No food processor needed! Just a fork and a bowl! 🙂
I used to be too intimidated and lazy to make veggie burgers from scratch. It always sounded like way too much work. I often found myself disappointed whenever I did put in the effort because they usually fell apart in the pan. I relied entirely on storebought brands for my veggie burger needs, until I discovered this magic formula.
While staying with a big English family on my workaway adventures, I had to get over my veggie burger intimidation to participate in their tradition of “Friday burger night” as a vegetarian. Without access to storebought veggie burgers, zero confidence, and low expectations, I haphazardly combined some random leftovers and pantry staples together. To my surprise, my burgs turned out great!
I thought I had just gotten lucky, but the next week, I did it again. Every week my confidence has grown. I’ve reproduced them multiple times now with different ingredients each time, and I‘ve realized that there is a simple fool-proof formula. I’ve also learned that there’s no reason to use a food processor, why make extra dishes? I just mash everything with a potato masher until it holds together, and it works great.
Why You Should Get Over Your Fear of Making Veggie Burgers from Scratch
The thing about making veggie burgers from scratch is that they are a perfect solution for using up leftovers, scraps and produce odds and ends. There’s no need to go out of your way to buy special ingredients for veggie burgers, you’ll just make it harder than it needs to be. Besides, it’s so satisfying to be scrappy and resourceful! Use your leftover roasted sheet pan veggies, canned beans, and the weird grains in your pantry that you don’t know what to do with.
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1 Cup Finely Chopped Veggies (Choose A Few)
- onions finely chopped
- mushrooms finely chopped
- potatoes leftover or pre-cooked, chopped
- beets cooked or raw, finely minced or grated
- carrots cooked or raw, finely minced or grated
- spinach or kale cooked or thawed, water squeezed out
- corn raw, cooked, or frozen
- squash leftover or pre-cooked, chopped
- broccoli or broccoli stems raw or cooked, finely chopped or grated
- cauliflower or cauliflower stems raw or cooked, finely chopped or grated
- artichoke hearts cooked or canned, finely chopped
- zucchini raw, finely chopped
- bell peppers raw, finely chopped
3/4 Cup Cooked Legumes (Choose 1 or 2)
- canned or cooked beans such as black, pinto, chickpeas, white beans, adzuki, black eyed peas, etc.
- cooked lentils any kind
1/2 Cup Cooked Grain (Choose 1)
- cooked grain of choice such as rice, barley, farro, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, etc.
1/4 Cup Dry Binder (Choose 1)
- flour of choice
- almond meal
- instant oats or pulse rolled oats in a food processor to get a finer grind
- panko or bread crumbs
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley or Italian herbs
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder optional but yummy
- pinch of salt
- pinch of black pepper
Mix and Mash
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mash and mix with a fork or potato masher to get a mushy consistency with some texture remaining. Depending on how wet your ingredients are, you will need to play with the amount of binder until they work. Start with 1/4 cup of your binder of choice, and then add 1 Tbsp at a time until the mixture holds together and can be shaped into patties with your hands. If the grains and beans are pretty wet, or you are using a high-moisture veggie like spinach or artichoke hearts, you will need a bit more binder.
- Shape into 3 patties and set aside on a plate. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes (and up to a few hours), I find this helps them hold together better. They can be frozen at this point between sheets of parchement paper.
Fry Your Burgs
- Fry on a nonstick pan in a dab of oil over medium low heat, flipping when nicely browned, for about 5 minutes or so on each side.
- I usually make a fourth mini “test patty” to check the holding-togetherness of the batch. I fry up the little test burger first, and if it falls apart then I adjust the mix with more flour, 1 Tbsp at a time until it holds together better.
- It’s ok to put the already shaped patties back in the bowl, mix flour in, and reshape them if needed. Until you develop good intuition about texture and consistency (and even if you already have good intuition) you may need to tinker a little. No big deal.
- These can be made ahead and covered and stored (uncooked) in the refrigerator for a day or two, or frozen between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container.
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