Friday, July 25, 2014

A Vegan's Ultimate Veggie Burger

A recent New York Times article proposes to have made the "Ultimate Veggie Burger," one that satisfies a craving for "the hamburger experience (soft bun, chewy protein, lots of spicy condiments)" and mimics the texture of meat burgers. This article inspired me to cook up some burgers at home, but rather than try to veganize this dairy-filled recipe, I pondered a little on what I even want from a veggie burger. 

The author is certainly entitled to her view that the goal of a veggie burger's existence is to be meat-like, and I am always pleased to find omnivores who enjoy veg fare. However, I do find it interesting that my favorite veggie burgers flout the narrow expectation of an existence of mimicry.

Sure, most of today's veggie burgers come from a modern vegetarian movement to replace meat products; but I like to connect their history further back. I see them as descendants of ancient chickpea balls sent from above straight to the Promised Land. Falafel, yes,  gloriously spiced, crisp and soft falafel is the fore-parent of our bean burgers.

The dishes exist separately today, but falafel and my ultimate burger share a few characteristics, like a mashed bean texture and cleanly spiced flavor. I also like my veggie burgers to display their components proudly, giving them a varied texture. Onions, beans and seeds all remain somewhat recognizable, both visually and in flavor.

I'm sure preferences regarding the meat-like/ none-meat-like divide differ among all dietary circles -- vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, everyone coming from a different place. As a life-long veg*n, I have zero cravings for meat-like burgers. In fact, they sometimes scare me away with their fleshy appearances. That being said, I will always cross the divide rather than suffer through a bad none-meat-like burger, as I'm sure my meat-like-loving friends would do when confronted with an over-cooked "meaty" monstrosity.

Now, I am happy to share with you my adaptation of a wonderful burger from one of my favorite vegan cookbooks, The Oh She Glows Cookbook

A Vegan's Ultimate Veggie Burger
adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook
makes 16 patties, recipe can be halved, leaving half an onion for another use.

30 oz. (2 cans) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 lb. carrots, grated (2 cups)
2 hot peppers, finely chopped
2/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Fresh rosemary from 2 sprigs, finely chopped
4 cloves (2 tsp.) garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
1 1/2 cup rolled oats, processed into flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. sea salt
Black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a cookie sheet.
2. Place the black beans in a food processor and pulse for about ten seconds, turning some of the beans into a paste while leaving some largely intact. Move beans into a large bowl.
3. Add remaining ingredients. Mix everything with your hands until it comes together in one large blob of dough.
4. Split the dough in half, then split it again. Repeat until there are 16 balls of dough, each being 1/4-1/3 cup. Round out each ball and flatten it on the cookie sheet.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping half-way through. Burgers are finished when they are firm and have started to brown.
6. Burgers can be served immediately, cooled and store in the fridge or cooled and frozen.

No comments:

Post a Comment