Why are veggie burgers so polarizing? To some, they are heroic, healthy, and hedonistic additions to a summer barbecue. To others, they’re underwhelming, uninspired, and unfortunately ubiquitous. We’re here to set the record straight on just how awesome a veggie burger can be when done right. We’ve scoured the internet for all of the veggie burger wisdom that we could find. Here is what you need to know:
Season with Intention!
Memorable veggie burgers are well-seasoned. Using a seasoning that’s rich in umami (savoriness) will really take your burger to the next level. Any of the following sauces (we’ve tried to include one for every type of dietary preference) will add a great depth to your veggie burger: Soy sauce, fish sauce, tamari, coconut aminos, Worcestershire sauce.
Mind the Water!
It’s a true science fact that vegetables are mostly water. This means that if you’re not careful, your veggie burger can end up resembling a tissue that someone used during a screening of “The Notebook.” To get around this, make sure to lightly salt your shredded veggies (like carrots, onions, or zucchini) to draw out some of the moisture, and then squeeze them dry before adding to your burger mix. Better yet, sauté your vegetables ahead of time to deepen their flavor and draw out the water before adding them to your patty base.
Bind it all together
You’ll need a binder to make sure that your veggies hang out with each other for the duration of their patty grilling experience. This veggie glue could be egg, beans, flax/chia seeds in water, or even some cornstarch. The choice is yours, but you do need something that will help all of the veggies adhere to each other and create a truly awesome patty.
Burger composition matters
When in doubt, remember this: your burger must have some combination of dry, wet, sticky, and flavorful ingredients. If your burger ends up lackluster, it’s probably because you neglected one or more of these ingredient categories.
Don’t crowd your burgers!
When cooking, be careful to not place your burgers too close together. They’ll release a lot of steam when you cook them, and if they’re too close this will result in a mushy texture instead of the browned, crispy edges that you’re after. Give them the space and respect that they deserve and they’ll reflect that on the plate.