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There are a lot of different types of vegetarian burgers (or vegeburgers), available in cafes and supermarkets in several countries of the world.

  • Many of these are made of something that, even if "natural" in the sense that it's made from natural ingredients by some process, is not easy to make at home from naturally occurring ingredients. For example, Quorn burgers are made of mycoprotein, and Beyond Meat burgers are made of pea protein (presumably also made by some process that's not easy to do for an ordinary person with a bag of peas at home).
  • However, I've also seen a "beetroot burger" which, as far as I know, is made from real beetroots in a straightforward way, and I've also made "bean burgers" at home from ordinary beans (don't remember what type of beans now).

Some non-vegetarian friends (from various countries) have tried to make vegetarian burgers at home before inviting me for dinner, but their attempts with ordinary ingredients like legumes or vegetables normally fell flat, or rather fell apart.

What is the easiest way to make vegetarian burgers with natural easy-to-find ingredients? I.e. no fancy stuff like mycoproteins, just ordinary vegetables and things that can be found in ordinary shops in most countries.

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2 Answers 2

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Base

  • 1 x 400g tin beans, washed & drained (e.g. black-eyed, red kidney, borlotti)
  • 3/4 of a 1/2 pt cup cooked lentils (this is the dry measure)
  • 1/2 cup gram flour (see note below)

Blend a large proportion of the beans into the cooked lentils. Stir in the rest of the beans mashed roughly but not blended. Stir in the gram flour.

Flavour

  • EITHER 1 tsp Vegemite
  • OR 1 tsp tomato puré

These give very different flavours and you may prefer to use only one of them. If you are using Vegemite, stir it into the cooked lentils before you put in the beans and gram flour; if tomato puré, put it in the mirepoix.

Texture and flavour

  • 1 cup mirepoix (slow-fried finely chopped celery+carrot+onion)

  • 1/2 cup mushrooms (also slow-fried and finely chopped, cooked separately from mirepoix)

After cooking, blend a large proportion of the mirepoix and mushrooms; leave rest unblended.

Final cook

Stir everything together. Shape into burgers. Bake or fry.

Herbs and spices

  • whatever you like (e.g. 1. chilli or garlic or a couple of spoonfuls of bisbas or tagine when cooking the mirepoix; 2. marjoram or ground coriander when cooking the mushrooms; 3. some coriander leaves - also called cilantro - just before the final cook.)

Variations

  • leave onion in larger pieces
  • in the mirepoix, use celeriac instead of celery, add red or green pepper, spring onions, or leek
  • omit or use more mushrooms
  • add 1/2 cup of sweetcorn, etc.

(Edit: gram flour is made by grinding dried brown chickpeas. I suspect other pulse flours may also work. A pulse flour is the result when pulses such as beans or peas are taken in dried form and then ground. This suggestion may be of help to the OP because pulse flour is simple to make, so long as one has the dried pulses and a grinder [mill]. One could take whatever dried pulses were easily available in the given country.)

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It might not appeal to meaty burger seekers but I have nailed a recipe for bean burgers that I use regularly. The magic factor that keeps it sticking together well is gram flour or chickpea flour.

Here's a rough recipe.

  • 1/3 cup gram flour (besan) or chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup dried black eyed peas (lobhia), soaked for 1-4 hours (or use canned - use other beans if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup dried brown lentils (sabut masoor) (or use canned - use any other lentils if preferred)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup brinjal (eggplant/aubergine) or any mushrooms, finely chopped
  • chopped garlic as per your taste
  • 1 large ripe tomato, finely chopped
  • salt and seasonings as per your preference - I like thyme, chilli, pepper, cumin powder
  1. Dry roast the gram flour until it smells good, stirring constantly. Be very careful not to over do this. Set the roasted flour aside.
  2. Pressure or pan cook the beans and lentils until very soft and mashable. Pour off excess water.
  3. Fry the onion and capsicum, then add the brinjal/mushroom, then garlic, tomato etc until all is nicely done
  4. Mix everything together and form into patties
  5. Brush with oil and bake for about 20 minutes at 180 Celsius or pan fry

Another ingredient that binds like crazy is gluten. "Vital wheat gluten" is available at least in natural food type shops in the UK, though not here in India. Wheat flour doesn't work.

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  • why dry roast the flour? 21 hours ago
  • 1
    @MichaelAltfield Maybe because I eat a lot of gram flour foods, I'm really sensitive to the bitter taste and offish smell of raw gram flour. There's not that much cooking after the assembly stage so I find that the burgers don't taste so good if the gram flour isn't pre-cooked. Roasting gives it a great smell and taste. Chickpea flour is not so bad when raw but it's not widely available at least here in India.
    – Zanna
    18 hours ago

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