I have been a vegetarian for nearly ten years now. By far, my favorite meal, B.V., was a hamburger. In the A.V. period, I have eaten a huge number of veggie burgers, from Amy’s, Morningstar Farms, Quorn, Costco, etc., and for the most part, have found them to all make passable burgers, especially if you add sauteed onions, a slice of tomato, and maybe a slice of cheese. The secret was to pan fry the burger using a tablespoon or so of olive oil, to add in some of the “fat” that you’d get from real meat. Lately I have been using coconut oil instead of olive oil.
Of course, veggie burgers are somewhat pricey and they are loaded with sodium. So I had been toying with the idea of making them from scratch. I don’t have a food processor, but do have a high speed blender as well as a stand mixer. The trouble with the high speed blender is that it tended to liquify my hamburger mixture rather than make a courser mixture suitable for shaping. Perhaps it would work better if I used speed 1 instead of the pulse button. I may try that in the future.
Instead, I used the pulse button and my blendtec “twister” jar, but both times I wound up with a very wet mixture that was both unappetizing to look at, and impossible to shape. But I placed the mixtures in the fridge to see what would happen, and low and behold, I saw a glop of what looked like re-fried beans.
Undeterred, and not happy about having wasted the oatmeal, can of beans and egg, I started stirring in more oatmeal. And then more oatmeal, mixing it together with a fork. I did this until the mess had a consistency more akin to ground beef than re-fried beans, at which point I scooped out the mixture onto some wax paper, pressed it down into a nice sized patty, wrapped the patty, and continued to do this with the rest of the mixture, transferring the wrapped patties to the freezer.
The burgers froze up very nicely. The question was, how would they cook up and how would they taste? The verdict: Thumbs up! They cooked up great on the cast iron griddle and cooked up (from frozen) very well on the BBQ.
Next up, I made the recipe with a stand mixer, adding 1/3 cup of hemp seeds. I thought for sure that the mixer would turn the canned black beans to “ground beef” very easily, but I was surprised to learn just how tenacious a bean can be. Eventually, after turning the mixer up to 6 or 7, at which point the paddle was spinning so fast I thought it would take off, the mixture looked compressible. However, it still did not really break up the beans. Nevertheless, I made my 4 patties, put two in the fridge and two in the freezer. Using the mixer instead of a blender meant I used significantly less oatmeal. I believe the difference in taste was negligible, so if you find that your blender nearly liquified your mixture, take heart and keep mixing in (by fork) oatmeal until it thickens up to allow nice patties to be made. This may have the benefit of allowing you to make more patties if enough oatmeal filler is used.
So here is the recipe, which you can fool around with as much as you like since it is very forgiving:
1 can of black beans, drained.
1 medium onion, diced.
1/2 cup of rolled oats (the kind from the canister. Can be quick cooking or regular)
1 tablespoon of chili pepper (add some other seasonings like garlic salt or Mrs. Dash)
You can mash up the beans with a fork or pastry blender or just throw it all in the blender and pulse until everything is mixed. I recommend refrigerating the mixture before forming the patties. If the cooled mixture is too wet, add in more oats and stir them in until the texture permits patties to be formed. I did not try cooking the patty’s fresh, having either refrigerated them overnight or having froze them. Cook on a griddle over medium heat, for 5 minutes per side (maybe 6 minutes if frozen).
I like to cook them on a cast iron griddle, using coconut oil, but they can certainly be baked if you want to make them that way.
Quite possibly the most tasty thing you can do for a burger, whether veggie or meat, is to brown the buns slightly by placing them on a hot griddle with coconut oil. I usually do this after I’ve flipped the burgers while waiting for the cheese to melt. I bet olive oil would taste great too, but the coconut oil really imparted a great flavor and texture so I recommend trying it.
(buy whatever is least expensive. You can get a small jar of it on Amazon if you want to try it, and then buy a larger container at Costco if your local Costco carries either brand. Just make sure you are buying organic, virgin coconut oil and not the processed, deodorized stuff).
I also like to add sliced onions to the griddle at the same time I put the burgers on, turning them at the same time I turn the burgers. Because there is only so much room on the griddle, I sometimes take them off the griddle before the burgers are done, to make room for my the buns. I suppose I could use two griddles but that would be too much to clean.
Since the burgers freeze up nice, once you are comfortable with the process, you might as well make more than you need, and freeze the rest. I used a sheet of wax paper, put the patty on it, folded the wax paper and added another patty and then put the wrapped patties in a piece of Tupperware. I will consider using a foodsaver type bag in the future, but am afraid that vacuum packing would lead to squished patties.
As a side note, if you have the time, consider baking your own Kaiser rolls. I did that last night and uses chia seeds instead of poppy and it was terrific.
I also made some potato wedges to go along as a side dish. That meal is pictured above.