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Tags: tofu, healthy, flax, lentil, burger, tex-mex

The Veggie Burger that Ate Manhattan

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Illustrated recipe for a vegan burger

I'm not going to lie to you—making this vegan burger requires a bit of a commitment. It's not something you can whip up between work and dinner time. On the plus side, the recipe makes a 10-12 patties depending on how big you like them, and they freeze well. You can eat half now and freeze the rest for later, which would make your effort now a partial investment toward your future eating.

Another plus is the variety of ingredients and the nutritional goodies, flavours and textures that they bring along. Bright coloured vegetables mix with tofu and lentils, brown rice and bulghur, all bound together by the natural stickiness of flax meal. On the whole, the flavour is decidedly Tex-Mex: corn, red peppers, onions and cumin all point to the cuisine of the Southwest. (I'm actually tempted to try substituting a can or two of black beans for the tofu next time I make them to see how far I can take this Tex-Mex theme. I can't help tinkering with the recipe, and you should feel free to do the same.)


The Base

2 Tbl olive oil

7-8 mushrooms (~200 g), sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup brown rice

1/4 cup bulghur

1/4 cup green lentils

1 1/2 cups water

2 Tbl tamari sauce

1 lb block firm tofu

1 1/2 tsp salt

fresh black pepper to taste

The Mix

1 Tbl olive oil

2 medium size potatoes, peeled and grated

2 carrots, peeled and grated

1 1/2 cups corn, thawed if frozen

3 green onions, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

Putting It All Together

1/3 cup ground flax

2/3 cup water

The base from Step 1

The mix from Step 2

1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs

olive oil for brushing


The Base

Heat saucepan over medium heat and add 2 Tbl olive oil. Saute mushrooms for 5-10 minutes until liquid starts to evaporate.

Sauteeing mushrooms

Add onions and garlic and saute a couple minutes more.

Add onions

Add rice, bulghur, lentils and mix.

Adding the rest of the dry ingredients

Add water, tamari sauce and bay leaves.

Add water, tamari sauce and bay leaves

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover and leave to cook for 25-30 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed.

Finished cooking

Turn off heat and allow to cool. Transfer contents to food processor and process to combine. Add tofu in pieces, along with salt and pepper, and process until uniform. Transfer to a container with a lid and refrigerate, preferably overnight.

The Mix

Heat skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Saute grated potato and carrot until they start to soften.

sauteeing potato and carrot

Add green onions and red pepper and saute an additional few minutes.

adding red pepper and green onion

Add in corn, cumin and paprika, mix well and remove from heat. Allow to cool.

the finished mix

Putting It All Together

In a small bowl, mix the ground flax with the water and let sit for five minutes while it magically turns into a paste.

ground flax turns into paste

Lightly oil a couple of baking sheets.

In a large bowl, combine the base with the mix, and add in the breadcrumbs.

the base adding the mix adding the breadcrumbs

Add in the flax mixture and mix very well. (Hand mixing is messy, but it's probably the only way to get uniform consistency.)

adding the flax hand mixing

Form into patties and arrange on baking sheets.

making the patties and arranging on a baking sheet


Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. If you want to finish them on the grill, allow them to cool at least 20 minutes first, preferably longer.

burgers fresh from the oven


Warm the BBQ (or frying pan) to medium heat and wipe down with oil to prevent sticking. Brush bottom surface of each burger with oil before placing on the grill. Once all the burgers are on the grill, brush the top surfaces. Watch very carefully and flip before they start to stick. It may take several flips to cook them through without burning.

grilling hot off the bbq ready to eat

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Posted: Monday, October 27, 2014