How Easy Is It To Make Vegan Burgers?

Last month i tried making Black Bean burgers using a recipe from the August issue of Simply Vegan magazine provided to them by Alpro. The main ingredients were black beans, breadcrumbs, garlic and olive oil. They were not very successful. They tasted OK but looked nothing like the picture and completely fell apart in the pan. Most vegetarian burgers contain egg to bind them. So for this attempt I looked for ingredients including some kind of egg substitute. The recipe I chose was ‘Mega Bean Burger with grilled Pear’ on Page 52 of the August of issue of Vegetarian Living. This recipe used a lot more ingredients including linseed which can be used to bind in baking.

The first stage was preparing the black beans. Previously I used tinned beans but this time went for dried in case the moistness had contributed to the falling apart. The hacker’s instructions said to soak them for 12 hours then cook the beans on a low heat for at least 50 minutes. They soaked for 12 hours but actually needed 3 hours cooking the beans were soft enough to cook.

The next stage was to steam rice for 40 minutes and then let it cool. Here I made my only substitute. The recipe wanted 70g of brown rice and 20g of wild rice. I searched 3 supermarkets and 2 organic stores without finding wild rice. The internet informs that wild rice can be substituted with quinoa, buckwheat or more brown rice. I just used 90g of brown rice in the end and doubt there was any real impact. Whilst the rice was cooling there was an onion to be fried, and a nutty seed mix to combine. This mix contained shelled walnuts, sunflower seeds, linseed, thyme, turmeric, salt and chilli flakes. It did suggest using a pestle and mortar but my blender was efficient and effective.

Nutty seed mix – before and after meeting my blender!

The nut and seed mix then got combined with black beans, cooked onions, oil and breadcrumbs. After it was kneaded smooth the recipe advised to leave it 30 minutes in the fridge to settle.

By now I have been preparing these burgers for almost 24 hours. Once the mixture had chilled I obediently shaped them into patties and cooked the first 2 over direct heat as instructed. They totally fell apart. The taste of the burger pieces in a bun with chutney, vegan mayo and a slice of pear was good. But the lack of any stickiness whatsoever was completely disappointing.

Burger pieces vs burger

I left the rest of the mixture to settle in the fridge for a further 24 hours then completely blitzed it in the blender. In smaller pieces it already stuck together better. I further bound it using a mix of water and breadcrumbs. So long as I made the patties fat and cooked them one at a time directly above the gas on a high heat they mostly stayed together. There were enough orher ingredients that the added breadcrumbs did not impact the taste.

Successful burgers!

The following day I discussed my attempts with a friend who cooks complicated meals a lot. He advised that for this type of recipe he generally adds tapioca flour, or any other similar sticky flour. It does always work but usually does help with the consistency. Perhaps if I try something similar again I will add that as my extra ingredient. But I doubt i would repeat this recipe. In total it took 3 days and a lot of preparation just to cook some burgers and the end result was something which could only be eaten at home. They were not suited for taking to a barbecue as their inclusion in the barbecue section of the magazine seemed to suggest. An interesting experiment but not one I plan to repeat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *