Whereas many people only eat veggie burgers in times of diress (such as when there’s nothing else vegetarian available at a BBQ), I really like them. We keep a stash of them at home, I’ll order them at restaurants, and I even try to make them from scratch from time to time. But I’ve actually found it surprisingly, shockingly hard to come up with a homemade veggie burger that both tastes great and is simple to make. I seem to recall reading in Cook’s Illustrated at some point that a really good veggie burger requires a fair bit of work to put together, much more so than a good hamburger, which just doesn’t seem fair, does it? I have yet to tackle any of the really time, labor, and ingredient intense recipes that have crossed my path, but as for the simpler ones, I have yet to be wowed.
This recipe for bulgur, tahini, and pinto bean burgers was recently featured on Martha Stewart’s food blog, dinnertonight. The quick prep time (about 20 minutes active), the simple ingredient list, and the fact that most of the Martha recipes I’ve tried have turned out pretty well gave me hope that these homemade veggie burgers might turn out to be better than most. And as it turns out, they were pretty good. I liked the overall taste and texture well enough- a little bean, a little grain, a little vegetable, but not too much of any of them. They were especially good when left to saute for just a little longer than needed, making them browned and slightly crispy (more fry=more delicious, huge shock!).
My main complaint with these, as with many homemade veggie burgers, however, is that they were a bit pain to actually put together. The “dough” was so sticky that as I tried to form patties, I routinely found my hands absolutely coated with the stuff, to the point that it became incredibly hard to shape the burgers. Flouring my hands and the patties helped a tiny bit, but it was still a total mess. On the plus side, when it came time to cook these burgers, they actually stuck together, unlike veggie patties I’ve had before that instantly crumble upon being touched by a spatula. So all in all, my verdict was good enough to make again, but not so overwhelmingly fabulous as to become my go-to veggie burger recipe. For that, I’m still on the lookout…
Bulgur, tahini, and pinto bean veggie burgers (makes about 6 burgers)
1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large egg
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame-seed paste)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- In a medium bowl, mix bulgur with 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1 cup boiling water. Cover bowl, and let sit until bulgur is tender (but still slightly chewy), about 30 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to remove liquid.
- Place beans in a medium bowl; mash with a potato masher until a coarse paste forms. Add breadcrumbs, scallions, egg, carrot, cayenne, tahini, and bulgur. Season with salt and pepper, and mix to combine. Form mixture into patties, each about 1 inch thick.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-low. Cook patties until browned and firm, 5 to 8 minutes per side. Serve on rolls with your preferred burger condiments.