Today I have a recipe and a tip, for everyone who has ever thought you must buy your veggie burgers from the frozen section of your grocery store.
I wanted to make them at home...enter a universal recipe for "One of a Kind Loaf" meat analog (a vegetarian meat alternative that looks/tastes similar to meat) and a tip on shaping burgers and I was on track to make it homemade.
It is much cheaper... (have you seen the prices for those things in the store?!) and you can control what goes into it. When my husband had wheat/gluten sensitivity issues, I could barely find a veggie burger (in a store) that didn't have wheat or wheat gluten.
I use a wide mouth canning lid and ring to achieve the burger size I like. There are many burger shapers on the market these days. If you don't have one, never fear... you can use what you might already have in your kitchen.
The recipe was from a borrowed vegan cookbook (can't remember the name of the book though, sorry) that gave me great ideas. This universal recipe intrigued me.
Universal Meatless Burger (aka: One of a Kind Loaf)
(Choose your ingredients, following the suggested amount for each category. You can mix and match within categories - for example, liquids: you could have more than one of the suggested liquids, but totaling only 1 to 1 1/2 cups.)
Legumes: 2 cups cooked legumes of any variety: lentils, kidney beans, chick peas (garbanzos), pinto beans, soy beans, black beans, tofu, etc.
Grains: 1-2 cups: whole grain bread crumbs, rolled or quick oats, cooked brown rice or millet, grape nuts prepared cereal, crushed whole grain cereal, whole grain cracker crumbs, whole grain croutons, etc.
Nuts/Seeds: 1/2 cup, chopped or ground: almonds, cashews, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc.
Liquid: 1 - 1 1/2 cups: vegetable broth, plain soy, nut, or grain milk, tomato juice or sauce, etc.
Binder: one of the following: 2 Tbsp. soy flour, 2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour, 2-3 Tbsp. gluten flour, 3 Tbsp. potato flour, 3 Tbsp. minute tapioca, 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, 1/2 cup cooked cream of wheat cereal, 2 Tbsp. soaked mung beans, blended, etc.
Seasonings: 1/2 -1 teaspoon of one or several as desired: cumin, basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, seasoned salt, celery salt, garlic or onion salt or powder, nutritional yeast, salt, Liquid Aminos, etc.
Vegetable Seasonings: 1 or more: 1 onion, chopped, 1-2 cloves garlic, minced, 2-3 Tbsp. chopped pimento, 2 Tbsp. sweet corn, 2-3 Tbsp. shredded carrots, 3-4 chopped mushrooms, etc.
Mix all selected ingredients together. See below for shaping and cooking options.
*A helpful tip using a blender. I have routinely used my Vita-Mix for blending together about half of the legumes (or more, depending how many whole ones you want), nuts, liquid, binder, and seasonings, including an onion (to get it chopped small for better flavor throughout). Basically, if you want to see it in the burger (pieces of black beans, mushrooms, carrot shreds, etc.), then put those aside they way you want to see them. With everything else (except the grains), blend it up. Make sure that you have enough liquid... so that when it's all mixed, you will be able to combine it all in a bowl and it will hold together well. If you're not sure, put it in your fridge to firm up a bit, before shaping. If it looks good, go ahead and shape into burgers, unless you are making a loaf.
For meat-less loaf: Press into oiled loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes. Serve with light gravy, if desired. Can also be sliced and used as a sandwich filling. Freezes well.
For burgers: Form into burgers (see video for canning lid method) and chill for an hour or longer (you can even freeze at this point). Bake in oven or fry in an oiled skillet until done. For grilling: you may want to fry them for a few minutes on each side ("par-fry" - partial cooking before freezing or cooking further) in a skillet on your stove to help them stay together and to give them some added moisture. Then proceed with grilling them til they are done.
Yields about 12-15 burgers (using the wide mouth canning lid shaping method).
In case you wanted to know what's in the burgers in the photo...I used this recipe with the following ingredients: soybeans, quick oats, walnuts/sunflower seed mix, tomato paste/homemade ketchup/bean cooking liquid/water mix, gari (local item here, made from cassava root)/ground flax seed mix, sage, Liquid Aminos, a fresh onion and garlic. I blended up most of the soybeans with the liquids, nuts/seeds, onion/garlic and binder, then mixed it all together in a bowl. And they were good. Smelled oh, so yummy when I was pan frying them. I doubled the recipe and it made more than 25 burgers. I had some extra mix and browned it in a skillet to add to a bean dish the next day.