Veggie burger recipes to kick off the grilling season

This past Wednesday while I was sitting outside enjoying what seemed like the first sunny day this entire year, a friend mentioned that it was the summer solstice. I immediately felt like I had some catching up to do because I had all these plans for backyard barbecues, pool parties, and beach picnics, and summer is really at its peak! The rest of the day, I made a plan for the next two months to participate in as many summer activities as possible. The first was the roast.

Our team here at LA Times Food has just put together a great package about LA barbecue. Lori Ochoa writes about Asada’s flirtation with Brescia Lopez. Bill Addison and Daniel Dorsey’s list of the best barbecue spots in Los Angeles; And Gene Harris profiles the owner of Garni Meat Market in Pasadena. For my part, I celebrate the veggie burger from my friend Lukas Folger’s reissue of his cookbook “Veggie Burgers Every Way,” originally published in 2010. This year’s second edition is prescient since more and more people I talk to are craving the burger back. vegetables with renewed interest. You could almost frame it as a pendulum swinging against the popular fake meat burgers of the past few years, but I see it as a return to form with a higher awareness of how to turn real veggies into a great burger that doesn’t try to imitate meat.

In “VBEWW,” Folger walks through how to bring out the best qualities from all kinds of veggies, beans, and soy proteins to create the best burgers that cook on the grill just as, if not better, than their fake meat vegan counterparts. The Sweet Potato and Sesame Cabbage Burger is tender yet flavorful of shredded sweet potato and cabbage, and seasoned perfectly with a dash of chili, which rounds out the delicious veggies. Its spinach and chickpea burger is also packed with protein from the chickpeas, which contribute to a firmer texture than chopped veggies, and sautéed garlic spinach is both healthy and satisfying.

If you’re a fan of pancakes and have always wanted to try a veggie mix on them, whip up Black Bean and Mushroom Burgers for your next cookout. Cooked mushrooms provide plenty of soft chew that works in tandem with black beans to give burger patties that signature surface-level crispness you want from a mashed burger patty. Stack two on top of each other with some American cheese on a bun and you’ve got yourself a great veggie-filled take on the classic 4th of July burger.

And if you’re still on the Impossible or Beyond Meat bandwagon, I have to say they’re even better when shaped into thin patties and served on a bun with all the classic fast food burger fixes, as in Genevieve Ko’s Impossible Burger With Special Spicy Sauce. Mayonnaise, sweet pickles, and ketchup bring all that snappy flavor to these crunchy burgers with lettuce, tomato, onion, and more pickle chips. It’s honestly one of the best ways to serve up any burger, whether you’re sticking with meat, trying fake meat, or serving up a veggie burger — with all its complex textures and flavors — for another dose.

Sesame sweet potato and cabbage burger

These burgers are spiced with cabbage, sweet potatoes, and chili peppers. Any variety of sweet potato will work—purple make for the most distinctive color. Serve with yogurt, or simply sprinkle with tahini, and some crisp greens like sliced ​​cucumber, baby cabbage, or lettuce.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 1 hour.

Close-up of a sweet potato burger wrapped in sesame, with fries and iced tea behind it, on a red and white checkered tablecloth

(Josh Cheadle/For The Times; Advertising designer Sidonie Luisello/For The Times)

Spinach and chickpea burger

Hearty chickpeas, fortified spinach, a hint of toasted cumin seeds and nuts, and fresh lime give this veggie burger classic appeal. As with most bean-based burgers, be sure to add the beans in two stages to create texture in the finished burger.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 1 hour.

Spinach and chickpea burger, seen from the side, on a white plate

(Josh Cheadle/For The Times; Advertising designer Sidonie Luisello/For The Times)

Black bean and mushroom burger

Treat your veggie patties as if they were beef patties and top them with your favorite burger seasoning. The smoked paprika adds a little smokiness to the pancakes, helping to raise the umami when browned really well in a skillet, but if you don’t have it, use ground cumin; It imparts the same delicious edge.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes.

Paper-wrapped veggie burger, on the edge, on a red background.

(Ben Mims/Los Angeles Times)

Impossible burger with spicy special sauce

The toppings and condiments I order here are for a classic burger with a spicy kick. You can put whatever you want on these burgers as long as you add plenty of flavour.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 20 minutes.

Burger with lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickle chips

(Maria Tuger/Los Angeles Times)

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