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!]
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.
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.
Springtime Veggie Burgers
adapted from Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook
These burgers really do evoke spring, with their multicolored flecks of vegetable matter, garden flavors and lighter texture. They’re perfect baked, as I made them, but would be great on the grill as well.
1 cup (240 ml) cooked, drained beans (I used chickpeas–but black beans, kidney beans, navy beans or pinto beans would be wonderful in these)
1 cup (240 ml) chopped mixed vegetables (I used carrot, celery, red pepper and tomato) or vegetable pulp from a juicer
1 small onion, cut into chunks
1/2 cup (120 ml) raw sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp (15 ml) raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Bragg’s, tamari or soy sauce
1/2 tsp (5 ml) dried dill weed
1/2 tsp (5 ml) dried basil
1/2 tsp (5 ml) dried tarragon
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1 tsp (5 ml) finely ground flax seeds
1/4-1/2 cup (60 ml-120 ml) flour (I used chickpea, but any mild-flavored flour would do; and finely ground breadcrumbs would be great in these)
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
Place everything except the flour in the bowl of a food processor and blend until almost smooth and only small flecks of vegetables remain (I like my burgers fairly homogenous; if you prefer chunkier burgers, process a bit less). Sprinkle with 1/4 cup (60 ml) flour to start, and pulse to combine; check the texture of the mixture with your hands. It should be very moist but still hold together. If the mixture is too wet, add more flour until desired consistency is reached.
Shape the mixture into 6-8 burgers, depending on how big you’d like them. Flatten each burger to 1/2 inch (2.5 cm) thickness and place on the cookie sheet, spacing evenly (these won’t spread as they bake).
Bake about 15 minutes on one side, then flip and bake another 10-15 minutes on the other side, until burgers are lightly browned. These may also be cooked on a flat grill; spray with olive oil spray and grill 8-10 minutes on one side, then flip and grill another 5-8 minutes on the other side.
Serve in buns with all the accoutrements, roll into wraps with tortillas or leafy greens, or serve with flatbreads. Makes 3-6 servings. May be frozen.
© Diet, Dessert and Dogs (http://dietdessertndogs.com)
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Other Burgers and Patties on DDD:
© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs