Vegetarian Veggie Burgers that are Made from Vegetables

[NB: Just a reminder that you have eight chances to win a free copy of my new cookbook, Sweet Freedom, in the next post!]

veggieburgertop

I was around 12 when my friends and I first began to find ourselves interested in boys as romantic partners, and not simply background annoyances during art class.  (Yes, twelve is ancient by today’s standards!)

During that year at school, we girls were all given a little blue pamphlet (because pink would have been so conventional, and this was a progressive publication, you see) with a title something like, “For the Young Lady.”  It was sponsored by Modess sanitary napkins (who knew it was pronounced “Mo-DESS”?)–and it was filled with platitudes about “what attracts a boy.”

Each page offered a different imperative, such as, “Boys like a girl who sits with her ankles crossed” and “Attractive girls always chew with their mouths closed.”  But the decrees that made the strongest impression on me all concerned comportment–how to present yourself in the unspoken quest for a male: “Always walk with your head high and your shoulders back,” or “Boys like girls who stride from the hips, not the waist” (still don’t get that one), or “Boys appreciate girls who laugh at their jokes.”

I spent many hours sequestered in my bedroom, eyes fixed on my contorted image in the mirror as I endeavored to perfect a near-military posture, shoulders pinned stiffly back, hips thrust forward and derriere in the air in an exaggerated arch (the origin of my current lumbar problems, perhaps?), laughing at imagined quips in a (vain) attempt to imitate the dulcet giggle of Serena (the more beguiling cousin on Bewitched). Unfortunately, I ended up looking like that farmer whose body is overtaken by aliens in Men in Black.

For some time after I studied that booklet, I worried that I was perhaps too much “myself,” and that was the reason why my friends all had beaux while I stayed home Saturday nights watching SNL (wait a sec–I still stay home Saturday nights watching SNL!).  But I just couldn’t bring myself to “laugh at their jokes” if the jokes weren’t funny.  Or to pretend I didn’t know the Calculus answer when I did.  Or to fuss over his shiny red sportscar when really, isn’t it just a big metal box that gets you where you want to go?

As I got older, I began to believe that “being myself”–despite any drawbacks to my social life–was just easier than trying to be someone else.  I’m with Mark Twain on this one, who once remarked that you should always tell the truth; “that way, you don’t have to remember anything.”

Fittingly, I’ve come to feel the same way about foods: comestibles should be just exactly what they are, rather than aspire to be a lesser imitation of something else.  Partly for that reason, I’ve often resisted making veggie “burgers” (there are but two such recipes on this entire blog).  It’s not that I don’t like a good, juicy veggie burger as much as the next guy (I tend to order burgers–and my beloved sweet potato fries–almost every time I go to a particular popular resto here in Toronto).  It’s just that, for the most part, veggie burger recipes I’ve encountered in the past are often a thinly veiled attempt to impersonate a similar burger of the animal variety.

I just don’t see the point in using one food (for example, soy) to stand in for another food.  If I wanted meat, I’d eat meat.  I have no illusions that my tofu is going to taste like anything other than tofu–though that’s not to say it won’t be well-marinated, savory, intensely flavored tofu.

veggieburgerplate

So if you’re looking for “meaty” burgers, I’m guessing these may not appeal to you; these are really and truly veggie burgers.  They are not brown or pink like meat (their golden hue clearly suggests a more herbaceous origin).  They are not dense and sinewy.  They proudly pronounce their contents with clear flecks of chopped veggies.  There is simply no mistaking that this is a vegetarian food.  Eat these, and you are unequivocally entering a “no-meat” zone.

I got this recipe from my major ACD reference, The Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook.  At first, I was skeptical that anything created specifically to help eradicate candida could be flavorsome.  In the end, though, I actually loved these.  With a hearty slather of avocado mayonnaise, they were the a perfect segue to spring.  (These would also be smashing with some tahini-miso sauce.)

In typical fashion, the HH dismissed the patties as “too veggie” and continued reading his newspaper.  But after I set down my plate, smacked my lips a few times and licked my fingers, he peered over the Business section and couldn’t resist asking for a bite.

“Not bad at all,” was the initial verdict.   Pause.  “Hmm, those are pretty good.”

I kept eating.

About halfway through the meal, he commented, “You know, those were great.  They taste like something you’d get at one of those expensive health food restaurants.”

I kept chewing.

A few minutes later, he added, “You know, I’d eat one of those.”

Oh, really? What a surprise!

“Would you like me to heat one up for you?”  I asked.

“Sure, that would be great,” he said.  Then he scarfed it down in less time than it takes to push back your shoulders, thrust out your hips, and giggle oh-so-fetchingly.

Well, if you’ve read this blog for any time at all, you know that this scenario plays itself out fairly frequently in the DDD household; change the recipe, but the gist of the exchange is the same.  Why, then, won’t the HH simply learn his lesson and trust me that he’s going to like what I cook, vegan or not? No idea.  Guys are still a mystery to me, blue pamphlet or no blue pamphlet.  But at least the HH is consistently the HH–his true, authentic self.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

veggieburgerclose

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Other Burgers and Patties on DDD:

© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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Comments

  1. I love the sound of this recipe. Veggie burgers never have enough veggies in them! (I guess they really shouldn’t call them “veggie” burgers” then, huh?)

    You comment about looking like the farmer from MIB made me laugh. I’m glad you realized that being yourself is better than pretending to be someone that you are not. Being ourselves is what makes us special and unique! If someone gave me a pamphlet like that today I would chuck it at them :)

  2. These look fantastic!! I’ve never understood the veggie burger that “tastes” like meat… bleh!

  3. These sound wonderful. In fact, they sound a lot like what we make around here and call “bean burgers.” My son likes to make these and serve them with sweet potato fries. (He’d never make kale, which is just about my favorite veggie.) I’m going to give him your recipe and see if he’ll make dinner!

    Great story about the tips from MoDESS. How does one stride from the hips? Does anyone know? Not that I WANT to stride from the hips, just curious.

  4. I’m really into making burgers right now so I love this recipe and am saving it!

    It’s interesting to hear about the kind of pamphlet they gave you! And your image of the MIB alien made me laugh.

  5. I am so with you! I get frustrated by mock-meat burgers. Bring on the veggies! Bookmarked, thanks.

  6. These look great. They remind me of Heidi Swanson’s garbanzo burgers, but with the veggies turned up a notch :). I think I will try them with sprouted garbanzos and almond flour instead of a grain flour. Lovely. Did you wrap the burger in the collards and what is on top of that lovely thing?

  7. Arielle says:

    This was such a wonderful story! Your writing is probably my favourite in the blog-o-sphere. :) I normally ignore all “burger” type recipes for the same reason as you – I just don’t want meat, or something that imitates it. However, I did used to eat THE most heavenly “burger” in the world when I lived in Prague. It was made from couscous and even had some beet colouring to make it seem meaty (unnecessary, but impressive). I used to scarf those things down like there was no tomorrow. They were also really popular with omnivore friends, who were oh-so-surprised that one could eat so well as a veggie. ;)
    Oh, but my point was that I want to try these! Veggies smooshed together and baked – mmmmr.

  8. I love that these are baked- I’ve had nightmares of crumbly falling apart veggie burgers on the grill and in a skillet… thanks for sharing this!

  9. These sound delicious!!! I love how there is no soy/processed crap in these, just veggie yumminess =)

  10. Those sound like the perfect veggie burgers! And I bet they’d work well with okara too, which is great since I’m always on the lookout for new ways to use it. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  11. Courtney says:

    OMG–are you kidding me?! Your school actually gave girls books on what to do to attract boys?! That is…I don’t know…so wrong! Wow!

    Those burgers look great–yum. I love that they can be baked and not grilled or pan fried…baking is the way to go :o)

    Courtney

  12. Woo hoo! I LOVE veggie burgers with actual veggies!!! These sound and look incredible! I can’t wait to try them!

    And lol, that booklet obviously should have just said the way to HH’s heart is through his stomach (sadly my man won’t eat anything veggie. He’ll try it, tell me he understands why I like it but there’s just something too vegetarian about it, sigh).

  13. I think I have been making vegie burgers so long that I don’t expect (or want) them to imitate meat – although I still find the name Shamburger amusing. Now these burgers make me think I could find the ACD rather delicious!

  14. oh my gosh, Ricki – these are absolutely glorious looking (and sounding)! i love that they’re packed with sunflower & pumpkin seeds, too! bring on the awesome! mmmmmmmmmmm!

  15. Hi Ricki, These veggie burgers look great – I agree with you that we shouldn’t be spending our time trying to make beautiful vegetables look and taste like animal – its all wrong to me – its like trying to justify why I am a vegan!!
    But I do have friends (and a husband) who likes meat analogues.

    I can’t wait to try these burgers – they look awesome!!
    Have a great weekend.
    xg

  16. These burgers look great! I love veggies, so I don’t need my veggie burgers to taste like beef. I think I may have to make them for dinner tonight!

  17. If the burgers are as great as this post is, they’ll be a winner! =) Can’t wait to try them. Thanks!!

  18. I’m with you on the veggie burger thing… I do not wish to eat meat like burgers! I love the yummy vegan goodness!

  19. These burgers were great! The family loved them. I tried them with your tahini-miso sauce. It was delicious. Made a few extra burgers to freeze for another quick meal. Thanks!

  20. Hi Ricki,

    I laughed really hard when I read about the Modess pads advice. Remember those, but not the advice. Geez…

    Glad HH liked the burgers. They look great to me!

  21. I love love love veggie tasting veggie burgers and I’m always looking for a new recipe. Consider this one added to my to make list!

  22. I like the sounds of these! And including pumpkin and sunflower seeds is a fine idea!

  23. Men – when will they learn?? Looks wonderful :-).

  24. These look terrific! I’ve been on the market for a new veggie burger template, and this is totally a contender!

    NOM.

  25. Thank you for this recipe! I share your sentiments about faux meat and often say the same thing – if I wanted meat I’d eat meat. And I’m often disappointed when the veggie burgers are all grains and no veggies. So thank you – these are my perfect veggie burger. They’ll be on my grill soon.

  26. those look great!!

  27. What can I say? Bookmarked!

  28. Just back from my trip and catching up on blogs. These look fantastic Ricki. Bookmarking to try next week. I have a new mouth in my life that I get to feed and he has been so open to it all. Fun to see someone’s reactions to all these new foods and to see how slowly his patterns are changing. I think he’d love these.

  29. I loved this post! I’m picturing that little pamphlet…no wonder we women have so many issues, when we’re given that sort of tripe to make sense of things!
    I have everything I need to make these! Saturday nights are now officially ‘burger’ nights chez nous – I will make these this Saturday!

  30. Thanks so much for this recipe! I’m a reformed vegetarian, but I still read vegan and veggie blogs because I LOVE recipes like this. I never understood why I could only get a tofu burger at burger places when burgers made from veggies or beans are so good!

  31. hehe–i, too, would eat one of those :) can you heat one up for me??

  32. I just made these today and they are FABULOUS!! The sweetness of the vegetables was so great with all of the herbs (I substituted fresh for the dried.) No exaggeration at all- I can honestly say these are the best veggie burgers I’ve ever made.

  33. Quick question: I’ve got everything for these except the ground flax seeds. Do you think they’ll hold up without? What are your thoughts on using spelt flour?

  34. Hi!
    I’m excited to try these. How hot do I heat the oven?

    Thanks,

    Susan

  35. Hi Susan,

    Thanks so much! The oven temp should be 375F or 190C. :)

  36. Some of your recipes sound great and I like your stand against soy, however, you must not understand that soy sauce is “soy” and so is miso!! Also, has a lot of carmel color in it and for those so-o-o many gluten sensitive folks out there, there is gluten in carmel color, so I would have to substitute. Also, grilled tofu in some of your recipes is clearly soy. Soy is processed with Ethonal and is certainly not healthy.

  37. This is my first visit to your site. I can only eat gluten-free and have given up trying to find a store-bought veggie pattie.

    I’m not sure if you’re gluten-free, but I’m happy to find this recipe. I’ve been thwarted looking for a GF veggie burger without mushrooms (eww!) and with no breadcrumbs or fillers – just lots of veggies.

    Just trying to eat more veggies, more beans etc. to lower my cholesterol. Thank you for the recipe.

  38. I am a vegetarian and I have just found out I have osteopina. I can’t eat any soy products as they make me very ill. What foods should I now be eating.

  39. I’m headed into the kitchen to make these right now. Thanks so much!

  40. I made these last night, with mayucomo (sp?) beans, carrot, half a portobello, tomato pulp, corn, cilantro, and tons of spices. Tasted delicious – but is the texture supposed to remain soft and mushy in the center? I had to add way more flour than you suggested to absorb all the liquid from the freshly cooked beans and everything else. They held together in a messy bun/guac/lettuce scenario – but seemed more like very firm refried beans in the center. Not a bad thing, but just wondered if they were supposed to get more firm on the inside.

  41. Miranda,
    Thanks so much for your comment! Glad you enjoyed the burgers. To answer your question, in a word, yes. I wouldn’t call the center “mushy,” but veggie burgers are definitely much more “moist” and soft in the middle than any of the meat-based burgers I’ve ever eaten. It took a little getting used to for me at the beginning, but now I don’t even think about it. If you prefer a dryer burger, I’d suggest two things: 1)bake instead of fry (for some reason that dried out the insides more); and 2) make a day ahead, refrigerate, and reheat the next day. Once the burgers are stored for a day or two in the fridge, they tend to firm up as well. Hope this helps!

  42. Mmmm, had these for dinner last night with homemade mayo and cilantro pesto slathered on top. They were so nice…I make my own bean burgers, but it’s so nice see the incorporation of more veggies into them. (I never eat the ones in a package because they usually have soy, which I can’t have.)

    And though I *do* eat meat, I certainly enjoy a delicious veggie burger fairly frequently. There’s just something a little creepy about meat analogues (that’s saying something, considering that I grew up eating them…eek!).

    I do love my plain jane bean burgers, but it’s so nice to have yet another burger recipe in my box o’ tricks, especially one packed with delicious vegetables.

  43. Thanks a lot for the recipe! I just bought a food processor today and this recipe is the first that I’ve tried with it! And a keeper!! Thank you for sharing, at last a veggie burger with actual veggies!! :)

  44. These are awesome ive made them twice now, different consistencies but bhoth time they were great! I always come to your site (or Ebook) when Im in need of a good recipe. Thanks for all you do!

  45. I’m so excited to try these! I’ve never seen a veggie burger that looked so delicious! But how did you make the avocado mayonnaise?

  46. These look really great! I’ve missed buying veggie burgers because most of them are not gluten free, so I can’t wait to make these!

  47. This recipe was so delicious! Thank you

  48. Hi I’m new to candida and would love to know if nutritional yeast in recipes will make candida worse? In other words is al yeast the same?
    Thank you

    • Hi MJ,
      It depends who you ask. ;) Because nutritional yeast is, indeed, a yeast (albeit not a living one), most professionals who treat yeast recommend avoiding it, at least at the beginning. I’d recommend asking your own health care practitioner whether s/he allows it on the diet–everyone is different and what works for me might not work for you!

  49. Debi Rockwell says:

    I love this recipe! I’ve made it with several substitutions and it works well each time. The vegetarians AND those that eat meat in our family ALL like them. YAY!!!!
    Thanks for posting :)

    • Thanks so much, Debi–so glad to hear that! I love it too. What were some of the changes you made? I’d love a little variation with this one sometimes! :)

  50. Looks fantastic! I now know what to do with the pulp from juicing. Just need to pick up some sunflower seeds and we can make these. Keep the great candida-friendly recipes coming. We love them :)

  51. I really wanted to make this work. I’m not a big fan of veggie burgers since the ones I’ve gotten in the store weren’t very good. Well, these were far worse. Couldn’t get the consistency right. Came out more like a thick hummus than anything else. I abandoned the plan of baking them since they would just spread out on the baking sheet and end up as a giant… Thing. So on the griddle they went. I’m having hummus pancakes for dinner tonight. Guess I’ll continue my search elsewhere.

    • Sorry they didn’t work for you, Geno. I’ve never had that problem when I make them. But it would make sense to ask the recipe creator if she’s ever encountered this problem before (I list the original source in the recipe).

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