Earlier this week I wrote about dipping my toes into vegan baking for a cabin trip last weekend. I’m strictly a lacto-ovo veg, and have been since I was but a wee 3-year-old, but I wanted to make a couple of things to share with our vegan friends: a sweet treat and a substantial meal. Since this weekend was all about convenience, and grabbing food that would get us back to the lake faster, I decided to whip up some veggie burgers. Well, it was mostly this convenience factor that made up my mind, but I’m also kind of obsessed with veggie burgers. It’s true. Weird, but true.
I’m also kind of obsessed with learning about how vegan food works. The science befuddles me (MOST science befuddles me, but that’s a different topic), but I love how creative vegans need to be with their food. I’ve always thought that I’m just on the cusp of being a vegan. Sometimes I think I could do it. Sometimes I think I might even LOVE it.
However, every time I consider veganism, even if only for a moment, there’s this little voice inside of me that screams, “CHEESE! Grab the cheese and run!”
…but we’ll get to that later. First, the veggie burger.
Nutty Vegan Veggie Burgers
From Oh She Glows, adapted slightly.
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups of old-fashioned oats
- 5 pieces wheat bread, processed into bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 cups black beans, rinsed and roughly pureed
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 2/3 cup pistachios, chopped
- Flax eggs: 5 tbsp ground flax mixed with 1 cup warm water
- 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, pepper to taste
- Olive oil for frying
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together the flax and water and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
This recipe is an exercise in food processor patience. You process the oats to make oat flour, the bread to make breadcrumbs, the pistachios to make smaller pistachios, and I even pulsed the carrots a few times so I’d have smaller pieces (not necessary, but an option).
In a large bowl, combine all items from garlic through pistachios in the ingredients list. Pour in the flax/water mixture, and stir again to incorporate fully. Add the olive oil, soy sauce, Sriracha (or hot sauce of your choosing), and spices.
With slightly wet hands, form 12 large patties.
Bake for 10 minutes to firm ’em up. Flip them halfway through.
In a fry pan over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil. After the burgers are out of the oven, lightly fry them in the oil for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
I love my veggie burgers full of, well, veggies, so these are right up my alley. I also love when nuts and seeds show up in patties, and the pistachio flavor is really just showing itself off in every bite.
Over the course of the weekend, I ate these on a whole wheat bun with hummus, and even just plain, no bun at all, with a fork, but my favorite preparation was when I topped the burger with some oven-roasted tomatoes and squeezed it all together between a toasted english muffin.
Okay folks, here’s where things get real. As I said, sometimes I think I could be a vegan, and then I remember cheese. Goodness gracious I love cheese. As I made these burgers, I had this pestering thought whispering through my head, “Ryan and I aren’t vegans…our burgers don’t necessarily need to be vegan…”
So then I stuffed them with cheese.
Don’t look at me like that. I only stuffed HALF of the patties with cheese! Honest! The vegans still had their burgers, and trust me, these burgers are wonderful in their vegan goodness. Nutty, crunchy, crispy, and the spices are PERFECT.
…but a little pepperjack in the middle never hurt anyone who’s NOT-vegan, right?
If you want to go my shamed, non-vegan route (but really, feel no shame), simply make the patties half the size to start with, top with some cheese slices or cubes, and then cover with another small patty, forming one large, cheese-filled patty.
Or, you know, don’t. It’s up to you.
A girl can only do so many things when she cooks for herself. Avoiding cheese in a recipe screaming for cheese is just not one of them. I’m strong, but I’m not that strong.