The foundation for this recipe comes from the talented Gaz Oakley at Avant Garde Vegan (check out his website and YouTube channel).
When I first gave up meat, I tried a lot of veggie and bean burgers (both homemade and shop bought), but none quite hit the spot. I think if you’re omitting the meat, then the veggie patty should be the star of the show, and none of them were doing it for me really. Then I found this one!
If you can cook these on the BBQ in a cast iron pan or on a plancha, then all the better (start over direct heat and move to indirect to finish), but you’ll get excellent results from using your hob and oven. Cast iron just seems to give that wonderful crust to burgers that you don’t seem to get otherwise.
The idea here is to use the foundation to add your own set of flavours, giving you a burger unique to you. The combinations are pretty endless. Herbs, spices and pastes are the key here.
Makes 4 big burgers
– 1 tin of chickpeas, drained – these add texture.
– 1 tin of any other bean you fancy (kidney, black, mixed, cannelini, borlotti etc), drained & rinsed – these add body.
– 3 tbsp plain flour – the glue that binds.
– A good seasoning of salt and pepper to taste.
And well…yeah, that’s it. Store cupboard stuff. I faffed around with breadcrumbs and egg replacements before realising they really aren’t needed at all. Once you have these 3 ingredients, along with salt and pepper, you just build from there. You want punchy flavours, not a bland, uninspiring burger that hangs it’s head pathetically trying to apologise for the lack of meat. Stick to flavours that compliment one another and use the following guidelines.
Layer The Flavours
Choose one from each category…
– A handful of any soft herb (coriander, parsley, basil, tarragon, chives, mint, sage, oregano, fresh thyme – leaves only if stalks are woody)
– A tbsp of paste or puree (tomato, roasted garlic, sun dried tomato, thai curry, chipotle, harissa, tahini, red or green pesto, achiote, or even ripe avocado)
– 2 tsp dried herbs, spices, rub or any other flavouring you fancy that compliment the flavours of whichever herbs and spice paste you’ve chosen.
– A bit of heat (optional) in the form of dried chilli flakes. Less if using powder.
– Citrus. Lemon or lime work really well with a lot of herb and spice combinations. Zest and juice of 1 of your chosen fruit works well.
I’ll pop a few flavour examples below 🙂
Now that you’ve chosen your flavour combo, bung it all in a food processor and blitz to combine. I like to keep texture in there (DO NOT BLEND TO A PUREE OR IT WILL BE LIKE TRYING TO MAKE A BURGER OUT OF TOOTHPASTE), so I pulse until I get the desired consistency – maybe 3 or 4 pulses. The rest of the mixing is done when you form them into patties. At this stage you need to have a taste and check your seasoning. The raw mix is perfectly safe and you’ll be able to add a touch more salt if needed.
Once seasoned, shape the mix into 4 large patties. Using wet hands helps here or you can use a little dusting of flour, and lay on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Pop the patties in the fridge to firm up for an hour or so. You can freeze the patties at this point for cooking at a later date or make ahead the day before.
Now fry your patties on a medium to high heat in a little oil until golden on each side and a light crust has formed. Don’t move them around too much to begin with, let that flavour layer develop. I don’t cook with oil normally, but here I very lightly brush each side with a little just to prevent sticking. You should give them a good couple of minutes on each side, then pop them on a baking sheet and finish in the oven at 200ºc for 15 – 20 minutes.
Serve on a toasted bun with your favourite accompaniments. Here are a few examples of flavour combinations to add to your foundation mix.
- Fresh basil, sun dried tomato paste, 2 tsp of garlic granules (or fresh is good here), lemon zest and juice.
- Fresh coriander, chipotle paste, 2 tsp jerk seasoning, chilli flakes, lime zest and juice.
- Fresh mint, harissa paste, 2 tsp finely chopped preserved lemon.
- Fresh thyme, roasted garlic puree, 2 tsp cajun seasoning, lime zest and juice.
- Fresh chives, your favourite BBQ sauce/marinade, 2 tsp smoked paprika/BBQ rub, clementine zest and juice.
- Fresh tarragon, wholegrain mustard, 2 tsp garlic granules, lemon zest and juice.
- Fresh parsley, pesto, 2 tsp vegan parmesan, lemon zest and juice.