Most of us love to tuck into a good burger with all the trimmings don’t we?! 😉 Well, this one is sure to satisfy your cravings……
The burger patty is made from a delicious mix of quinoa, lentils and crunchy walnuts so it has a real, overall nutty flavour.
When I first started to make plant-based burgers, I found it difficult to find a way to hold them together so they did not fall apart during cooking. You can’t just whizz up some beans, squish them together and hope for the best because the reality is, they probably won’t make it from the bowl into anything which resembles a burger patty before they have disintegrated in your hands, plus they’d taste a bit like a soggy mess even if they did make it in the pan!
How do you make a vegan burger patty?
Here is a guide to making a great tasting vegan burger and a few tips and tricks I have learned along the way;
- If you are blending the beans or lentils to break them down – only process half. Leaving half of the beans or lentil intact ensures that you do not end up with a soggy consistency, plus you will have some bite to your burger too. The best way is actually to mash them with a fork, rather than blitz them in a food processor, this way you have more control over the texture.
- Once you have made the mixture – complete with flavours and seasoning, place the mixture into the fridge. This will help the mixture to set and it will be easier when forming your burger patties into shape. It needs to chill for at least 30 mins – or you could make the mixture the day before you need the burgers and leave it in the fridge overnight if you prefer.
- Once you have formed your burger patties, heat a little oil in a frying pan, place the patties into the oil and cook on each side for about 2 minutes until crispy. This will really help to stop the patties from breaking apart, and it will give them a really nice crispy edge. I have tried skipping this step and gone straight on to baking in the oven, without the oil, but to be honest, they were a bit bland and the crispy coating really elevates these burgers into something a lot tastier!
- OVEN BAKING:
- By cooking 2x – first in the frying pan to seal and then into the oven, it ensures they are cooked through to the centre. In order to cook them fully in the frying pan, they would probably end up burning so the oven baking makes them fully cooked and crispy without the risk of burning the outer edges.
- Let’s face it, beans, lentils and grains can be pretty bland! Have you ever tried eating a lentil dhal made with just the lentils and no onions, spices or seasoning?! Bleugh! The flavours you add to your burger mix will take it from zero to hero in one bite! Don’t be scared to be inventive or add bold flavours – there are so many ways you can do it that you could end up with a completely different tasting burger even from using the same base ingredients of bean and rice!
- Cook your grains (rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, freekah etc) in vegetable stock – this is a key way to adding a real savoury boost of flavour before you have added anything else.
- When adding spices, choose 3 complimentary flavours such as Cumin, Coriander and Ginger or use a ready-made spice mix such as Ras el Hanut, Garam Masala or Harissa Seasoning.
- Tamari, Miso, Liquid Smoke or Sriracha are other ways to add strong flavours too.
- If you are using onions, ensure that you cook them gently for about 10 minutes, or as long as you can without burning. Undercooked onions do not taste so good when biting into a burger patty! If you have people in your family (like I do!) who really do not like onions, use dried onion granules instead as they are less strong in flavour and do not have any texture but add that important taste note to the recipe. The same with garlic too – use dried garlic granules or pre-roasted garlic which turns into a creamy butter consistency when roasted, making it easy to blend with your burger mix.
- Make sure you season the mixture well before cooking so the seasoning is infused within the burger.
- Build the burgers with some amazing, seeded bread buns or lettuce cups if you prefer to skip the bread and add lots of toppings such as tomato sauce, avocado, cashew cream, coconut yoghurt, BBQ sauce, and fresh items like microgreens, rocket, spinach, lettuce, kale etc, plus tomatoes and salad onions.
- If you miss dairy cheese – look for a good dairy-free alternative like I have here and it will melt over your burger with a few minutes under the grill!
- So many ways to build an epic burger!
- An important step in creating your burger patty is ensuring it golds together well. A vegetarian patty would use whisked egg because they are very good at ‘glueing’ everything together when wet and they solidify during cooking. If you do not want to use egg, my favourite replacement, which acts similar to the egg during cooking, is GRAM FLOUR. Gram flour is made from chickpeas – you might hear it being called chickpea flour. It’s a very fine flour which even has an egg-like flavour to it. A few spoonfuls of gram flour in your burger mixture, once it comes into contact with the moisture of the beans/lentils/cooked grains, will instantly bind the ingredients together, making it easier to form the burger patties with your hand. During the cooking time, the gram flour solidifies, further enhancing the binding capabilities of this amazing flour!
- You can also use egg replacements such as ground flax seeds or ground chia seeds which also work well as binders and soak up a lot of liquid – great for burger mixtures which are too ‘wet’.
- If you mash around half of the beans or lentils, this mushy consistency will also help to bind the mixture together too.
- If you use damp hands when forming the mixture into the patties, it will help it not to stick to your hands too much.
- If you have an egg ring, I find these extremely useful for forming the patties to equal sizes, so use it if you have one or grab one from the store next time you go 😉
I understand that this might seem too much to consider just for making a few burgers! But once you have mastered the process and remember the key points on binding, flavour and cooking – you will be able to churn these babies out in no time! You might even start to get a bit cocky with your combinations too 😉
I hope this information has helped! Have fun building some epic burgers!
Quinoa, Green Lentil, Walnut & Chive Plant-based Burger
- 400 g dried quinoa equal to 2 cups
- 600 mls vegetable stock
- 225 g cooked green lentils equal to 1 tin
- 50 g walnuts chopped small
- 1 TBSP dried parsley
- 1 large clove garlic peeled
- 1 TBSP dried onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 1 large bunch fresh chives chopped
- 2 " fresh ginger root peeled, grated
- 1/2 lemon - juice only
- Sea salt and ground black pepper to season
- 2 TBSP rapeseed oil for frying
- 3 TBSP gram flour
Rinse and drain the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. Place it in a medium-sized pan with the vegetable stock. Bring it to the boil then simmer for about 15 minutes until cooked. Adjust the liquid level by adding more water if necessary. Once cooked, drain any excess liquid and leave to cool for a while until it stops steaming and is cool enough to handle.
Rinse and drain the green lentils and place them into a large bowl with the chopped walnuts, then add the cooled quinoa.
Add the parsley, garlic, onion powder, paprika, chives, ginger root, lemon juice and season to taste.
Mix the ingredients together with your hands or a spoon until combined.
Now add the gram flour and stir in using a spoon until all the mixture is covered.
Split the mixture out into 5 portions. Use your hands to lift out one portion of the mixture and form into a large ball. If you have an egg ring, place it on a clean chopping board, place the formed ball inside of it, then use your hands to press down until flat and you have an even surfaced burger patty shape. If you do not have an egg ring, simply do this with your hands. Continue with all 5 burger portions.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and place each burger patty into the oil over a low-medium heat. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes to seal. If you have a smaller frying pan, simply add less oil and fry the number of patties which can fit into the pan until you have fried all 5.
Place the fried burger patties on to a baking tray and bake them all in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes until cooked through and crispy.
Serve the burgers on a bun with your favourite toppings! See suggestions above!
You can make the burger mixture a day ahead and keep it in the fridge to cook the following day.