Veggie burgers should not be uniform, flat looking discs that might be at home in an ice rink sliding from side to side. They should be exciting, nutritious, and full of flavor and, if time allows, made with your own hands.

If you are feeling adventurous, head to your pantry or fridge that is perhaps full of waiting leftovers and take a gander. With patience, some creativity, and spice for zesty foods you can make the perfect veggie burgers every time without a recipe! You just want to make sure you have a strong, neutral base, a binder to hold it all together, and spices. Once you have all of these things, you can mix, match, and get creative in the kitchen and make the perfect veggie burgers.

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The Base

How to make the perfect veggie burgers... without a recipe

 

The base of your veggie burger needs something strong and sturdy to really be the meat of the entire dish. Veggie burgers can have a variety of bases, so don’t be afraid to try a few things out!

I have used a mixture of beets, sunflower seeds, and quinoa all mixed together as the base for a delicious beet burger that is quite similar to this recipe for Beet and Quinoa Veggie Burgers. You could also use chickpeas or black beans that you smash in a bowl or blend in a food processor. Don’t be afraid to combine things, either! Typically, aim for one can or two cups of beans to be your base. You can also sneak veggies inside for an added punch of nutritional value like sauteed kale or spinach! Just make sure everything is mashed, processed, or blended very well so that it can stay together easily in a patty. Larger pieces will fall out and not hold as well and could cause a potential upset.

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The Binder

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Like with baking desserts, there are binder substitutes for heartier, savory dishes, too! No eggs required here. The go to, of course, is flax eggs. Look for ground flax (or flax meal) and use 1 tablespoon of flax and mix it with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for five minutes and mix it in with your burger mixture. If you want to learn more about flax, head over and read All About the Health Benefits of Flaxseeds. For many veggie burgers, though, you don’t need a binder, but if you’re afraid your veggie burger might fall apart, it would not hurt to play it safe! I would also suggest using 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs in your recipe as this well to bind with the base and create a firmer burger.

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The Spices

How to make the perfect veggie burgers... without a recipepeddhapati/Flickr

 

This is where the flavor of the veggie burgers will truly come into play. It is up to you to throw together a complimentary combination of spices that will cook well. If you’re wanting a veggie burger to be of Spanish flavors, add cumin to your mixture. You could also add oregano and chili powder. Don’t be afraid to add some pepper and other spices that carry a real heat to them. For the spices, add enough to make the dish taste at the flavor level you want. We are, after all, not working with a recipe, so play around with it! In most of my own cooking, I throw things together, and while that can be dangerous, it has worked out well for me more often than not. Check out this guide on How to Add Ethnic Flavors to Dishes for more inspiration for your perfect veggie burger! Don’t be afraid to try new flavor combinations.

The Process

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Now you have some ideas as to what to put in it – are you ready to get started? Get the ingredients you chose above, blend them together, and start forming them into patties. You can fry them in a skillet or bake them. For frying, drizzle some olive oil in a pan heated to medium heat, and fry until brown and flip! For baking, put the oven to 350°F and bake for about half an hour.

Now, go out and start experimenting. Like any great inventor, you might have failures, but you’ll also have successes! Let us know your favorite way to prepare veggie burgers!

Lead image source: Thai Quinoa Burgers