Recently the food world has been abuzz with new vegan products, and plant-based meats have been squarely in the spotlight. In the US, burgers are big business and two new companies are providing a real alternative to beef, with the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger both attracting huge attention. It’s exciting to see people coming up with the more sustainable food solutions. They’re not available in New Zealand yet, so I was inspired to have a play and come up with a satisfying creation of my own.
I got to thinking about what makes a traditional burger work and how I could summon up a pleasing eating experience using planet-friendly ingredients. Firm tofu provides a protein-rich component with a chewy texture and cooked brown rice makes a great binder, while also adding crunch when fried. Walnuts are a flavoursome source of whole-food fats including omega-3. Whole food is a key point here — it means they come in a form with their protein and fibre still attached. Mushroom is meaty and flavoursome. A little beetroot adds moisture and a meaty red colour: feel free to skip that part if it freaks you out! All together these parts make a tasty burger, one my family raves about. To make the most of the prep time I make a batch and freeze half for later use. A key point with these is to mix or process the brown rice thoroughly to encourage a sticky texture, which helps bind them.
For the body
|1 block||Firm tofu, chopped very finely, I used Bean Supreme (Main)|
|2 tsp||Smoked paprika|
|2 Tbsp||Savoury yeast (Main)|
|4 tsp||Tamari, or soy sauce|
|2 tsp||Cider vinegar|
|1 tsp||Ground black pepper|
|⅔ cup||Onions, chopped very finely|
|1 cup||Raw walnuts, chopped very finely (Main)|
|1 cup||Mushroom, finely chopped (Main)|
For the binder
|1 tsp||Ground cumin|
|½ tsp||Chilli powder, kashmiri is great|
|1 ½ cups||Cooked brown rice (Main)|
|4 Tbsp||Finely grated beetroot|
|2 Tbsp||Garlic, finely chopped|
|2 Tbsp||Tomato paste|
|½ tsp||Smoke essence, or, if unavailable, use 1 tsp smoked paprika|
|1 tsp||Vegetable stock powder, I used Massel Chicken Style, which is vegan|
|6 Tbsp||Rolled oats, ground (Main)|
|3 Tbsp||Chia seeds, ground|
For the ketchup
|1 can||Tomato puree, or 1 can chopped tomatoes, sieved|
|2 Tbsp||Coconut sugar|
- For the burger patty combine all the body ingredients in a big bowl and mix well.
- Put the binder ingredients, except the rolled oats and chia seed, in a food processor and mix until it forms a sticky paste. Add to bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the ground oats and chia and mix well again. Form into 12 even-sized balls, then slap from hand to hand to form nice even patties.
- To cook and serve, shallow fry patties in vegetable oil in a big pan on medium heat for 5 minutes each side until well browned. Top each patty with vegan cheese and place under a hot grill until melted. Serve on toasted buns with ketchup (see method below), tomato, cucumber, lettuce and avocado. I like to spread mustard on the top half of the bun to cap it all off.
- To make your own tomato ketchup, cook all ingredients in a pot on medium heat for around 7-10 minutes until thickened nicely.