Homemade veggie burgers are notorious for falling apart, especially at that crucial flipping stage. Whatever its health drawbacks, animal fat does boast the virtue of binding ground meat together when formed into patties. To get around its absence in a meatless burger, it's best to employ a combination of methods to keep the patty from crumbling. The ingredients you choose are crucial, as are the forming and the cooking methods.
Cook the grain ingredient. Grains add texture to the mix to keep the patties structurally sound.
Process beans by pureeing or mashing two-thirds of the mixture and leaving the last third only slightly mashed or processed. Starchy binders like beans help hold veggie burgers together, and keeping some beans solid prevents mushiness.
Roast and puree naturally moist vegetables like eggplant or mushrooms. These ingredients help compensate for the veggie burger's lack of animal fat.
Prepare raw vegetables like shredded carrots, husked corn or chopped zucchini. Raw vegetables provide color and additional texture.
Mix the ingredients together at ratios that result in a non-crumbly burger. Use about 3 parts fully mashed beans, 1 part lightly mashed beans, 1 part cooked grain, 1 part cooked vegetables and 1 part raw vegetables.
Blend in spoonfuls of flavoring agents such as tomato paste, mustard, soy sauce and spices, adjusted according to your taste.
Incorporate 1 part oatmeal or breadcrumbs at the last minute, so that this dry binder doesn't soak up too much moisture from the other burger ingredients.
Form the patties tightly when you shape them. Pressing them into compact shapes helps to prevent crumbling during the cooking.
Bake patties in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven on a sprayed baking sheet, about 10 minutes for the first side. Flip the burgers and cook another 10 minutes.
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Ellen Douglas has written on food, gardening, education and the arts since 1992. Douglas has worked as a staff reporter for the Lakeville Journal newspaper group. Previously, she served as a communication specialist in the nonprofit field. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut.