There are certain things I don’t make from scratch because frankly, the effort is not worth the reward: ice cream, mayo, cheese, tofu, and I NEVER, ever, make my own veg burgers [sidebar: my friend Jon Dunn says to never attempt to make your own vegan tamales, from scratch, and if he makes a statement like that, I absolutely believe him-no tamales will grace my kitchen]. I make everything else from scratch. I make SALAD DRESSING [granted it’s usually just 2-3 ingredients] for the love of God, from scratch! The veg burgers in the grocer’s freezer are pretty much delightful so why tamper with perfection? I’ll tell you why, I ran across these slider buns at Meijer on a recent shopping trip [damn you marketing marvels] and today I find myself making Heidi’s Ultimate Veggie Burgers to take to a holiday party, certainly from scratch…in fact, I just made my own bread crumbs as Meijer in all its greatness, doesn’t sell WHOLE WHEAT breadcrumbs, which I personally think is some kind of hate crime. I digress, and give you, The Ultimate Veggie Burger recipe:
- 2 1/2 cups canned garbanzos, drained and rinsed
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 onion, chopped
- Grated zest of one large lemon
- 1 cup micro sprouts, chopped (try brocolli, onion, or alfalfa sprouts – optional)
- 1 cup toasted (whole-grain) bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or clarified butter)
Combine the garbanzos, eggs, and salt in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a very thick, slightly chunky hummus. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, onion, zest, and sprouts. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a moist mixture that you can easily form into twelve 1 1/2-inch-thick patties. I err on the moist side here, because it makes for a nicely textured burger. You can always add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if need be. Conversely, a bit of water or more egg can be used to moisten the batter.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes. Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.
For the sake of time and volume (I doubled this recipe so needed 24 sliders), I baked them on a rimmed sheet pan (heavily greased) at 400 degrees until they were golden brown but not dry (check them every 5-6 minutes, and flip when one side browns). I kept these in the fridge until I was ready to serve them in the afternoon, then reheated them briefly on a grill top before serving.
Makes 12 mini burgers.