Yup, the secret's out: You don't have to be a vegetarian to love veggie burgers, they're just plain delicious! Packed with all kinds of legumes, grains, spices, and of course, veggies(!), veggie burgers are an incredibly flexible way to make a meal both rewarding and fun.
While there's a litany of veggie burgers at the market to choose from, you can easily make a burger recipe at home, saving money and producing much healthier results. Here's how to make the most out of your next batch:
1. Pick A Protein
Although they don't taste like meat (save for some of the crazy new varieties at the store, thanks to some serious food technology at work), veggie burgers do have one thing in common with animal burgers, and that's protein. There's lots of plant-based protein sources to choose from, too: beans, lentils, quinoa, and nuts all make excellent options. Cooked and mashed down slightly, they ensure your patty is super satisfying.
2. Pick A Grain
This one is optional, but many people enjoy having a grain included in their patty to both offer texture, as well as balance out the amino acid profile of the legumes to create a complete protein. Cooked rice is probably the most popular option, but rolled oats as well as cooked barley, farro, and sorghum can make excellent additions as well.
3. Pick A Binder
You're going to need something to keep all of your great ingredients stuck together! Popular binders include ground flax, chia powder, and ground psyllium husks.
4. Pick Your Boosts
Your veggie burger is an ideal place to get creative, nutritionally. You can add small amounts of virtually any type of finely chopped vegetable, from onions to kale to red bell pepper (or all three!). It's also a great place to add in protein powders and/or greens powders, to maximize your nutrient density – just make sure your powder is unsweetened! (Here's a particularly versatile unsweetened protein powder we love.)
5. Pick Your Spices
A little goes a long way, but just like a regular burger, you'll want to apply some seasoning to the patty before cooking. Savory spices like chili, cumin, and garlic are just a few directions to look in.
6. Pick Your Technique
There's two schools of thought to making veggie burgers: one is to blend everything down into a homogenous mixture, while the other is to leave the burger more textural, and letting the binders do their magic. Either way, once you form your mixture into patties, all that's left to do is to fire up the grill (or heat up the skillet), brush some oil on both sides of the patty, and cook until well seared. Serve with all your favorite trimmings, and enjoy!