I have been searching for years for the perfect home-made vegan, veggie burger – one that not only tastes delicious, but is easy to make and doesn’t fall apart. Something that both your meat-loving and vegetarian friends would enjoy. Here is my secret.
Video: Delicious veggie burger that doesn’t fall apart
I’ve tried every combination of ingredients, but none of them has had the right qualities. All the recipes I found disintegrated the second my teeth went anywhere near them. Many of them were either too wet or too dry. None of them had the right satisfying texture. And while I believe in celebrating plants rather than using them to simulate meat, the burger is one of those rare things that’s hard to live without and yet defies translation. Replacing the patty with a block of tofu isn’t exactly the same.
A secret combination of ingredients
But here we have a recipe that really celebrates the simplicity and wonder of plant-based food without trying to be something it’s not (looking at you, wheat gluten). Just look at that vibrant green and those chunky chickpeas, sprinkled throughout. You’re going to love this vegan burger. It’s moist and full of flavour, it has a great bite and–most importantly–the ability to hold shape while cooking and eating and does not fall apart. It celebrates veggies and pulses. No egg, flax or chia required. It does everything a meat patty does but with more pizzazz.
It takes cues from the good old falafel, which uses high-protein chickpeas that are soaked overnight and not pre-cooked. In some ways those uncooked chickpeas are secret of this recipe–they have a magical ability to add bite without being crunchy. Chickpeas are hands down the one pantry staple I can’t go without. They are absurdly versatile and they cross cultural borders in a way that polyglots can only dream about.
To those chickpeas we add black and navy beans. Together these add some moisture, deepen the flavour of the patty, add protein and–in a bit of serendipity–give us a nice charred colour. Oats–which form a thick gel when heated above 40 degrees–help to bind the patty. And the whole mixture is rounded out with fresh parsley and seasonings. A sprinkle of baking soda also adds some alkalinity, which in turn helps the chickpeas gelatanise faster when they come up against heat.
We blitz it all up in a food processor, until it’s just come together into a coarse meal. About 10 seconds. We don’t want to push it too far and end up with a slop. Aim for breadcrumbs instead. It’s those different textures that make the patty so crunchy and delightful to eat.
Once the mixture hits the frypan, you’ll get a hint of why it’s so special. We spoon it into egg rings to make perfect rounds, and to compress the mixture into a cohesive whole. If you do that, you can push it around and flip it and it’ll still hold together. No warnings about handling with care necessary. This patty can take some force. Just fry it for a few minutes on each side and you’re done.
I like to serve it in a sourdough brioche bun with home-made vegan mayo (click here for our easy and creamy recipe), thickly-sliced tomato, baby gem lettuce, and red onion. Chips. A cold drink. But it’s such a versatile recipe that you can have it between two slices of bread, or in a pita for a nod to its middle-eastern heritage.
The veg burger that does not fall apart
- Egg rings
- Heavy-bottomed pan
- 1/2 cup soaked, uncooked chickpeas (don't use canned chickpeas)
- 1/4 cup cooked black beans
- 1/4 cup cooked navy beans
- 1 small onion
- 1 bunch parsley
- 2 cloves finely crushed garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Add all of the ingredients to a food processor.
- Run the food processor for about 10 seconds or until the texture of the mixture is like breadcrumbs.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on medium-high heat.
- Arrange egg rings on a heavy-bottomed pan. Grease the pan and the rings well.
- Dispense about a third of a cup of the mixture into each of the rings.
- Fry for about 3 minutes on each side.
- Serve the burger with a brioche bun, faba-ulous mayo, onion rings, tomato, lettuce and tomato sauce.