In the Kitchen

A Vegetarian Burger Equation For Your Veggie-Loving Friends

When we feel like deviating from our standard burger order, we always enjoy experimenting with a veggie burger. From bun varieties and different patty types to myriad garnishes and sauces, the options are as endless as they are with the meat persuasion (see this list as proof). So, we’re cooking up a mix-and-match guide to all things veggie and all things burger.

The bun

For soaking up sauce, providing a place for your hands, and holding it all together, the bun is essential to any burger, veggie or otherwise.

Brioche
Whether it’s a cheeseburger, a salmon burger, or anything in between, we’re very partial to a brioche bun. We love the softness of brioche, the glossy “crust,” and the buttery flavor.

Lettuce
If you feel like skipping the extra bread, or are just in the mood for a lighter, crisper texture, may we suggest layering a couple of leaves of Boston lettuce? Unlike other varieties, the round shape and large leaf will make it easier to hold the burgers and wrap ’em up!

Sweet potato

For a veggie-forward twist on the traditional bun, try grilling or roasting slices of sweet potato until tender.

The “meat”

A veggie burger may take a tiny bit more work than the average beef patty, but the rewards are worth it.

Mushroom

We love portobello mushrooms for their hearty texture and umami flavor that’s reminiscent of a regular burger. By scooping out the gills and stuffing them with (you guessed it) cheese, portobellos make a terrific burger alternative.

Ingredients
4 portobello mushrooms
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1.5 oz shredded Cheddar
1.5 oz shredded Gruyère
1.5 oz shredded mozzarella

Instructions
Preheat oven to 425°F. Wipe portobellos clean with a damp paper towel. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard gills and stems. In a small bowl, stir together mustard and cheese mix to make filling.

Place portobellos scooped-side up on half of a baking sheet and drizzle over 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper as desired.

Transfer portobellos to oven and roast until mushrooms are tender, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon cheese filling into mushroom caps. Return baking sheet to oven and continue roasting until cheese is melted.

Quinoa

Here, a mixture of quinoa, sweet potato, and herbs creates a supremely hearty patty that’s a great canvas for all sorts of toppings.

Ingredients
1 lime
1 cup black beans
1 red onion
¼ tsp cumin
6 oz sweet potato
¼ tsp sweet paprika
¼ cup quinoa

Instructions
Prepare Ingredients.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Halve lime. Peel onion and halve. Cut ½ into small dice and thinly slice remainder. Rinse sweet potato and cut into ½-inch dice. Rinse black beans and drain.

Roast Vegetables
On a baking sheet, toss diced onion and sweet potato with spice mix, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Arrange in a single layer, transfer to oven, and roast until tender, 12–-15 minutes.

Cook Quinoa
While vegetables roast, place quinoa and ½ cup water in a small pot over high heat. Season generously with salt, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until water is evaporated and quinoa is tender, 10–-12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside.

Make burgers
In a large bowl, combine roasted sweet potato and onion with black beans. Using a potato masher or fork, gently mash until mostly smooth. Add quinoa and using your hands, mix well. Form mixture into 2 equal-sized patties, about ½-inch thick. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add burgers and sear until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Black bean

A combination of black beans, onions, and herbs are easily formed into patties and seared or grilled for a substantial, flavor-forward veggie burger.

Ingredients
1 red onion
1 chipotle pepper
1 can black beans
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions
Rinse all produce. Peel onion, halve, and cut .5 into small dice. Mince .5 of chipotle pepper. Drain black beans and rinse.

In a large bowl, using a fork, mash black beans until mostly smooth. Add breadcrumbs, onion, and as much chipotle pepper as desired. Using your hands, combine well, then divide mixture evenly and form into 2 equal patties. Transfer to a plate and place in freezer to chill until firm, 5-10 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan from bell pepper over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add burgers and sear until bottom is browned, 4-5 minutes. Flip, cover pan, and sear until warmed through and second side is browned, 4-5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.

The toppings

Roasted Peppers
To add even more veggie-ness (officially now a word) to your burger, consider adding roasted red bell peppers on top. Pick up a variety of colored bell peppers, cut them into strips, toss with olive oil, and roast them at around 300°F for an hour or two, until meltingly soft. Add a few hot peppers to the mix to heighten the character of the dish. When you pair these peppers with burgers, consider combining them with a blue cheese spread or garlic confit for a savory result.

Sriracha Mayo
For a hit of spicy creaminess, combine as much Sriracha and mayonnaise as you like, stir until combined, and drizzle over your burger masterpiece.

Tzatziki
We can never get enough of the cooling Greek cucumber-yogurt sauce called tzatziki, and it turns out, it’s a breeze to make! For presentation’s sake, use well-drained full-fat yogurt and finely grated cucumber, in addition to the garlic and some dried or fresh mint, so that the spread doesn’t slide off the bun. To stay with the Mediterranean vibe, put fresh tomatoes and onions on your burger and top the pile off with feta.

Caramelized onions
A gourmet burger joint standby, caramelized onions are a popular pairing for a reason. They’ll add a lovely richness to your veggie burger. Make caramelized onions by slowly sautéing onions in oil or butter, stirring infrequently, for at least an hour. Salt well once they’re golden and jam-like.

Love experimenting in the kitchen? Try Plated!

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