Sep 30, 2014

burger wrap-up

Day 20 Vegan MoFo. This is it! This is the last post for Vegan MoFo 2014. Congrats to all who made it this far, and congrats to all who started in the first place. It can be pretty intimidating, especially if you aren’t a daily blogger (does anybody blog daily?)

My last post is not another burger post, but rather a round-up of five of our favorite burgers from this MoFo and tips on how to make your own vegan burgers.

Our Top Five Faves from this month, in no particular order:

Schnitzel Burger. This was the only burger that was fried and was made out of seitan. There is nothing else needing to be said, as basically anything fried would taste good, but then make that fried something a seitan, add a dill-horseradish sauce AND serve it on a homemade pretzel bun? Forget ‘bout it! This definitely makes our Top Five.

Rou Jia Mo (Chinese Burger). This one didn’t get a lot of hit action for some reason. It didn’t seem to appeal to too many of you. You have no idea what you’re missing. You HAVE to make this burger, from bun to finish. I guarantee love at first bite. The sauce/broth is nothing short of amazing and I am not the least bit surprised that this is a street food of unparalleled love in China.

Pizza Burger. Another one with a homemade “bun,” this one made out of focaccia. Even if you make the focaccia and not the burger (read: eat it alone in the back of the kitchen quietly so no one is the wiser and comes to pilfer your treasure), you are still way ahead of the game. Make the sausage-style burger and the sauce for it, and you have died and gone to pizza heaven. Decadent!

Eggplant Sriracha BBQ Burger. An elusively simple burger to make in the sense that the burger patty is nothing more than grilled eggplant. But that is just the start of the magic. It is then based with Sriracha BBQ Sauce and served with a Zucchini Slaw to cool things down. Do not forget the mayo! It ties everything together and is the host of the party. Told you it is simple, but the sum is so much more than the parts. Said that before, but with burgers, this is the #truth.

Thanksgiving Burger: all the holiday fixings on a single burger. Admit it, we all have our perfect bite at Thanksgiving – a bit of stuffing, a little cranberry sauce, some green bean casserole, a little gravy – and then we shovel it all in our mouths. Now you can stuff to contention and not feel as though you have crossed some sort of social divide. Eat your Thanksgiving meal! One complete bite at a time. The way the Feast was meant to be enjoyed.

Tips to Making Your Own Burgers:

The Bun:

You can use any bun you like but make sure to toast it. And I’m not talking just any old way. Lightly butter the buns and toast them in a skillet or grill pan over medium heat. That is the best way to toast your buns for your burgers.

Think outside the bun! I used all “burger” type buns because of the theme (lest someone mistake my burger for a sandwich!) but you have no such restrictions. Use lettuce leaves, lavash, tortillas, bread slices, whatever you have handy or you desire.

The Sauce:

All burgers need a sauce, whether it as simple as vegan mayo or ketchup or as complex as a BBQ sauce. But you can do better than ketchup, can’t you? Mix that ketchup with the mayo and add some grated onion and sriracha. While moderation is always best (please, don’t make a 40-ingredient sauce), get creative and add a few things: spicy, sweet, creamy, tangy, etc.

The Veggies:

Contrasting the hot burger, cool veggies are always a welcome addition. Your veg can be a slaw, a lettuce leaf, a slice of onion, a tomato slice, pickles, cucumbers, shredded cabbage, whatever you feel would make the burger complete. Try to match your veggies with your burger patty – napa cabbage on an Asian burger, etc.

The Burger Patty:

As I’ve demonstrated this month, your burger patty can be anything, from a cauliflower steak, to a cabbage steak, to tempeh and tofu and beans and anything that can be mashed, flavored and formed into a burger. All you really need is a binder for a patty, if you mash up ingredients such as veggies and beans.

Your binder can be: gluten flour, nut butters, seed butters, bread crumbs, oat flour (or other flours), flax meal, soaked chia seeds, etc. Anything that becomes sticky and acts like glue. Get the ratio of “food glue” to delicious burger filling right and you’ve got a burger that won’t fall apart, won’t become mushy and won’t be hard as a rock, but WILL be full of flavor.

Which brings me to flavor: over flavor the filling because once you sauté it or grill it, it tends to mute the seasonings. This includes salt. Don’t go overboard, but don’t produce a bland burger, either.


Yes, you need a theme. Otherwise what on earth will you make? A theme is your starting point. It can be a region, a country, a style of burger, a flavor, a dish you want to make into a burger, etc. Making an Asian-inspired burger will start your journey with an Asian vegetable or flavor profile, such as teriyaki sauce, sriracha or Thai basil.

Recreating a meal into a burger, such as making your favorite curry Burger-fied: start with a coconut-curry sauce and make your patty from there: perhaps a cashew-tofu-veggies-Thai-curry-paste burger patty. 

The theme is your starting point from which you will draw your map. Don’t veer too far off-course, and you’ll find your way to your burger destination.

Thus ends Vegan MoFo 2014 for me! I’ll be reading and chatting with you all over the coming weeks. Thanks for all the support and enthusiasm! It’s been a blast!


I am linking to these recipe parties: Healthy Vegan FridaysWhat I Ate Wednesday and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck. 


Sep 29, 2014

nothing fishy burgers

Day 19 Vegan MoFo is the final burger in this burger marathon and it is my Nothing Fishy Burger. This is in lieu of salmon burgers, crab cakes and other sea animals, that are best left in the ocean and not piled onto a sandwich.

This burger utilizes oyster mushrooms, which have an awesome texture for this type of a filling and it is accented with a hint of seaweed. I use my absolute favorite sea vegetable: dulse flakes. They are just a reminder of the sea instead of a harsh sea flavor, and therefore, they are perfect for the uninitiated.

I top this burger with a Caper-Relish Sauce, which is a kicked-up tartar sauce (because we can't have any repeats this month!) thanks to the capers and chipotle peppers. To cool things down, the Cucumber Slaw is a welcome addition for its effect and it's crunch.

I've made a crab-cake like sandwich before: Crabby Cakes, HERE, which we loved, too. Those are made with tofu and these Nothing Fishy Burgers are soy free. Oh, the choices!

Now that the burgers are all done, what will tomorrow bring, the final Vegan MoFo Day of 2014? A Round Up, of course, and ...perhaps some tips and advice on how to make your own vegan burgers. Let me, one whose made the mistakes, let you in on a few tips of the trade.


Nothing Fishy Burger
Makes 5 burgers
3 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
1 large onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
Sea salt and black pepper
1 pound oyster mushrooms, trimmed
2 teaspoons dulse flakes, divided
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
1 ½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs, divided
¼ cup chopped parsley
Cucumber Slaw, recipe below
Caper-Relish Sauce, recipe below
5 burger buns, toasted

1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and season with salt and black pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes and remove from skillet to a large bowl.
2. In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil, increase heat to medium-high and add half the mushrooms. Cook, stirring infrequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to work surface and chop well, but do not mince. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and mushrooms.
3. Add the chopped mushroom to the large bowl with the onions. Add 1 teaspoon dulse, mayo, Old Bay, ½ cup bread crumbs and parsley. Mix well and season with salt and black pepper. Divide into 5 portions and form into burgers. Handle them carefully. Just like crab cakes, these are delicate and will fall apart if handled with a harsh hand. Gentle dredge each burger in the remaining bread crumbs.
4. Heat the skillet again, add a little oil the remaining dulse flakes and cook them until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
5. Assemble the burgers by spreading the bottom bun with the sauce, adding a burger and topping with the slaw. Serve.

Cucumber Slaw
½ large cucumber, cut into julienne strips
1 medium carrot, cut into julienne strips
1 tablespoon white vinegar (such as white balsamic or coconut vinegar)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
½ teaspoon natural sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt

1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Sti well. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper

Caper-Relish Sauce
¼ cup vegan mayo
¼ cup vegan sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon sweet relish
2 teaspoons minced chipotle
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well and season with salt and black pepper.

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