Alright, I’m absolutely giddy that vegan ‘meat’ has gone viral. I’m super excited that you can find vegan Whoppers and plant-based taco filling and even vegan KFC! I feel like vegan has taken some huge leaps and bounds into mainstream lately, and a big part of that is courtesy of fake meat products like the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger. Hooray! If you love ’em, I’m happy for you.
But I’ll be totally honest, they just are not my thing. Maybe it’s because I’ve just never been a beef fan, and maybe they just taste too real for me. But when it comes to burgers, I definitely prefer something vintage. Give me mashed beans, rice, mushrooms, all those things in a slightly mushy, hand-packed patty. And with that, here are my 5 ‘Old School’ Veggie Burgers for Labor Day Weekend…
Sidenote, in case you are curious, I’m not snobby or weird about fake meat products – I do love chick’n fake meat products. I can handle those. But I’m just weird about the beef ones. They taste too real for me. I don’t know. Anyways, for veggie burgers, I really do like the hippie-inspired, hearty, heavy, grainy, jam-packed burgers with loads of quirky character.
This post chatted about my ‘fake meat’ meanderings, many years ago: Fake Meat: Defending of Defeating the Point?
I remember one of the first bean-filled burgers I ever had was at a restaurant called Carpo’s in Santa Cruz. They made this soy bean burger where you could see all the bits of beans and it was so flavorful and hearty and delicious.
I’m curious: do you have any restaurants that make amazing old-school DIY veggie burgers??? Not the fake meat stuff? I’d love to hear them!
And with that, here are my 5 ‘Old School’ Veggie Burgers for Labor Day Weekend
1. Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers.
Yup, these are my fave. You might already know that. And don’t comment about how they fell apart and are too soft for you. That’s the point. They absolutely have a soft, bean-y texture from the potato and mashed beans, but that is part of their charm. The easy fix: bake them a while longer if you like a firmer patty with a crispier outer layer. Totally doable.
If you love sweet potatoes, you will pretty much love these. And these are pretty fail-proof too since they don’t really ‘burn’ because the ingredients are mostly already cooked – good to eat when you mash things together. And you know anything with a base of sweet potato is going to have some good flavor. I have had success using both tahini and a basic nut butter in the recipe. And I have also had success making these with and without the Panko.
2. Turmeric Bean Burgers with Secret Sauce
These have a really hearty flavor, similar to the sweet potato burgers, but these are a bit more savory. I love the rich golden color too! And even if you don’t make these patties, definitely check out the secret sauce recipe.
3. Black + Beet Mushroom Walnut Burgers
It you are going for the ‘ I want my burgers to look real’ sort of vibe, check out these deep pink burgers. They have a heart mushroom walnut flavor and turn out the color of, well, burgers. Mushrooms are one of my fave ingredients to give burgers a sort’ve umami flavor.
4. Portobello Mushroom Pineapple Teriyaki Burgers
Ok, so this is a total cheat when it comes to the patty, because your patty is in fact just a mushroom cap! And don’t be fooled, a ‘mushroom cap,’ as humble as it may sound, is loaded with flavor. Even more flavor when you add my teriyaki sauce to it. I love these summery burgers. Add some guacamole in there for even more flavor.
5. Sloppy Joes
Ok, so fine, this could be considered another ‘cheat’ in the patty department. But I don’t mind because the flavor is so yummy. These lentil sloppy joes are studded with summertime corn, perfect for a late summer weekend recipe. And I love that you can load up as much or as little filling as you’d like. And these sloppy joes are totally kid-friendly. If you like a more tomato-y recipe, check out this one.
Other faves to check out:
– Philly Cheese or my Mushroom Philly Cheese … more of a sandwich, but still one of the best vegan handhelds I have made.
– Smoky Tempeh Wrap
– Red Beans and Rice ‘Chili Bean’ Veggie Burgers
– Mushroom Marinara Melt Sandwich
– Plantain-infused burgers
– Sweet Potato Falafel that could easily be made into burger patties
Happy handheld burger or sandwich weekend!..