DIY Veggie Burgers are simple to make and offer the perfect solution to use up random odds and ends in your refrigerator! Rather than choosing store bought veggie burgers loaded with highly processed ingredients, create your own using leftovers to cut costs, reduce waste, and nourish your body with nutrient-rich, real food!
Step 1: Gather your ingredients
It’s all about that Base:
The base of your burger will serve as a foundation for all the ingredients in your recipe and will bring a variety of textures to every bite!
· Use a mixture of leftover baked potatoes yams, or any mashed root veggie, cooked lentils or beans
· Change up the texture by using cooked whole grains like kamut, sorghum, quinoa and intact or partially mashed beans or lentils, as well as a mixture of veggies, like shredded carrots, peas, corn, greens, mushrooms, etc.
The key to a great veggie burger is using ingredients that bring a meaty umami flavor and a savory, creamy richness to mimic the presence of meat!
· Meaty Umami ingredients: Mushrooms (dried or cooked), eggplant, tomato paste, miso paste, Dijon mustard, and nutritional yeast. Here’s a great blog on developing plant-based umami flavor.
· Fatty Richness: Choose healthy plant based fats like tahini, almond butter, pureed toasted walnuts, or avocado.
Bind your dough with a mixture of wet and dry ingredients…
· Wet: Eggs, or a flax egg (1 Tbs flax + 2-3 Tbs water), or a Tbs of plain yogurt
· Dry: dry oats or garbanzo flour, buckwheat flour, or any ground whole grain.
Passport to Flavortown:
· This is the fun part! Choose an area of the world and gather staple ingredients used in that cuisine. For example, an Asian-themed burger could use ginger, garlic, chiles, and miso.
· Unfamiliar with flavor profiles? Here’s a guide on spices by cuisine, and here’s a guide on aromatics by cuisine. No need to panic, the more you cook and explore different cuisines, the more flavor profiles will become second nature to you! Hint: keeping a solid inventory of spices, vinegars, and international condiments will make preparing meals from around the globe easy-breezy!
· Feeling uninspired or overwhelmed? Simply sauté some onions, celery, and carrots (mirepoix), and a little garlic wouldn’t hurt!
Step outside your comfort zone and think outside the ketchup bottle – there’s plenty of nourishing condiments to explore!
· Consider a healthy spread like pesto, hummus, avocado, or tzatziki.
· Add a crunch with veggies like carrots, cucumber, cabbage, radish or jicama, or try kimchi for a dose of gut-friendly probiotics!
· Don’t forget to brighten things up with some acid like a squeeze of citrus or a splash of vinegar, or try grilled pineapple, mango, or orange segments. Add freshness with herbs like basil, cilantro, or parsley, or try a vibrant spicy green like arugula or watercress!
· Go Streaking! Consider going bun-less and instead use collard wraps, butter or bib lettuce, or eat your burger on a bed of greens. Or eat your burger in between 2 Grilled or baked portabella mushrooms, eggplant rounds or potato rounds!
· Not ready to ditch the bun? Here are a few “A+ buns” you can find at the grocery store that feature real food ingredients: Food For Life 4:9 Sprouted Grains Burger Buns, Engine 2 Sprouted Grain Buns, Alvarado St. Bakery Sprouted Wheat Bun, Silver Hills Sprouted Bakery Buns.
Step 2: Get Cooking!
1. First, sauté the aromatics, spices, and any high-water content veggies, like mushrooms, eggplant, and zucchini. Note: the ingredients you sauté will be determined based on your the flavor profile of your burger
2. Then, mash or puree the base ingredients using a potato masher, fork, or food processor (mashed root veggies, beans/lentils).
3. Add in something hearty for a chewy texture (intact legumes, whole grains)
4. Then add the sautéed mixture of aromatics, spices and veggies to the base
5. Don’t forget to add a “meat-mimicker” that’s loaded with savory umami flavor and a healthy fat to bring get a boost of creamy richness!
6. Bind everything together using a dry and wet ingredient. Stir to combine, and add more dry or wet ingredients to achieve a hearty dough-like texture.
7. Taste the batter and season accordingly using salt, pepper, spices, etc.
8. Shape into patties and place on a parchment lined baking sheet in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Then bake at 350 F for 20-30 minutes (flip half way), or sauté in a pan with olive oil for 3-4 minutes on each side.
9. Serve immediately (don’t forget the condiments and burger mobile!!) or allow to cool and wrap in freezer paper and freeze for later!
10. Bon apeitit!
PS…When you are purchasing veggie burgers from the grocery store, be sure to read that ingredient list. The only ingredients you want to see are ingredients that you can buy at the store or that you could find in your pantry. Be sure to avoid those with isolated soy protein, TVP, vital wheat gluten, protein extracts etc as well as refined oils, sugar and excess salt. Here are a few Veggie Burger products that earned my stamp of approval. Each of these are filled with whole grains, beans, veggies, spices, healthy fats, and herbs, and are free of refined oils, artificial ingredients, processed proteins, and excess sugar and salt!
Below are a few of my favorite DIY Veggie Burger Recipes guaranteed to win your taste buds over!! Happy eating =)
Bahn mi burger
- 1 grated ginger
- 1-2 garlic, cloves, minced
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 1 cup shitake mushrooms
- 1 cup roasted Sweet potatoes
- ½ cup legumes mashed + ½ cup legumes reserved for texture
- 1-2 tbs Chinese five spice powder
- 1 tbs miso paste
- 1-2 tbs tahini
- ½ cup cooked whole grains
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- plain Greek yogurt or primal kitchen mayo (or avocado)
- 1 tsp thinly sliced jalapeño
- 1 lime, sliced
- crunchy veg: radish, carrots, cucumber, or kimchi
Stir-fry the garlic, ginger, scallions, and shitake mushrooms with 1 tbs of Chinese 5 spice powder. Set aside and allow to cool. Next, mash together the sweet potatoes and ½ cup legumes. Stir in tahini, miso paste, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, and 1-2 tbs chopped cilantro– mix to combine. Gently stir in reserved legumes, mushroom mixture, and cooked whole grains. Add oats, or flour, or any dry ingredient in small doses, until the batter comes together and forms a dough-like texture. Taste and season with salt and pepper, and additional 5 spice powder as needed. Mold into patties and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. Oven: Bake at 375 F for 20-30minutes, flipping half way. Stove Top: Heat a skillet over medium high heat with high quality oil and cook for 7-10 minutes, flipping half way. Mix the plain yogurt or mayo or avocado with a few squirts of sriracha. Smear onto burger and top with crunchy veg, a few sprigs of cilantro, jalapeños and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime. Dig in!
- 1 head of garlic roasted garlic
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced asparagus, blanched
- 1 cup whole grains
- about ½ cup dry binder: oats, whole grain flour
- One 15-ounce can Chickpeas, drained
- 2 tbs chopped sundried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped artichokes hearts
- 2 tablespoons chopped pitted olives
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
- 2 tablespoons tahini, hummus, plain Greek yogurt, or 1 egg or flax egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest and juice
- ½ cup mixture of chopped herbs: basil, mint, parsley, cilantro or dill
- Salt & Freshly ground pepper
- Tzatziki, hummus, or pesto
Mash or puree the roasted garlic, half of the cooked whole grains, chickpeas and the 2 tablespoons of tahini; transfer the mixture to a bowl. Stir in the asparagus, artichokes, olives, sundried tomatoes, scallions, lemon juice, herbs and remaining whole grains. Add oats or dry ingredient as needed to bind the dough. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Mold into patties and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. Oven: Bake at 375 F for 20-30 minutes, flipping half way. Stovetop: Heat a large cast-iron skillet with high quality fat and cook for 7-10 minutes, flipping half way. Top with hummus, pesto or tzatziki, crunchy veg and a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy.
- 1-2 garlic, cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup diced bell pepper
- 1 bunch of scallions, chopped, reserve the greens
- 1 tbs chili powder + 1 tbs cumin + 1 tsp paprika
- ½ cup whole corn kernels, organic
- 1 cup roasted sweet potatoes
- ½ cup black beans or pinto beans mashed + ½ cup reserved for texture
- 1 tbs miso paste
- ½ tbs adobo sauce + chiles if you’re brave
- 1-2 tbs tahini
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 avocado, mashed
- pico de gallo
- 1 lime
- crunchy veg: radish, peppers, cucumber
Stir fry the garlic, bell pepper, and scallions with chili powder, paprika and cumin until caramelized but still crisp. Turn off heat and add the frozen corn, toss to combine, and set aside to cool. Next, mash together the sweet potatoes and ½ cup beans. Stir in tahini, miso paste, adobo sauce, lime zest + ½ lime juice, 1-2 tbs chopped cilantro, mix to combine. Gently stir in reserved beans, and sautéed red bell pepper and corn mixture. Add oats, or flour (or any dry ingredient) in small doses, until the batter comes together and forms a dough-like texture. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and spices, as needed. Mold into patties and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. Oven: Bake at 375 F for 20-30minutes, flipping half way. Stove Top: Heat a skillet over medium high heat with high quality oil and cook for 7-10 minutes, flipping half way. Mix the yogurt, mayo, avocado with a few tsp of adobo sauce. Smear onto burger and top with crunchy veg, avocado slices, few sprigs of cilantro, pico de gallo, and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime. Dig in!