Best Homemade Veggie Burgers

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Happy New Year! And welcome back to Spiced Anecdotes for another great year for tips, advice and interesting cooking stories. I do hope to continue to demystify this whole cooking process for you!
I’ve had a great time over the holidays thinking about topics for upcoming blog posts and I’ve planned plenty of interesting things. I’ve got posts coming up about sharing food with friends, about olives and how to preserve your own olives (thanks to a friend who is writing me a guest post) as well as more budget cooking hints and tips to save you cash and some more restaurant reviews are coming your way too. And later in the year I’m going to explore why onion and garlic are the starting point in just about every dish from every cuisine!
It’s going to be a busy year and I hope you find my hints and tips useful and that you’re trying out a few of the recipes I’ve used too. I’d really love to hear about what you’re doing so please leave me some comments at the end of any and all of my posts that you enjoy or send me an email about what you’ve been up to in the kitchen. I’m always on the lookout for reader requests as well so I can help you to find answers about your burning desires or just things you’ve always been curious about (like the onion and garlic question for me).

While it’s great to talk about my plans for the year, how about we actually get into some of these new topics? I’m starting with veggie burgers as during the holidays I’ve been hitting the cookbooks at my mums place (she has almost an entire library of cookbooks) and I’ve been searching for new recipes and some really good vegetarian food so that I can finally find my own satisfying, tasty and awesome veggie patties come burger night at my place.

And what did I find? Well…
And some more
I just want a really yummy veggie burger!
That’s all I’m after!
Not something that is a meat replacement product, and not just your average boring lentil patty! Argh!
But do you think I can find such a thing?
I know what I want: to replicate the Garden Goodness burger from Grill’d (or something like it).

A Grill’d Garden Goodness burger – yes its half eaten
but I love them so much I forgot to take the photo when I started!
It’s a lovely light green coloured pattie that tastes great and feels like it’s good for me and must contain a combination of potatoes and peas (well, that’s my best guess based on the feel, taste and colour of the patty). My only worry is that seeing as the Grill’d version is commercially made, who knows what they put in it!
I’ve not come across the recipe that gets me anything the same as the one from Grill’d but I’ve found some really interesting recipes out there and some of them are pretty tasty. Some of them are downright disasters, others are okay, some are too wet, and others are just not what I want.
Who knew it would be so hard to get something so simple?
You see, the search has been relentless, and I’ve done the search for you so you don’t have to go through what I went through. Take a look at what I’ve found:
Pumpkin patties

I teamed my pumpkin patties with some honey mustard sauce.

These pumpkin patties were actually one of the better ones I’ve found. My tip though, don’t mash the chickpeas with a fork, cause in my experience the ones out of the can aren’t soft enough to mash. Just put them in a blender or food processor and blitz them, but don’t blitz for too long as you’ll just have mush. These burgers were really tasty and one of my favourites (in fact i’m having them again for dinner this week). Teaming the veggie pattie with haloumi and a nice bit of yoghurt based sauce (here I turned Greek yoghurt, a drizzle of honey and teaspoon of mustard into honey mustard sauce) is a really great idea and I think it makes the patties an even better and more satisfying meal.

Jamie Oliver’s Happy Cow Burgers
I’ve never found these patties to be successful. They are just too soft because when you put them in the bun and bite they just squash and leak out the side. I’d suggest to add an extra egg, but I tried this and it didn’t help. I’d show you what I mean except I never take photos of them – sorry! I have since read that when making veggie patties you need to let them firm up in the fridge or freezer for half an hour before you cook them. I’d better try this with these burgers next time.

Olive and Basil Lentil patties
I found this recipe in a 2003 version of a Weight Watchers cookbook called ‘Everyday Favourites’. It is a recipe where everything gets thrown in the blender and then you shape the patties. It actually worked and they tasted okay, but they weren’t a favourite for me. I’m not a huge fan of olives so that’s probably why I didn’t repeat this recipe more than the first time. As well as that the recipe uses a tin of brown lentils which I find are unusual in lentil patties; aren’t you supposed to use red lentils?

Green pea patties
These ones hit the green requirement, but were actually a little off-putting. The bright green in the peas changes to a dull unappetising green if you cook them for too long, so look out for that and adjust the cooking times – no matter what the recipe says. Definitely tweak this recipe for your own taste.

Chickpea and carrot patties

I’m really excited about these, and these were the patties that were inspiration for this post. The recipe says to use a tin of chickpeas, and as I said above, the tinned chickpeas just aren’t soft enough to mush so my first attempt was very, very disappointing. So, what I did instead, I threw the chickpeas and the carrots with some spices and a tiny amount of water (just enough so it wouldn’t stick) into the pressure cooker for 10 minutes. I then mashed the very soft mix when it was still hot and put the mix in a bowl in the freezer to cool them down fast. After 10-15 minutes I added eggs and breadcrumbs and made them into the desired patties and they cooked in the pan beautifully!

Caribbean split pea burgers

Just as I used the pressure cooker for the chickpea and carrot patties, I also use the pressure cooker for this recipe. I throw everything into the pressure cooker so that the split peas are absorbing flavour while cooking. The split peas don’t have much of a flavour themselves so its good to cook them, or even dried beans and lentil, with the flavours in the stock. I also throw in whatever extra vegetables I have around the house, as you can see by the addition of corn and zucchini here.

An extra tip:
I have found that cooking veggie patties is best done while shallow frying. By that I mean you need to have completely covered the bottom of the pan in oil, and its best if the oil is hot or almost hot when you put the patties in. If you throw the patties into cold oil the breadcrumbs in the recipe just suck up the grease and you dont get nice veggie patties. A few minutes on each side is enough, just to brown them and make sure any egg is cooked, and they are done. Always drain them on a few sheets of paper towel before transferring to your burger bun or plate for a healthier pattie.

Good luck with your patties. Hopefully you’ll find a few good ones out there, or take a punt on one of these.

Until next time!

Want more Spiced Anecdotes? Check out these earlier posts!

This time one year ago:
Jan 1st 2014 – Best Bits of 2013
Jan 6th 2014 – I Got Burnt: Lessons for Everyone in the Kitchen
Jan 13th 2014 – I Can’t Be Bothered!

This time two years ago: 
Jan 9th 2013 – The Raisin Toast Dare
Jan 10th 2013 – Midnight Gingerbread Men & New Year, New Shocker
Jan 11th 2013 – The Wonderful World of Budget Cooking
Jan 12th 2013 – The Pasta Disaster 
Jan 13th 2013 – Variety with the Good Ol’ Potato  & What Do I Do with Oranges?

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