My husband and I have been working on making the perfect veggie burger, and while we’ve found a few good recipes, none were perfect. So we’ve come up with our own. The burger we’ve created had the added benefit of being vegan. It’s also quite high in protein.
Full disclosure: it’s a bit of a faff to make, but I promise the results are worth it. Using a 1/4 pound burger press, we got 15 burgers from this recipe. They freeze well, so it makes sense to make a lot in one go and have a couple of weeks’ worth of quick lunches. But if you’re not keen on making loads, this recipe scales down well. You can halve or even quarter it.
You can customise your burgers using spices you like. Our favourite is Lakeland Burger Seasoning Mix. It’s surprisingly spicy! But if that’s not your thing, warm spices like smoked paprika, cumin, and chipotle work well.
The trick to making veggie burgers with a pleasing texture is to keep as much excess liquid out of the mixture as possible. To help with this, we use pre-cooked packets of puy lentils and quinoa. You can just as easily make your own, but you’ll need to pat them dry repeatedly once they’re cooked as extra liquid will make your burger mixture mushy. It’s also important to let your cooked ingredients cool before mixing everything together.
900g sliced fresh mushrooms – we use button and/or chestnut
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
250g cooked puy lentils
250g cooked quinoa
170g cashew butter
salt, pepper, and any other spices you’d like to add
olive oil, for frying the veg and the finished burgers
Tools: A large frying pan, 2 large mixing bowls, a burger press, and a food processor
Add some olive oil to a frying pan and fry the mushrooms until all of their liquid has evaporated. This can take 15 minutes or so. It’s ok if they take on colour. The more ‘charred’ your veg is, the more flavour your burgers will have. Just don’t burn anything! Once the mushrooms are cooked, transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Add the cashew butter to the mushrooms and stir well. The idea here is the use the heat from the mushrooms to soften the cashew butter so that it’s easier to incorporate.
Add a bit more olive oil to your pan and fry your celery, onions, leeks, and garlic. Sprinkle this mixture with a little salt and cook until browned. Again, we’re trying to get as much liquid out of the veg, so cook a little longer if needed. Once the veg mixture is cooked, transfer it to the bowl with the mushrooms. Stir everything together well.
Now add the puy lentils and the quinoa to the veg and mushroom mixture and stir well. You want a nice, even mixture. Transfer 1/4 of the mixture to your food processor and pulse a few times. You want a medium-fine texture, but you do not want mush. Place the processed mixture into a clean mixing bowl. Repeat this process until all of your mixture has been pulsed in the food processor.
Add the panko to the bowl with the processed mixture and then stir until everything is combined. You should have a fairly sticky mixture that will hold its shape. Now is the time to add the salt, pepper, and any other spices you’d like. As the mixture is completely cooked, you can keep tasting it until you have it just right.
Using your burger press, make as many burgers as your mixture will allow. Add a little oil to your frying pan and fry the burgers until they’re slightly browned – about 2 minutes on each side. They are now ready to eat!
If you’re freezing your burgers, use a bit of parchment paper between each burger to prevent them sticking together. You can either wrap them tightly in cling film or put them in an airtight freezer bag. They’ll keep in the freezer for about 3 weeks.