Why are veggie burgers so polarizing? To some, they are heroic, healthy, and hedonistic additions to a summer barbecue. To others, they’re just underwhelming. We’re here to set the record straight on how awesome a veggie burger can be when done right. Here is what you need to know:
Mind the Water
It’s a true scientific fact that vegetables are mostly water. To make sure your burger isn’ta soggy mess, 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.
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 great depth to your veggie burger: Soy sauce, fish sauce, tamari, coconut aminos, Worcestershire sauce.
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, quinoa, 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.