The Best Damn Veggie Burgers

17 March, 2024 0 comments Leave a comment

adapted from Melissa Clark's Ultimate Veggie Burger

8 oz tofu, drained and patted dry
1 can kidney beans
8 ounces of cremini mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
¾ cup of unsalted cashews, toasted
1/3 cup panko
3 ounces of cheese, grated
3 eggs
2 tablespoons Kewpie or other mayo
3 garlic cloves, minced (enough to make 2 tablespoons)
½ cup cooked rice
2 teaspoons of harissa
1 tablespoon Umami Seasoning
Black pepper
2 carrots
1 small beet
kale leaves & stems (chiffonade enough to make 1 ½ cups to 2 cups loosely packed)oil or ghee or bacon fat
Paring knife
Chef’s knife
Food processor (not necessary, but this will speed up the process immensely)
Sheet pans
Frying pan
Large mixing bowl

Note: This recipe requires a fair bit of prep, but none of it is hard. The end result - tasty, nuanced flavor with a toothsome texture - is absolutely worth it. Keep this in mind when you’re pulsing the ingredients in the food processor. You want texture, but you also want the burgers to cohere. Serve on a butter-toasted burger bun and with a light green salad. We like ketchup on ours, but you wouldn’t go wrong if you mixed up some harissa and mayo.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut tofu into 1 ½ inch cubes and brush with oil.  Drain and rinse beans. Shake out excess water. Spread the tofu on one sheet and the beans on the other. Pop into the oven. Roast until the beans split and the tofu turns light brown. Don’t worry if the tofu and beans are a little hard. It’ll all be fine.

Halve and slice the mushrooms.

Heat a frying pan to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook the garlic, stirring constantly for 30 seconds, then add the mushrooms. Sprinkle the tablespoon of Umami Seasoning over the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have released their water and that water is cooked off. The mushrooms will reduce to about half their original volume.

Put the mushrooms into the food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.

Put the cashews into the food processor and grind til coarser than sand, but finer than pebbles (sorry, I’m reaching here!). Just don’t make cashew butter. If you toasted the cashews for this purpose, make sure they’re cool before you grind them. Add them to the mixing bowl with the mushrooms.

Finely chop the carrots and beet. The pieces should be about ¼ inch. Add them to the frying pan where you cooked the mushrooms with a few teaspoons of oil, a teaspoon of black pepper, and the harissa. Cook them at medium heat until slightly softer, then add the kale. Cook until the kale is wilted. Put the vegetables into the food processor and pulse until the vegetables are a uniform(ish) texture. Add to the mixing bowl.

Put the beans into the food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground. Add to the mixing bowl. Do the same with the tofu.

Add the eggs, panko, cheese, rice, and mayo. Mix with your hands until uniform. Pat into large burgers and cook in a large, well-oiled cast iron skillet or frying pan until deeply brown on one side, then flip.

Serve with ketchup and sliced tomato.

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