Whether you call them veggie burgers, meatless burgers, or vegan burgers, they all have the same fundamental missing ingredient: meat. Meatless burgers usually fall into two camps, those that try to mimic meat, which are generally made with tofu and or soy protein; and then there are the burgers which are a combo of grains, pulses and vegetables that are formed hopefully to patty perfection.
If you search for recipes on line, you will find every conceivable combination that can be put into a meatless burger. For the sake of this discussion I will leave the homemade burgers, and concentrate on the commercial meatless burgers on the market.
The long-time practising vegetarians; well, they are like your old Grandpa, they sit quietly, nod their heads a little, maybe chuckle a bit, and go on about their business. If you are a 9th degree raw vegan who is capable of not casting a shadow, this topic of good veggie burger, versus a bad veggie burger falls into a lower level of consciousness, of which they are unable to absorb.
So this leaves the rest of us. Vegetarians, of all sorts, Sometimearies (or Flexterians as they are officially called) or maybe it’s just not a meat burger kind of day.
After numerous demos, blog reading, tasting of products and surveying the market, I have determined why veggie burgers get a bad rap. The simple answer is that veggie burgers have a missing ingredient; it’s called meat. The entire commercial meatless burger industry has been trying to make a burger that has the texture, bite profile, juiciness and drool factor that is expected from a meat based burger; well guess what, it’s not going to happen… but we can come close.
The mimic meat, or faux meat burgers generally have the texture of an eraser, they then add fake grill marks to the frankensoy to make you think you are eating a meat burger. Most grain/pulse/vegetable burgers also come up short on texture; there is no bite or chew factor, but rather the texture of a finely ground pâté.
So what characteristics make for a great veggie burger?
• A burger that has a bite texture or profile, which is when impact occurs between
teeth and patty.
• Structural stability – firm, not too mushy and, most of all, it holds its shape.
• Flavour Balance, not one overwhelming flavour; but rather a balance of flavours,
each with its own individual taste which blends to a satisfying conclusion.
• A burger that is easily prepared on the store top or grill and achieve a golden
crust while maintaining its original form. This is patty perfection.
“Have you tried a Nutburg or Holy Mole Burger yet…..we’d love to hear from you!”
– James West,