The Ultimate Burger

Jai

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Ok, I admit that's a clickbait title, since everyone has their own taste preferences. But I've been interested in the 'new wave' of plant-based offerings, in the Impossible & Beyond burgers. I haven't tried either, and it seems only one is available in my country, and is VERY expensive), so as I move into a new realm with my dietary changes, I'm going to do some kitchen experiments and see what I can come up with.

For my first attempt, I'm going to try something that's chick-pea based, because of the relatively high protein content and relatively neutral flavour, which will allow some flavour profile customizations.

Does anybody have a personal favourite recipe that they cook for themselves at home? And what tips can you offer ?

Since I'm also starting to each myself video production, I may even shoot my experiments and publish the process and the outcomes if anyone here is interested in that sort of thing.
 

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I've had the Beyond Burger, the supermarket frozen food version. Cooked it at home and it came out OK. I also brought them to a BBQ and i liked it better than the special beef burgers everyone else had. (yep, i tasted them).

And I've had the Impossible Burger. The first Impossible Burger I had was too salty. But the second one - version 2, I guess was better. I've only had the Impossible burger at a restaurant with all the trimmings. The same restaurant serves a black bean burger which I thought was tastier and was $4 cheaper.

At home, I usually have the Boca Vegan burger. partly because it is one of the least expensive. And at home I use a nice whole wheat bun, with Alioli, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, Kosher dill pickles. So my burger is well accompanied.

Dr. Praeger's makes a pretty healthy vegan patty. And Trader Joe's has a Masala flavored one that is pretty tasty. Both of those are a little low on the protein content compared to the Boca.

Taste -wise I think the Field Roast FieldBurger is my favorite. Its main ingredient is gluten. And for protein content, it is the highest. It is also one of the most expensive.

the frozen supermarket ones are so cheap and convenient I like to keep a box in the freezer for when I'm too lazy to cool. But I have tried making my own a few times with mixed results.

This recipe is pretty good
 
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Jai

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The talk about 'The Big Two' is very interesting, and especially so when we can see the positive reaction from meat-eaters. However, doing a quick check, a pack of two patties in my country costs $17 AUD, or the equivalent of $12 USD. That seems ridiculous to me. While they tout themselves as 'technologists', and show images of staff in lab coats and all that jazz, ultimately it's trial & error, and only a matter of time before someone cracks the recipe. The biggest hurdle (in the case of Beyond) is isolating pea protein.

I have tried numerous commercial non-meat patties before (years ago now), and was none-too impressed. Not that I expect them to replicate meat, but overall they were of an unappealing texture and a bland flavour. So I wonder how much the landscape has changed. Over here the growth in demand for plant-based alternative products has been 9%, so that's likely to drive new innovation.

After just coming back from a quick shop, it's becoming more apparent that I need to find other retail sources. I walked out with NOTHING that I was specifically looking for, so this little project today will have to be modified a bit.

There is also a 'minced meat' product that hit the shelves last year from a mob called 'Funky Fields', which I haven't yet been able to find. I'm a little dubious on that one, because I believe it is imported from Europe, and I'm not to keen on supporting the massive 'food miles' the product travels to get here.
 

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I think we already touched on this but keep in mind that there are two distinct groups. New vegans/vegetarians, those who are just experimenting, and those who are just looking for a healthy alternative to a burger want the patty to look, taste, and feel like a beef burger.

The other group just wants it to be either healthy or cheap or convenient or inexpensive (hopefully all or most of those). And to taste good but not necessarily taste like a beef burger. In fact, for some of us in the second group, there is little to no advantage to look or taste too much like a burger. I've already heard from many vegans that the fact that the Impossible Burger bleeds is a turn-off. I think most of us here in the vegan forum fall into the second group.

So first off you have to decide who your target audience is.

Targeting the second group is also sort of liberating. You have fewer restraints. But also you have a lot more competition. I know a lot of vegans who are perfectly happy with the simple grilled portabello mushroom.

I also totally agree with you on the pricing. I think Impossible has totally missed the mark on pricing. but with the economics of scale and increased competition, they may be able or have to lower prices soon. but I wouldn't count on it. Around here the Impossible Burger is in such demand that restaurants have run out of them.
 

Jai

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My target audience is very defined. It is a target of only one person......(me)

I've never really liked burgers that much in the first place, so I don't have a specific target taste in mind that intends to mimic beef. It's entirely coincidental that the 'raw' patties I now have, look a little like 'meat' though haha.

So the recipe I formulated, with no frame of reference (ie; I did not look at any existing recipes), and a split-batch, one with the primary protein source being chickpeas, and the second batch being a blend of chickpeas & TVP (something I never planned on, but just saw it in a shop this morning, so why not try it for this purpose. Ratio is around 75/25).

To both I added caramalized onion, paprika, finely chopped walnuts (fat content), tomato paste, salt, pepper & tabasco.

Of the two batches, I also split them out again, and each half has a teaspoon of Soy Sauce added. And finally I batched them off into 4 x 100gram patties

Pattie in background is Chickpea, and the image in the foreground is Chickpea + TVP. The latter two are slightly more 'plump' despite being the same weight, and hand-formed in the same manner.

I will cook these up later today. For now they are resting in the fridge, to try and pull out some of the moisture. My process introduced too much water while blending the chickpeas. Something I will know for next time.

Meatless_Burger_001.png
 

Jai

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It should be noted that my choice of chickpeas was not random, but with a goal in mind that the final cooked burger will yield a result with a 'crunch' as a crispy shell forms, and has a soft, hopefully not too 'pasty' centre, in much the same way a freshly (and properly) made Felafel is served. We shall see how that goes !
 

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Wow. As far as looks go, you got it right in one.
 

Jai

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Wow. As far as looks go, you got it right in one.
Looks are deceiving in this case. As I suspected, way too much moisture content. Much of the 'water' dissipated into the high-heat vegetable oil when I dunked them. I've never seen food color run so much before, not a hot oil burning like this !

pan_fry.jpg
 

Jai

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Alas, the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

After around 10 minutes of frying (flipping a few times, losing mass as the clock ticked), I pulled them out. The did not hold shape, and are really a barely together mass. Good to know for next attempt.

What I also took away from this, is that the addition of walnuts is GREAT. I would think about pre-boiling or soaking them to soften the nuts up next time.

The protein 'mass', regardless of whether the chickpeas or chickpeas + TVP, was gluggy and pasty. Next time will be a coarser chop of the chickpeas at the beginning stage. Maybe, just maybe, the +TVP was slightly more of a chew, but it was hard to say.

The caramlised onion, which I'll admit was on the way to being 'burnt'... played a very good role in this burger. That will remain.

And as I did one with a tsp of Soy Sauce, and one without, adding this Soy Sauce makes a noticeable positive difference to the flavour. That will also remain in future experiments.

Overall it was not what I was aiming for, but a tasty plant-based afternoon snack anyway, and a bit of fun starting a project of this nature.

ensemble.jpg
 

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I enjoy making 'burgers' from black beans. Using either canned beans or instant pot beans I just add all the good things that I love.

Usually saute, in water, some green onions (or small regular onion), garlic and celery with a bit of salt and pepper. Grate some sweet potato and or carrots, and add that and some finely chopped red pepper to the pan along with all the spices that you love (eg cumin, turmeric, garlic and onion powder, and any others you like). Remove from the heat and add some soy sauce, some ketchip or tomato paste or spag sauce if you have some sitting around.

If I am using canned beans I rinse them in warm water and that makes them much easier to mash. Once the beans have some mash happening to them you can then add the contents of the pan to them.

Also add any binder that you have.... bread crumbs, leftover rice or quinoa or 3/4 cup rolled oats pulsed in a blender. Then I just start adding all the other things I love, which can include, nutritional yeast, mustard, chow chow or sweet relish, corn, parsley or some other chopped greens, ground chia seeds (egg substitute) can also be used.

Lentils can also be substituted for the black beans.

Make the patties the size that you like then put them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in a 395 degree oven for 10 minutes per side or until they look perfect to eat. You could also cook them in a frying pan, without oil but I find the oven works best.

When/if I buy burgers I usually buy black bean.

Emma JC

Edit: You can also put the above mixture into a bread pan and make a meatloaf out of it, it is delicious especially if you add a topping of a tablespoon each of mustard and brown sugar with 2 tablespoons of ketchup. 350 degrees for 1/2 hour covered with tinfoil and then another 15 minutes without the tinfoil. Serve with mashed/gravy!! and a veggie, of course.
 
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I had a very short run of videos on youtube, and one of the recipes I made was a ground seitan burger. Those turn out pretty good, but I need to find a better way to bind the ground seitan. (More VWG and maybe some flax egg?) I do like beyond burgers, as well as impossible burgers, although I would say I prefer the former more than the later. The Heme flavor is a bit off putting to my 7ish-year vegan tongue.


Found my old channel with its whopping 2 whole videos :) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaYkj2segxlZuNIZXx7BdDA
 
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Jai

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Hi Emma. Black Bean sounds like it's worth a try. So many folks on a plant diet reach for the gluten products for much of their "meat" but there's something about that which doesn't sit well with me. I'm also wanting to avoid heavy reliance on soy products. There are so many fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes out there so the possibilities are endless.

Hi Sapphire - have you tried Aquafaba as a binding agent? My Mom told me about it, as an egg substitute. It's basically the spent water from chickpeas after cooking. Can be used wherever one might otherwise utilise egg as a binder. And what's more fascinating is that it can be whipped.

I intended to reserve the Aquafaba from my cook yesterday, but if course only remembered the SECOND i drained all the water down the sink. Oh well, next time.
 
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Hi Sapphire - have you tried Aquafaba as a binding agent? My Mom told me about it, as an egg substitute. It's basically the spent water from chickpeas after cooking. Can be used wherever one might otherwise utilise egg as a binder. And what's more fascinating is that it can be whipped.

I intended to reserve the Aquafaba from my cook yesterday, but if course only remembered the SECOND i drained all the water down the sink. Oh well, next time.
Aquafaba is a neat material, but I think flax "eggs" are a stronger binder. I may try it sometime though. Flax "egg" actually contains albumin, as well as chia pudding and of course egg whites. I am curious, can you make mayo from aquafaba like you can with flax "egg"?
 
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Lou

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This is available at all my local grocery stores. It is so good. But maybe next time I'll make my own.
976


977
 
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Emma JC

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Aquafaba is a neat material, but I think flax "eggs" are a stronger binder. I may try it sometime though. Flax "egg" actually contains albumin, as well as chia pudding and of course egg whites. I am curious, can you make mayo from aquafaba like you can with flax "egg"?
Off Topic but believe it or not you can even make meringue from aquafaba.

Emma JC
 

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