Since your weather might be even better than ours, here’s a fantastic burger for inside or outside cooking. This is that rare burger: one that not only tastes great and has an amazing texture, but holds together just like a burger should. It’s mighty in flavor, and in size. Our buns tend to be on the large size and I hate to get bun with no burger, but this could be made into 8 instead of 6 depending on the size of your burger buns. The recipe is from American Vegan Kitchen and uses the spice blend from that book. The blend has all kinds of good stuff: cumin, coriander, cayenne, parsley, smoked paprika and more. But any spice blend that you like can be used.
1 1/3 cups hot water
1 cup texturized vegetable protein granules
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon All-American Spice Blend, or other spice blend
2 teaspoons instant tapioca
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 burger buns
Toppings: lettuce, tomato slices, pickles, condiments
1. In a large bowl, combine the hot water with the texturized vegetable protein to rehydrate, about 10 minutes. Prepare a steamer and six (12-inch) squares of foil.
2. When the texturized vegetable protein is rehydrated, add the ingredients in the order given, down to and including the broth. Mix well, and knead for about 4 minutes to make sure the mixture is combined and the gluten is activated. Squeeze the mixture together to work the ingredients throughout.
3. Divide the burger into 6 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a burger, about 4 inches across, and place in the center of a piece of foil. Fold the foil over each burger to make a packet. The foil should not be tight against the burger, to allow for expansion. Transfer to the steamer and steam 1 hour. Remove from the steamer and unwrap carefully. Transfer the burgers to a plate and refrigerate for 1 hour. (At this point, the burgers may be wrapped airtight and frozen. Be sure to put a piece of parchment paper between them to prevent sticking.)
4. To grill: Preheat the grill. Brush the burgers with olive oil and place on the grill. Grill about 5 minutes, or until brown. Brush the top with oil and turn over to cook the other side, about 5 minutes. Serve on buns with toppings of choice.
Variations for cooking -
To panfry: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook until browned on both sides, turning once about 10 minutes total. (This just might be my favorite method for cooking these because it gives a really great texture layer to the outside of the burger.)
To bake: Arrange the burgers on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush lightly with oil. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F, turning once halfway through, or until browned.
This recipe took more tries to get right than just about any of the other recipes in AVK, but the result was worth it. If you keep some of these in the freezer, you can indulge in a burger craving any time, and they please omnis and vegans alike. Once you make them as written, you can adjust the seasonings to come up with your own signature burger. So grab your cast iron skillet or fire up the grill and give these a try. Hopefully they will become a go-to in your home, too.