If there's one thing I hate, it's a mushy veggie burger. Burgers need to have some bite to them. Some meatiness. I hate when they're so soft that they just squish out of the bun and fall out onto the plate. My very favorite burgers are the Original Vegan Boca Burgers, precisely because they are "meaty" in both taste and texture. Because let's face it, when you're craving a burger, what you're looking for isn't a mouthful of mushy peas and carrots. No, you want something smoky, savory, and that makes you feel like you are indulging yourself.
For this reason, I'm often hesitant to make homemade veggie burgers because most of the ones I have tried have turned out mushy. Whether they're bean-based, tofu-based, or vegetable-based, they usually have one thing in common: mushiness. So I usually ask myself why should I attempt to recreate something that the good people over at Boca Burger have mastered so well?
This recipe caught my eye, however, when I was leafing through my Vegan Yum Yum cookbook, because it combines seitan and black beans, which made me think it might have a little bite to it, and a list full of spices and seasonings that I like. But would they stand up to the mush test?
You basically combine one cup of seitan and one 14 oz. can of drained black beans in the food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.
Transfer the seitan/bean mixture to a large mixing bowl, then add: one Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce (there's also a really good one from Annie's Naturals), one Tbsp. soy sauce, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, two Tbsp. flour, 1/2 cup frozen corn, and 1/2 tsp. each of smoked paprika, cumin, and chili powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt. If your mixture is too wet and gloppy, add up to 1/2 cup additional flour. The mixture should be able to hold together when you form it into a patty.
Form burger patties and fry in two Tbsp. vegetable oil, until crisped and browned on both sides.
The verdict? These burgers did hold together nicely and passed the mush test. They are definitely not "meaty" like the Boca burgers, but they are very nicely spiced and flavorful, and they crisp nicely, which helps to give them that charred, burger-y kind of taste.
We served ours on whole wheat buns with Vegenaise, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, vegan mozzarella, and slices of avocado. And onion rings on the side. Now that's what I call a happy meal.