A well-made veggie burger can very easily compete with a traditional burger. Savory and flavorful, when done right these umami-packed, vegetable-loaded patties hit the spot. Sadly, most homemade veggie burgers don't fit that bill. Actually, restaurant veggie burgers usually don't either. (And don't even get us started on the bland store-bought options.)
Most veggie burgers are either flavorless, pasty, or worst of all, they fall apart into one big pile of mush. But it doesn't have to be that way. Make veggie burgers at home, with the tips and recipes we have for you below, and you'll see just how great these nutrient-dense patties can be. Bonus, they're way healthier than hamburgers are too.
1. Cook the veggies first. Yes, we know you're going to cook the patty on the grill, pan or oven, but that doesn't mean you don't have to cook the vegetables before adding them to your burger. Most vegetables contain a lot of water (which is released during coking) and too much water can signal the death of a great veggie burger.
2. Don't forget to use a good binder. This is what's going to hold it all together. It doesn't have to be an egg (though those work great). Ground flax seeds, oats or even beans can do the trick.
3. Let it rest. Some recipes call for letting the veggie mixture rest in the fridge before shaping into patties, and some ask that you let the shaped patties rest for a few minutes before cooking. Never skip this step. It's written for a reason. Letting the burgers rest helps the dry ingredients better incorporate with the wet ones, creating a more homogenized burger that'll stick together.
4. Use flavor-boosting vegetables and add-ins. Sure, making a veggie burger that doesn't fall apart is super important, but it's also crucial that the patty taste good. Don't forget to use aromatic veggies like onions and garlic, as well as glutamate-rich ingredients like mushrooms. And salt. Never forget the salt.
5. Cook the grains first.This is a rookie mistake, and don't let it happen to you. There's no way grains are going to cook on their own when grilling up a burger. But, do be sure to add grains. They help balance out the burger.
6. Don't make a mixture that's too wet. Or too dry. You want the texture to be moist to the touch, but not to stick to your hands when forming the patties.
7. Use a combination of ingredients. To get a perfect veggie burger you need a mixture of dry, wet, sticky and flavorful ingredients. Dry ingredients include flour, oatmeal and nuts. Wet ingredients include veggies and legumes. And sticky ingredients include legumes and flours and oatmeal that get sticky when wet. A good ratio of these three types of ingredients is what will keep your burger together and tasty.
Now that you know the basic guidelines, go on and try some of these awesome burger recipes.
Related on HuffPost: