For the past several months, I’ve been on a quest to make a veggie burger that had everything on our wish list. I’ve probably made over 100 veggie burgers and they all came up short, either by just a tiny bit or by a landslide.
I’m always asked what I do with failed recipes and my answer is usually the same- I eat them! An imperfect veggie burger crumbled over a salad is quite tasty. Same goes for a doughy muffin crumbled over a bowl of Vegan Overnight Oats. Unless something I make is really gross, I eat it.
However, I am picky about three things:
1) The recipes that I post on the blog
2) Homemade Veggie burgers
3) Tying my running shoes before a run (I always stop once to re-tie them, lol)
Now you know. :)
Eric and I put together a ‘must-have’ list of requirements during our mission. Veggie burgers are serious business around here and we have quite a checklist. ;)
Our veggie burger must haves:
- Can’t be mushy in the middle (the problem I have the most)
- Crispy outer shell
- Lots of flavour from fresh herbs & spices
- No tofu (not a fan)
- Crunchy, chewy texture is a must
- No cracking or falling apart (another common problem)
- Must cook well 3 ways: frying pan, oven, and BBQ
- Could make a grown man shed a tear of joy (ok, that was my requirement, heh)
If one of those elements is missing, the recipe is as dead to me as the burgers flippin’ on the McDonald’s grill!
After writing about my most recent Lemon Rosemary burger fail (that drove me to make PB Crunch Blizzards), I received an email from a lovely reader named Jenny who must have known that I was one failed veggie burger short of being buckled into a straitjacket.
Jenny writes, “After reading your post today, which has me day-dreaming about cookie dough blizzards by the way, I wanted to share with you the best veggie burger recipe our family has come across (even my meat-lovin’ husband requests them from time to time!). The recipe is from the Whitewater ski area in Nelson, BC and hasn’t failed us yet. It isn’t vegan but I’m sure you can work your magic to make it so.”
Isn’t Jenny great?
After reading Jenny’s email, I flew into the kitchen so fast my processor spun. I figured there was a 0.0002% chance they would work, so I was quite hopeful.
As luck would have it, magic did happen in my kitchen that fateful evening as Eric patiently awaited the outcome, fearing he’d be served yet another bowl of cereal.
He wasn’t. :)
Crunchy, chewy, with a crispy outer shell, these delicious veggie burgers have all the right elements we love in a veggie burger. Light on the beans, these burgers aren’t mushy in the middle, but have a nice mixture of veggies, bread crumbs, chopped oats, sunflower seeds, and spices to round them out. This recipe is inspired by Whitewater Cooks.
- 3 tablespoons ground flax
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) warm water
- 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion or yellow onion
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
- 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 mL) tamari, to taste
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup rolled oats, processed into a coarse meal*
- 1/2 cup spelt bread crumbs (or bread crumbs of choice)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons oat flour (or flour of choice), as needed
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk the ground flax and water in a small bowl and set aside for about 5 minutes so it can thicken.
- Into a large mixing bowl, add the drained black beans. With a potato masher, mash the beans until 2/3 of the mixture is a bean "paste" while leaving about 1/3 of the beans mostly intact.
- In a medium skillet, add the oil and increase the heat to medium. Stir in the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion softens. Transfer the onion mixture into the bowl with the mashed beans.
- Stir in the flax egg, grated carrots, parsley (or cilantro), sunflower seeds, tamari, chili powder, oregano, and cumin until thoroughly combined.
- Now, stir in the coarsely chopped oats, bread crumbs, and oat flour until the mixture comes together. It should be easy to shape the dough into patties. Stir in the salt and pepper, to taste.
- Shape the dough into 8 patties (roughly 1/3 cup of dough per patty). Pack the dough together tightly as this will help it stick together. Place onto the baking sheet.
- Bake patties for 15 minutes, gently flip, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until patties are firm and golden.
- Cool the patties on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This helps them firm up a bit.
- Serve in a bun or lettuce wrap with your desired toppings. Leftover burgers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, or you can freeze cooled patties for up to 1 month. Simply wrap each patty in tinfoil and then place all of the wrapped burgers into a zip freezer bag.
- * To coarsely chop the oats, add 1/2 cup rolled oats into a food processor. Process the oats until a coarse meal forms (the chopped pieces will be a mixture of powder and chopped oats just smaller than rice). Be sure not to process too long or the oats will turn into flour.
- Make it gluten-free: Use certified gluten-free oats, gluten-free Tamari, and gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
This veggie burger ‘dough’ is so good to eat straight from the bowl! Another thing I learned during my mission: if the ‘dough’ doesn’t wow you, the burgers won’t either. Don’t be afraid to adjust the seasonings to taste.
For my first trial, I didn’t process the oats into a flour and they didn’t hold together very well when frying. For my second trial, I used oat flour instead of whole oats and they held together very well!
Before baking in the oven:
I love my silpat, but you can also use parchment paper.
After baking for 20 mins. on each side…crispy and golden!
Our preferred method of cooking is on the skillet, fried in a bit of oil. The burgers get this crispy shell similar to a hash brown! We already have plans to fry the ‘dough’ in a skillet for breakfast.
We also tried them on the BBQ, which also worked well. Pre-cook them in the oven for about 15 minutes first to firm them up a bit.
Then I raided the garden…
On the side, kale chips and ketchup.
On the burgers, we had homemade BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes. The second night, we had guacamole and pico de gallo on top- incredible!
I hope you love ‘em too!
I think this comment from Dawn says it all:
“Throw out any of your other veggie burger recipes! Seriously. This. Is. The. One! No weird ingredients. I’m no gourmet foodie, I’m just plain jane and have regular things in my pantry and fridge and I had all of these ingredients. I added about 1 Tbsp chopped jalapeno (from a jar of sliced jalapenos). Love the sunflower seeds!! Do not over chop the black beans. I recommend mixing by hand in a bowl. I used my kitchen aid and they were too mush-i-fied. Even with my mess ups, these were very, very good. I immediately ate one from pan fried. The others I baked and will freeze. Then I will give them a try on the barbecue. Truly. I am going to remove other recipes from my Pinterest, and toss the others from my recipe box.
Thank you for making the Perfect Veggie Burger recipe!”