Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Couple of Vegan Burgers

A vegan burger is a great thing, a quick thing, and, at times, the only thing that can quickly satisfy hunger when it's meal time and there's nothing else ready to eat.

When you do have time to cook, though, there are some amazing recipes that really make it something special. One of the classic "burger" sandwiches involve portobello mushrooms. These big 'shrooms have a naturally chewy texture and can be plain old grilled, or made fancy like I did recently.

The picture above is Roasted Portobellos from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's Veganomicon, my favorite cookbook. Anyone can grill a portobello sprayed with oil and dusted with salt and pepper, but this recipe involves a wonderful marinade the 'shrooms stay seated in while roasting in the oven.

Note the Veganaise on the buns. Besides adding a nice touch, it also provides a layer of fat that protects the bun from sogginess that could result from the juicy, marinated 'shrooms.

In this version I added some lettuce and red onion, but another nice touch is wasabi mustard that makes a nice compliment to the soy sauce flavor in the marinade.

One drawback I noticed in preparing this recipe is that the portobellos shrunk a little when roasting to make for a smallish "burger", albeit one still full of flavor.

If you had some bland store-bought burger, you could add a roasted protobello to upgrade it into something really special.

Of course, you don't have to buy some pre-fab burger by Boca, Amy's or one of the other companies who put frozen veggie burgers in a box. After all, they're expensive and usually don't have just what you want in a burger.

By making it yourself ahead of time, you get a burger that's cheap, delicious, and you can make it taste exactly how you like it.

Here are some that I made recently.

They are made from okara, the remnants from soybeans after you've squeezed out the soy milk from them. They have kind of a mashed potato consistency. See my blog list for "Okara Mountain", a website dedicated to finding uses for the okara left after making soy milk.

Mashed or blended white beans would be even better than okara because they would contain their full nutrient base whereas okara has had some of it steeped out for soy milk.

I usually grate some carrots and other veggies into the okara, but a recent juicing of carrots, apples, and celery left pulp in my juicer very similar in texture to okara.

I mixed by hand (and I mean literally squeezing it between my fingers for a couple of minutes) 1 cup of okara, 1 cup of carrot, apple, and celery mush, 1 cup of gluten flour, 3/4 cup of bread crumbs, and 2.5 t of Tony Chacherie's Creole Seasoning. After forming patties I baked them at 375F for 25 minutes, flipping them after 15 minutes.

I used to include more flour or oats instead of bread crumbs in the mix and then simply dipped to coat them in bread crumbs, but I like the texture better this way.

With less seasoning in the okara burgers, those roasted portobellos would be a great way to combine them into Deluxe Portobello Okara Burgers.


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