Every summer, my family and friends get together for a cookout and to watch fireworks. There are burgers on the grill, sodas on ice, and tons of chips.
The trouble is, I don't eat meat, and I get stuck trying to microwave something. I like Gardenburgers, but they are expensive, and the ones I find in the grocery store are tiny, so they don't fit well on a bun. I find soy burgers, like the ones from Boca, completely unpalatable.
I decided to make my own vegetarian burgers. I had some specific criteria. The burgers need to have as few ingredients as possible, I must be able to make a bunch and freeze them, and they have to taste good with pickles. I do not want a meat-like burger, just something that can be thrown on the grill.
2 medium red potatoes
6 large crimini mushrooms
1 large egg
1 tablespoon of flax seed meal
2 tablespoons of steak sauce
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
food processor or grater and knife
measuring cups and spoons
parchment or freezer paper
zippered plastic bag or freezer safe storage container
This makes about four burgers.
Step 1: Potatoes and Mushrooms
Wash the potatoes and mushrooms thoroughly. Scrub the potatoes with a stiff-bristle vegetable brush. Clean the mushrooms with a wet soft cloth or a wet paper towel.
Shred one potato and three mushrooms. Mince the remaining potato and mushrooms.
Using the cheese cloth, squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Both potatoes and mushrooms have a lot of natural moisture, and this can make the burgers fall apart.
Put the shredded and minced potatoes and mushrooms in a large mixing bowl and mix them until they are evenly distributed.
Add the egg, steak sauce, liquid smoke, and flax seed meal to the mixture, and mix together.
The egg and flax meal are to help bind the potatoes and mushrooms together. Vegans can increase the amount of flax and leave out the egg, but you will need to experiment with ratios a bit.
Liquid smoke and steak sauce are for flavor. Burgers often have Worcestershire sauce, but this has anchovies in it. Steak sauce is very similar to Worcestershire sauce in make-up, but it contains no animal products.
Step 3: Forming Patties
To get consistent patty size, use a scale to measure weight or a measuring cup for volume. I found that a 1/3 cup of the mixture made for a perfect burger for me.
Form the mixture into a ball and then mash it down on some parchment or freezer paper.
Cook they patty in a skillet with a small amount of vegetable oil for about a minute on each side. This is just to get the outer bits to bond well enough to stay together when you put it on a grill.
Step 4: Cooking
You can either grill the burger now, or put it back on the parchment or freezer paper, let it cool some, then seal it in a plastic bag or box and freeze it.
When you want a burger, just pull the patty out of the freezer ans slap it on the grill. I found that it took about the same time to cook this as it did to cook a frozen beef patty (about 10 minutes), but it didn't get grill lines the same way.
Throw a slice of cheese on the patty , let the cheese melt, then add a bun and pickles. Yum!