Summertime barbecues can be hard on vegetarians. While everyone else is noshing on steak and burgers, they fill their plates with extra salad. They know what will happen if they try and put a veggie burger on the grill- either the burger will stick, break, and crumble into a mess (especially non-soy burgers), or the burger will transform into a dried out hockey puck. The problem is that veggie burgers require a different type of cooking because they do not have the animal fats to melt through them and keep them juicy. This instructable will show you how to cook a veggie burger so that even meat-eaters will ask for seconds. I used soy-based burgers as the example because, if they are cooked the way I show you, they will taste remarkably like juicy meat burgers. Non-soy burgers should also be cooked the same way (as should veggie hot dogs), since they also can dry out quickly and lose their flavour and texture. (Just remember that most non-soy burgers aren't supposed to taste like meat burgers, so they will still taste great but not meaty)
Step 1: Prep Your Tools and Garnishes.
Get out a BBQ-safe frying pan and lid. Cast iron is the best. You can get some of the BBQ smoky taste by using the pan on the grill, but you will keep in the juices at the same time.
Slice up some onions and (optional) beets thinly. The onions help to keep the burgers moist and add steam and flavour during cooking. If you don't like onions, try sliced mushrooms. Spices like garlic powder and a good barbecue sauce are also important for that authentic barbecue flavour. And cheese is just dandy too. A good vegan cheese is healthier, but vegetarians could also use a dairy cheese.
Step 2: Optional Step for Bacon-Cheese Burger Lovers.
Put the pan on the grill at high heat with a wee bit of oil and fry up those beet slices! (These ones are made with a spiralizer to give them their thin curly shape, but thin slices-the thinner the better- also work well and just need a bit longer to fry). They get crisp and dark and they become very bacon-like. So very delicious to add to the finished burger. Trust me on this.
Step 3: Now Cook Those Burgers
While the pan is on the hot grill, add a little bit more oil if necessary, and put in the burgers. Fry the burgers at a fairly high heat so they quickly brown well on one side (~2 minutes). Browning quickly is important so they don’t dry out. Flip them and turn the heat right down, (or move to a cooler spot on the grill) to let the other side brown more slowly.
Step 4: Moving Fast Now...
As soon as you flip the burgers, sprinkle them with the garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Put the onions and barbecue sauce on top. Then seal all of those in by topping with the cheese. Finally, put a lid on to keep in the heat and steam, and quickly pull the pan right off the BBQ. If you are using cast iron, it will stay hot enough to brown side two, steam it all and melt the cheese, and cook the onions a little. Don't overcook!
Step 5: Wipe Your Drooling Mouth and Prep Your Bun
Once you pull the pan off the grill, the cooking part is all done (the beets take way more time than the burger- the burger is done in less than 5 minutes). While the pan sits and the cheese melts into the burger- prep your bun, and then open the lid and look at that delicious gooey, melty cheeseburger!
Step 6: Prepare Your Tastebuds
Lovingly take your spatula, and nestle that delightful veggie burger onto the dressed bun. Add any desired final condiments and top with your crispy beet-bacon bits. Grab several napkins. You'll need them. After you taste this burger you may never go back to meat again!