat alternative vegans are crazy about these days. They are an exotic fruit commonly found in the Philippines, Thailand, East Indies, and Indonesia.
These fruits are called Durian in Asia and are known for possessing a slightly off-putting smell. That’s why this fruit used to be just a fascinating delicacy until vegans discovered its stringy property that makes a nice replacement for shredded meats.
Despite the effectiveness of jackfruits in imitating the appearance of meat burger patties, they are actually low in protein. The concept of vegan meat substitutes is to provide a source of protein without the calories and fat disadvantages of real meat.
Mushrooms are cholesterol-free sources of nutrients like zinc, magnesium, potassium, copper, and vitamin B. They are also low in fat and calories, so they provide the benefits of meat and keep you away from the traditional burger’s unhealthy properties.
The texture of mushrooms is naturally meaty, so it’s easy to perceive them as meat. Their rich flavors also satisfy our taste buds that crave for meat.
There are other burger meat substitutes such as wheat gluten and leaf protein concentrate (LPC). Wheat gluten is food made from gluten, the main source of protein in wheat.
The leaf protein concentrate is an underrated meat alternative concept. It was first recognized as a human food source in the 1960s and is the cheapest yet most abundant source of protein available out there to this day.
This food is made of leaf vegetables. The amino acids from these leaves are all turned into this protein concentration that looks like a black mochi or rice cake.
You might even find a new meat alternative on your own. There are definitely many other foods with the ideal burger patty consistency and an exceptional amount of protein. These suggestions might just be the gateway to the next big vegan discovery.
How to Prepare the Veggies?
So now you have an idea of what vegetables you can put in your veggie burgers. Sounds easy, right? But we’re pretty sure you’re wondering how to go about the process of turning your vegetables into patties.
There’s a lot to learn — how to pick fresh ones, how to chop, what to add, and how exactly do you shape them into patties. So let us be your guide in preparing the veggies for your veggie burgers.
There are plenty of vegetables you can mash up together to create that ideal veggie burger. The best way to choose which to add to your burger is by sorting them by their nutritional content.
Just think of the healthy elements present in beef burgers. Here are the plant-based alternatives for each important nutrient abundant in beef so you can easily build your veggie burger:
This is the main nutrient people eat beef for, and luckily there are vegetables abundant with amino acids as well. Here are the following:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Chia Seeds
- Yellow Sweet Corn
Vitamins & Minerals
The vitamins and minerals of beef aid good health and maintenance in the nervous system, metabolism, growth, blood formation, and energy. The only reason these nutrients are overlooked is that there are tons of processed beef products that have high sodium content.
Since most of the beef you’ll encounter in the market are processed, here are the vegan red meat alternatives you can use to make or top your veggie burgers:
- Sweet potatoes
- Legumes (tofu, soybeans, tempeh, natto)
- Palm hearts
The main rule in cutting your vegetable to form that patty mix is to chop everything into tiny pieces. For the beans, you just have to mash them up into a paste with still some remaining bits around.
Take note that you can keep your mushrooms whole or at least sliced in half. Tiny mushroom bits aren’t that good, are they?
You can add some spices like oregano, curry powder, coriander, etc. into the vegetable mix. Many do this before cooking the vegetables or during so the flavors get well absorbed by the veggies.
Some Italian seasoning would also ease the absorption of the tastes. It is advised that you set the mixture aside a bit for marination.
As mentioned above, you should cook the vegetables first before mixing it with the mashed beans. Once your vegetables are cooked, pour it all in a food processor, along with the beans.
Pulse it for 5 – 10 times as you don’t want the patty mix to be too pasty without any solid pieces.
Forming the Patties
Press the finished product between your fingers and see if you can form a patty with it. If yes, then continue forming those patties.
Now, it’s common that the mix might come out crumbly. You can remedy that by using the liquid from your canned beans. Add one tablespoon at a time until it gets sticky enough to shape the patties.
Once you’ve made the patties, just place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then refrigerate them for about 30 minutes without any cover. Remember to do this last step or else your patties won’t stay together.
How Do You Make Veggie Burgers Stick Together?
Making veggie burger patties stick together depends on the kind of ingredients you use. As mentioned above, grilling veggie patties requires the use of miso paste for them to hold up until cooked.
Now, in general, most veggie burger recipes don’t use that paste and just fall apart under certain circumstances. So we’ve gathered all the tricks you can pull to keep your veggie burgers stick together.
There are what you call binders that are added to the veggie patty mix, so they’d stick together even when you’re flipping them on the grill or pan. Here are the three most effective binders you can use:
Egg is a common binder. It’s even used in the wraps of spring rolls, so they’d stay intact. Imagine that strength.
The thing is, it’s the protein in eggs that make it a firm binder. It’s like a hair gel that’s sticky but effective in holding strands of your hair up in place.
If you can’t eat eggs, the perfect alternative is flaxseed meal. Just mix one tablespoon of flaxseed with two to three tablespoons of water and set it aside for a few minutes, and there you have a large egg binder replica.
This is the perfect balance to moisture and dryness in your veggie burger patty. It’s also the hack to making the ideal pasty but not too wet mixture for patties.
Here are starch sources you can choose from:
- Breadcrumbs — These are popularly used as the starch content of veggie burgers. You’d notice the presence of this ingredient in some recipes.
They are also easily bought anywhere, so they make homemade projects like this very convenient. Just make sure that your breadcrumbs aren’t bland as it has a direct effect on the burger’s overall quality.
- Oats — They are gluten-free, which works so well with the veggie patty’s concept. Their taste also adds a slight kick on the veggie burgers.
You can toast the oats in the oven under 350 °F (180 °C) to release its raw flavors. Wait until they’re brown and a little crispy.
- Wheat Germ — This is the sturdiest starch that can possibly keep your veggie burgers together. It has a meaty flavor that can also be roast-like and it has a flaky and fine texture perfect for the patty combination.
- Tortilla Chips — The crumbs of tortilla chips make a nice unconventional binder for your veggie burgers. The idea came from the cookbook Ten Dollar Dinners by Melissa d’Arabian where the chips are included in a cheesy black bean burger recipe.
What’s a burger without cheese anyway, right? Except if your diet strictly excludes dairy, then we understand.
For those who find cheese irresistible, the binding properties of this ingredient gives you one more reason to include it in your veggie patty mix. This is also why most of our recipes suggest that the cheese is melted on top of the patty while they’re still on pan or grill.
The following are the most secure types of cheese for binding purposes:
- Monterey Jack
- Young Gouda
Avoid the following cheese as they won’t do much in keeping your veggie burgers together in place:
Baking your veggie burgers is also a sure way to keep everything together. You can place the patties in the oven for a bit, then just fry or grill them after, if you prefer not to leave it all alone in baking.
Another important prep hack to remember is to prioritize mashing. Make sure everything is kept together by mashing everything by hand or with a potato masher.
Do it the proper way: pasty but with some whole bits left for an unbreakable finish. It’s all about the texture.
What Are Ways to Cook the Veggie Patties?
Cooking veggie patties is different from cooking ground meat as the former has a more sensitive exterior than the latter. Vegetables are also way lighter than meat, so it’s challenging to make the most perfect patties.
However, the methods for cooking typical burgers are just the same as for veggie patties. The difference lies more on how carefully you make your veggie patties.
This is the go-to cooking method for veggie burgers. All you need is a non-stick iron skillet, some oil, and a spatula.
Most veggie burger recipes you’ll find will instruct you to just fry your veggie patties. Cooking your burgers even take only up to 10 minutes tops.
It’s also not just the simplicity of this technique that has made it a standard for cooking veggie burgers. When cooked on the stovetop, these fragile veggie patties remain stuck together, unlike when they’re grilled.
Using the skillet also allows for concentration in your selected healthy oil mixed with the flavors of the patties. That’s why commercial burgers use this technique — to ensure the taste of the burgers remain rich from the processing stage to serving them.
The downside of cooking your burgers on a skillet is that you have to keep an eye on your patties the whole time. Using an oven will save you from any need to monitor your veggies.
Just preheat the oven to 350 – 400 °F (175 – 205 °C), a medium-hot temperature. During this phase, you’ll still have to pre-cook your patty-shaped veggies on the pan for seven to nine minutes.
Afterwards, you should place them on a non-stick baking sheet using your spatula. For a more secure stick-free placement, make sure to spray vegetable oil on the sides of your patties before cooking them.
After the patties have been further cooked in the oven, make sure that the temperature in it 165 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. 75 °C) before you remove your burgers. Another tip to keep in mind is to refrigerate the newly formed patties for 30 minutes first before pre-cooking and oven heating.
That will prevent your burgers from crumbling during the pre-cooking and make nice post-oven results.
This is the most dreaded cooking method by veggie burger enthusiasts. The veggie burgers just happen to easily break apart when grilled.
Even if you make sure that the bean mix is processed right to keep the texture and stickiness in the patty, the grill still messes it up. Still, we all know how cookouts are not really a hit without the grilled burgers.
So we’ll let you in on the secret to impeccably grilled veggie burgers — miso. Miso is a Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans with salt or sometimes rice, barley, and other interesting ingredients.
You just use the miso as a binder. Instead of using egg, use white miso paste to keep all your veggie patty ingredients together. White miso also goes well with any burger toppings, so you won’t have to worry about any overpowering flavor.
Another good thing about fermented soybeans is that they have natural meat taste. The miso paste is abundant in umami flavors that make such a great substitute for meat.
Once you add miso in your veggie paste mixture, your patties will hold up on the grill well. The intact form will also prevent the flavors of the burgers to vanish onto the grill, which is a common concern for grilled veggie burger fans.
Air frying is a new technique, and not many people have tried cooking their veggie burgers here. So we tried it for you and here’s what we think:
We love that we didn’t need to use oil in making our veggie burgers in the air fryer. We know that not all oils available in the market are actually as healthy as they make them look like.
Another thing we admire in the results of our air-fried veggie burgers is that they didn’t shrink at all. The cooking time also only took up to 15 minutes tops.
What we did is that we set the air fryer over 360 °F (180 °C) and placed our formed veggie patties in there for 10 minutes. We only added five minutes to get that crusty burger texture.
We highly recommend this technique if you’re also tired of pouring oil into your vegan food. Also, if you want your veggie burgers to remain as packed as they are, then this is the ultimate solution for you.
Try it now and thank us later.
What Makes a Veggie Burger Taste like Meat?
As mentioned in the first part of the article, soybeans are the primary ingredient that makes veggie burgers taste like meat. The molecule Heme is not just a property that makes the meat red and happens to be in soybeans as well.
Heme is prevalent in the animal muscle tissue and blood, so it is the essence of cows where we can trace the rich taste of meat. Soy is abundant in this molecule despite being a plant, hence the active involvement of this legume in most of the recipes above.
Can You Make Vegan Burger Buns Too?
Veggie burgers won’t serve their purpose if your buns are still the typical bread buns. Flour used in making bread alone doesn’t possess any nutrient at all.
Did you know that bread contains over 20 various ingredients, which include some pretty toxic contents?
Ammonium sulfate (found in fertilizers), ammonium chloride (present in explosives), azodicarbonamide (used in making yoga mats), and high fructose corn syrup are just a few of the unhealthy components of a traditional burger bun.
So yes, you bet you can make vegan burger buns, too!
What Do I Need to Make Vegan Burger Buns?
Making vegan burger buns is one of the simplest baking activities you’ll ever engage in. It’s a no-fuss project, unlike making traditional breads. One more reason to embrace veggie burgers, right?
To keep your ingredients low in calories and fats, you just have to replace the typical ingredients in making bread with their vegan counterparts. Here they are as follows:
- Non-dairy milk — Replace cow milk with any non-dairy milk or almond milk.
- Coconut oil — Butter isn’t really healthy, so use coconut oil instead. Organic refined coconut oil will keep your burger from acquiring strong coconut flavors.
- Wheat Gluten Flour — As mentioned above, flour is devoid of any nutritional value, this one that’s rich in iron, niacin, folic acid, thiamine (all essential beef nutrients).
- Flax egg — To avoid dairy, just mix ground flax seeds with some water to take over the egg’s role.
- Vegan sugar — Most white sugar products are made of animal bone char. Cane sugar is a healthier option that gives you pure sugar.
- Active dry yeast — Make sure to pick fresh yeast or else your dough won’t rise.
Once you’ve gathered these ingredients, it’s time to get your setup ready. Here are the equipment you need to process your vegan burger buns:
- Stand mixer — Here’s something you can use if you don’t want to pound the dough using your hands.
- Oven — Need we say more?
How to Make Vegan Burger Buns?
Making vegan burger buns will revolve mostly in forming the dough. Just add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until everything is combined.
The texture you’re aiming for is “shaggy”. Once all the ingredients are mixed together, start using the mixer to knead the dough. Set to low speed for 10 minutes.
You can also use your bare hands if you don’t have a mixer. Just push the dough down and out, stretching it flat on the surface with the heels of your hands. Keep kneading until the gluten strands of the dough is lengthened.
Fold the top part of the dough in your direction and press it down. Press out again and repeat the stretching and lengthening process.
The goal is to turn the dough’s texture into smooth and silky. This would take about 10 – 15 minutes to achieve.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover it, and let it sit in a warm area until it has risen. You have to wait a full hour before the dough doubles in size.
Afterwards, all you have to do is to shape the dough into burger buns. Brush them with some coconut oil before putting them in the oven set to 375 °F (190 °C). Bake for 15 – 18 minutes until the top turns golden.
Are Veggie Burgers Healthier Than Beef Burgers?
There’s still a light debate in the health community regarding this matter. The health pedestal the media has put these veggie burgers into is convincing enough to answer this question with a yes. That’s not the case for some health experts.
“One thing I always tell clients is when you’re looking at plant-based foods, look for ingredients high on the list that are whole foods,” warns Rachel Fine, registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition in New York City.
That implies that even plant-based products are not entirely healthy as some are packed in masses, hence they carry additives for long-term shelf life. Keep an eye out on any additives in these products such as sodium, which can cause long-term health issues.
Veggie burgers still have far fewer calories and fats than beef burgers, for sure. Still, you have to observe moderate consumption of these veggie patties or you might have imbalances in your nutrition levels that are as risky as other health issues.
Can Veggie Burgers Help Lose Weight?
So we’ve established how veggie burgers are far lighter than typical beef burgers. But can they really contribute to weight loss?
It all comes down to your level of consumption. If you eat more than two medium-sized veggie burgers in a row, then your weight loss program is headed nowhere.
The principle in every diet is to eat everything in small portions. Beef is not even unhealthy if consumed in tiny portions.
The same applies to veggie burgers. Not because they are less fatty and caloric means you can suddenly binge them while watching your Netflix series.
However, they are still far better than eating greasy fast food burgers, especially if you’re working out at the same time. Watch what you top your veggie burgers with as well.
Go for low-fat cheese and avoid fries and potato chips as sides. Stick to vegetable alternatives that align with low-calorie content.
We live in a world of diverse sources for protein and taste. Meat’s tempting taste and even appearance can now be replaced by a few other healthier substitutes.
Whether we like burgers for their protein or mere flavors, veggie burgers can always satisfy our cravings for this famous comfort food. Also, our consumption of meat has been a controversial topic in the health world for several years now.
The veggie burger guide above shows that we can still control calorie and fat intake despite our love for the red meat patty’s aroma. Soybeans can be mashed and mixed with various ingredients that can capture our attention just as much anyway.
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