The 4 Elements of a Perfect Veggie Burger

Making the perfect veggie burger is all about getting the ingredients right. To much of one thing can make it too dry, while too much of something else can make it a soggy mess. Veggie Burger Atelier is packed with amazing recipes and step-by-step instructions to help you make the most amazing veggie burgers. Start by learning these four elements and you’re on the right track!

Veggie Burger ingredients including onions, mushrooms, and a number of other spices.

The key to making great-tasting veggie burgers is understanding the four basic elements that build the perfect veggie burger: texture, flavor, firmness, and juiciness.

1. Texture

A food’s texture directly affects its taste. The general rule is that a rougher texture tastes better than a smooth, puréed bite. There are exceptions, of course, such as falafel burgers, where a smooth inside is balanced by a crustier outer surface. When it comes to the crucial part of pulsing the patty mixture in a food processor, remember the motto “less is more.” Pulse in batches for only a couple seconds to break up bigger pieces into a crumbly texture.

Using a variety of ingredients makes a compelling texture. Chunky, broken bits of beans and lentils, crushed nuts, stringy onion, and carrots are great, but the real texture stars are bouncy whole grains such as barley, rice, or freekeh. Toasting your grains gives them an extra tasty, nutty bite. For extra crunch, coat your patties with panko bread crumbs or toasted breadcrumbs.

The bun itself also plays a huge part in the tasting experience of the whole burger. A bun with a thin, hard crust and rather light whole grain, soft inside has an ideal texture that complements many types of patties.

2. Flavor

Plant-based patties are mostly blank canvases when it comes to flavor, so spices and other flavor boosters are needed. The most important flavor for savory satisfaction is umami, one of the five basic human tastes. While meat and seafood are packed with umami, plant-based patties need a bit more, so be creative. Soy, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, onions, nuts, toasted sesame oil, and nutritional yeast are plant-based umami ingredients popular in vegan cooking. Vegetarians can also boost umami flavor by adding dairy cheeses and using ghee for frying.

Using ingredients with distinct flavors, such as cauliflower and fennel, adds interest to veggie burgers. Herbs and spices also add plenty of interest and character, so use them generously. While a flavorful patty is important, it’s only one part of the whole burger’s taste. Tangy and fresh toppings and sauces balance the patty’s flavor. A delicious burger is composed of a harmony of flavors, so mix freshness, spicy, savory, and sourness for the perfect bite.

3. Firmness

When you have the texture and flavor mastered, you’ll want to keep the goodness firmly together. Consider the patty mixture’s moistness. Veggie burgers are all about alliances—too much moisture makes soggy, heavy burgers that fall apart when handled. If the mixture is too dry, you’ll end up with patties that crumble. Fry or roast vegetables, such as mushrooms and eggplant, before adding them to a mixture to reduce their natural moisture. Use sun-dried tomatoes in mixtures or a concentrated paste and save the fresh tomatoes for toppings.

In general, to make patties that hold together well:

  • Do not over blend the mixture. A varied texture gives a good hold.
  • Blend a small portion of the mixture finer than the rest to help with the rougher portions.
  • Absorb excess moisture in a too-wet mixture by adding oats or broken-up grains and always adjust the flavorings when you add bulking ingredients like these.

4. Juiciness

Getting that moisture balance right makes all the difference. Minimize excessive moisture left after cooking, washing, and draining in favor of natural plant juices and other ingredients that add more flavor. Let cooked rice and drained beans dry naturally for 30 minutes, if you have the time— spread them out on a clean kitchen towel or a tray covered with paper towels. Quickly fry just-rinsed ingredients in a dry pan or let them dry for a short while in the oven. Add tastier juiciness to your patty mixture with soy, chili sauces, olive oil, BBQ sauce, or fresh lemon juice. You can also use juicy plants such as beets, zucchini, and carrots. Mushrooms and onions are outstanding for delivering juiciness packed with umami flavor.

In the overall burger experience, a great part of the juiciness comes from the sauces and toppings. Simple mayonnaise and Sriracha or ketchup with fresh lettuce and tomatoes or avocado are safe combinations that never fail. Why stop there, though, if burgers are one of your favorite foods? There are plenty of delicious sauces and toppings to keep you interested for a long time.

A well held together patty, ready to be cooked.

It may take a while to start making truly delicious veggie burgers, but if you master these basics you’ll be on your way. Mastering the basics though is still just the beginning. There is so much you can do by playing around with ingredients and toppings. Get started now and see just how tasty veggie burgers can be. Maybe you can change someone’s mind about veggies burgers in the process too!

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Veggie Burger Atelier, Nourishing recipes for Plant based burgers.  The veggie burger of the future is here!

Using a vast arsenal of ingredients and techniques inspired by global flavors and traditions, Nourish Atelier’s Nina Olsson is here to disrupt your assumptions of what a burger can be. Veggie Burger Atelier is her one-stop guide to making the most flavorful, beautiful, and delicious meat-free burgers you’ve ever experienced.

Olsson shares her secret to the anatomy of the perfect veggie burger with considerations to texture, flavor, firmness, and juiciness. You will also learn substitutions that will let you veganize your burgers, or make them gluten-free. Veggie burgers have never been like this before! These veggie burgers are presented in incredible, full-color photography and with step-by-step instructions. Even if you don’t know your way around the kitchen, Veggie Burger Atelier will prove that you can make these veggie burgers like a pro.