Dinner

Say Hello to This Year's Veggie Burger

One very important ingredient turns "bleh" burgers into weeknight superstars.

September  9, 2019
Photo by Bobbi Lin. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine.

I feel like every time I step into a restaurant, I find through some signage or another that the team is thrilled (thrilled!) to announce that their house veggie burger will now be one of those brands of plant-based power protein patties that “bleed” when you poke them.

Uh, no thanks.

I’ll always prefer my veggie burgers as brown as soil, full of texture and flavor, and with absolutely no blood—fake or otherwise. Though I know for some those bleeding plant burgers get them through Meatless Monday, my checklist for a vegetarian option is a bit longer than just “meat replacement.” I look for a veggie burger with 1) protein, 2) texture, and 3) flavor, none of which actually need to resemble ground meat. I check all three of these boxes with one ingredient: toasted nuts.

Not only are nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds (OK, that one's actually a seed) essentially all fat and protein, which is exactly what every good veggie burger needs, but they also impart a rich, toasty flavor, as well as snaps and crunches of texture.

After a bit of R&D, I came to the conclusion that the best way to harness the power of nuts in veggie burgers (actually, these are totally vegan!) is to use both nut butter and chopped pieces of nuts in the patties. A combination of a few types of nuts turned out to yield the most exciting texture and flavor profile, but trust me when I say that if you only have, say, almonds and sunflower seeds, you’ll still be a very happy camper on veggie burger night.

The rest of the ingredient list is fairly standard when it comes to veggie burgers: black beans, mushrooms, soy sauce. Unlike most recipes for this type of patty, however, you don’t actually have to pre-cook anything, nor do you have to let them set up in the fridge—that means no boiling off grains, no waiting for flaxseed to gel, no sauteing and draining the vegetables. Ideal for weeknights when you’re looking for minimal kitchen-heating and bowl-dirtying, this may be the veggie burger of the year.

Allow me to introduce you to her.

What's your favorite veggie burger recipe? Share in the comments below.
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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Rebecca Firkser is a New York City-based food writer and cook. Her byline has appeared in number of publications, among them Food52, TASTE, Extra Crispy, Healthyish by Bon Appetit, and Tasting Table.

5 Comments

Eric K. September 9, 2019
Speaking as someone who loves meat, these were divine.
 
Eric K. September 9, 2019
I thought* (darn you, dangling modifier!)
 
Author Comment
Rebecca F. September 11, 2019
yay!!
 
Emma L. September 9, 2019
So smart—I can't wait to make these! Also, heck yes to the English muffin.
 
Author Comment
Rebecca F. September 11, 2019
Thanks, Emma! so glad you're with me on the English muffins ;)