The renaissance of the veggie burger: 3 delicious (and easy) recipes that will make you forget you ever needed meat 

A paid partnership with Tefal.

When vegetarianism first became ~mainstream~ in the early 2000s, every restaurant under the sun simultaneously put a veggie burger on the menu.  

For those of us who avoided meat during the era of low-rise jeans and pencil-thin eyebrows, this meant one thing: eating a hell of a lot of burgers. These days, even seeing the words “veggie burger” on a menu triggers painful memories of dry lentil patties and funky homemade relish.  

Still, there’s no food that satisfies those pesky meat cravings quite like a burger. Even the most hardcore vegetarian will admit that a juicy patty lathered in tomato sauce with crisp iceberg lettuce and suspiciously yellow cheese just hits different.  

Luckily for us, the veggie burger has evolved significantly in the past 20 years. Thanks to an explosion of interest in vegan diets, the market is now flooded with dairy-free condiments and plant-based meat alternatives. Packed with flavour and lighter on the stomach, these foods have made it possible to indulge in all our guilty pleasures without any of the guilt.  

In celebration of the veggie burger’s glow-up, we’re bringing you three vegan-friendly recipes that will make you wonder why you ever needed a meat patty to begin with. There’s a quick ’n’ dirty Big Mac that’s ideal for anyone who prefers takeout over cooking, a perfectly moist beetroot burger for the more experienced chef, and an oyster mushroom and kimchi creation for the real pros.  

To bring each burger to life, we had a little help from our new favourite range of high-quality, planet-friendly cookware by Tefal. (Yes, we are in the fancy pots and pans phase of adulthood now.) The brand’s Eco Respect collection is made from 100 per cent recycled aluminium that’s finished with a durable non-stick coating. When the cookware does reach the end of its first life, it can be returned to Tefal where it will be recycled into new products, making it an industry-leading circular cooking option and our number one choice for a low-impact fry up.  

The high-tech pots and pans come complete with Tefal’s signature red dot, which lights up when the temperature is optimal for cooking, and Thermo Fusion technology that evenly distributes heat for the perfect patty, every time. Watch them work their magic below.  

Vegan Big Mac with two-minute sauce  

Difficulty level: easy.    

Cooking time: 12 minutes.  

Some cravings are stronger than others. For a smashable burger that will make you feel like you’ve just cruised through the Maccas drive-through, we highly recommend this quick and delicious vegan Big Mac. Coming in at just over 10 minutes, it’s perfect for a lazy Sunday night dinner and, coincidentally, also happens to be an excellent hangover cure.   

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large hamburger bun, sliced into three parts 
  • ½ small onion, diced 
  • ½ cup iceberg lettuce, shredded 
  • 2 slices vegan cheese 
  • 6 pickles 

Vegan Big Mac sauce 

  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise  
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder 
  • ¼ tsp onion powder 
  • ½ tsp paprika  
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tsp white sugar 
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard  
  • 1 tsp pickle relish (known as gherkin relish in Australia) 

Method: 

  1. Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.  
  1. Heat pan until the thermo-spot changes to a solid red colour and fry patties for 3–4 minutes per side or until cooked through.  
  1. While the burgers are cooking, chop your onions, lettuce and pickles.  
  1. Cut your bun into three parts (if you’re using smaller buns, use the base of a second bun for the middle layer) and toast face down on a separate pan until lightly browned. 
  1. In your other pan, place cheese slices on top of patties and cover until melted.  
  1. To assemble, spread sauce on each bun and top with onion, lettuce, cheesy patties and as many pickles as you like.  

Recipe via The Edgy Veg.  

Vegan beet burger 

Difficulty level: medium.   

Cooking time: 50 minutes.  

Searching for a low-lift recipe that will satisfy both the carnivores and the wellness gurus in your friend group? Look no further than this delightfully juicy beetroot patty that has become our go-to healthy veggie burger recipe. White beans and nuts give these burgs their rich, creamy texture while herbs ’n’ spices add some punch. The best part? Most of that cooking time is spent in the oven. A true crowd-pleaser.  

Ingredients: 

  • 2 medium beetroots, peeled (approx. 300 grams) 
  • 1 cup walnuts 
  • ½ cup rolled oats 
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed 
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary 
  • ½ tsp dried thyme 
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon 
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional) 
  • ½ tsp sea salt 
  • 1 cup white beans, rinsed 
  • 1 tsp tamari 

Method: 

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C and line baking tray with silicone mat or parchment paper. 
  1. Grate beetroot finely using a food processor or handheld grater. Remove from food processor and set aside. 
  1. Using the S-blade attachment, blitz walnuts, oats, flaxseed, garlic and spices until they form a course flour. 
  1. Add shredded beets, beans and tamari and process until combined. A slightly chunky mixture will give your burgers added texture.  
  1. Use a ½ cup measure to scoop out six portions and shape them into patties using slightly damp hands.  
  1. Place on baking tray and cook in the oven for 15–20 minutes either side until crispy and lightly browned.  
  1. Serve with your favourite sauce (we love vegan Kewpie mayo) and salad.  

Recipe via From My Bowl.  

Vegan Korean fried chicken burger 

Difficulty level: hard.  

Cooking time: 45 minutes.  

This one’s for all the overachieving home cooks who spend their spare time watching Chef’s Table and scrolling through Ottolenghi’s Instagram page. It calls for a trip to the Asian grocer and some vegan kimchi from your local wholefoods store – our fave is made by The Fermentary – but the flavour explosion when it hits your tastebuds is well worth the effort. Cook these to impress your dinner party guests and follow with a lengthy nap.  

Ingredients: 

  • 140 grams brown oyster mushrooms, separated into two 70-gram clusters 
  • 50 grams vegan kimchi  
  • 2 milk buns, toasted with vegan butter 

Vegan kimchi buttermilk 

  • ½ cup non-dairy milk (we used soy) 
  • ¼ cup kimchi juice 
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • ½ tsp onion powder 
  • ½ tsp white pepper 
  • ½ tsp salt 

Flour dredge 

  • ⅓ cup plain flour 
  • 3 tsp corn starch 
  • ½ tsp baking powder 
  • 2 tsp gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) 
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds 

Spicy mayo 

  • 3 tsp vegan mayonnaise  
  • 1 tsp gochujang (Korean chili paste) 
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce 
  • 1 tsp spicy chili crisp (we used Lao Gan Ma
  • Salt to taste  

Method: 

  1. Prepare kimchi buttermilk and flour dredge. In one bowl, whisk together milk, kimchi juice, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, combine flour, corn starch, baking powder, gochugaru and sesame seeds. Add two tablespoons of buttermilk and rub mixture between your fingertips to create large flakes.  
  1. For the spicy mayo, combine all ingredients and season with salt to taste.  
  1. To bread the oyster mushrooms, set up your bowls of wet and dry ingredients. Soak the mushroom clusters in the buttermilk first, dunking to ensure liquid seeps into the centre of the mushrooms. Let the excess milk drip away then dredge in flour mixture, packing with your hands to coat the entire mushroom clusters. You can repeat this step again for a thick double coating.  
  1. Heat a generous amount of vegetable oil in a deep pan and shallow fry mushroom patties until crispy and golden brown. Remove and drain excess oil on a wire rack.  
  1. Spread vegan butter on your buns and pan-fry until crisp.  
  1. Top with mushroom patties, spicy mayo and kimchi.  

Recipe via Chez Jorge.  

This article originally appered on RIISE.

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