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These days, everyone is jumping on the Meatless Monday bandwagon. Delicious vegetarian recipes are popping up everywhere. Grocery store delis offer meatless convenience foods like hummus and fresh pita for a quick vegetarian lunch. Restaurants now offer a meatless entrée where once there was none.
Our world is becoming more vegetarian friendly every day and that is a very good thing. My husband and I have enjoyed Meatless Monday for several years. Warm curried potatoes and orzo stuffed peppers have graced our plates. We love to dip chewy flat bread into white beans with rosemary. Bright salads and summer vegetables make a delightful supper when temperatures soar.
But there remains one vegetarian meal that eludes us: The Veggie Burger. We’ve tried them all, from tofu laden pre-made patties that only a hardened vegan could love, to mushy black bean burgers. We’ve given them our best shot.
I’ve been searching, in vain, for the perfect veggie burger recipe for years. I’ve had bean patties dissolve in my skillet and tofu burgers jump to their death on the hot coals of my grill. I promised myself that I would conquer the veggie burger problem. Since May was National Burger Month, I invited a vegetarian friend for dinner and started collecting veggie burger recipes.
Much reading and research taught me that homemade veggie burgers are grain based, bean based or all vegetable. I chose one from each category to try. I put together a menu of brown rice burgers, curried chickpea burgers and carrot burgers.
I rounded out the meal with baked steak fries and homemade ketchup. After all, if you’re going to make your dinner guests test recipes, aren’t homemade ketchup and steak fries in order?
One thing that all veggie burgers seem to have in common is fragility. They are very delicate and fall apart easily.
You’re better off cooking veggie burgers on a griddle than a grill. Making veggie burgers slider-sized instead of regular burger size helps hold them together as well.
Our lovely friend arrived, bearing a chocolate cake (always a good omen) and the testing began.
The less said about the carrot burger, the better. It was a dismal failure.
The chickpea burgers held a great shape; in fact, the mixture was the easiest to form into slider-sized patties. But the flavors were strong and exotic, more like a Middle Eastern falafel than an all American burger; good, but not what I was looking for.
The hands-down winner of the veggie slider contest was the brown rice burger. It was a little harder to form into patties than the chickpea burger; forming the burgers with my ice cream scoop solved that problem. The rice browned nicely and the outside of the burger looked suspiciously like a chicken burger. The interior was moist, but not crumbly. A swipe of Cajun Mayo, lettuce and tomato and the Brown Rice Burger took top honors.
Even if you haven’t been on a veggie burger quest, I hope you’ll give these brown rice burgers a try, you never know, you just might fall in love.
If veggie burgers make you cringe (even delicious ones), never fear. We finished National Burger month with good old-fashioned All-American beef burgers. Delicious burgers guaranteed to please everyone, from sea to shining sea.