Blogpost: In Search of the Perfect Burger

Most people that have recently started their transition to plant based nutrition are looking for a “good” veggie burger.  You know, the one that tastes like a “real” hamburger. What do you associate with the perfect burger?  McDonalds BigMac? The Whopper? Backyard BBQ? Or a giant burger topped with bacon and cheese and onion rings and more cheese? In fact, their are several companies that advertise just that.  They claim it tastes and looks like a real hamburger without the beef. They plate it with vegan cheese and onion rings.   How can this be healthy?  Some  of the commercial products contain a similar amount of salt, protein, and fat that animal burgers contain.  The source is plant fat and protein.  One company even uses a genetically modified soy protein to make a plant form of heme so that the burger bleeds when you cut into it.  These products are better for the animals, and better for the environment but are they really better for you?  If it is sugar, salt, and fat in processed foods that caused your health problems in the first place, then the source doesn’t really matter.  The bottom line is that these products are highly processed salty, oily foods.

Well, then how about making your own?  This allows control the ingredients  and  you do not have to worry about preservatives.  The  first attempt at making  a veggie burger usually goes like this.  You find a recipe and mix all the ingredients together, or you try your own version of a recipe to hold vegetables and grains together.  After baking them you  serve them to the family and they say: “It doesn’t taste like a real burger”.  Frustration sets in,  or you begin the quest for the perfect veggie burger recipe.  Most people are looking for a similar texture to meat that holds up on a bun.

So what is the solution?  It resides between your ears.  It is your perception about your nutrition.  If you eat like you did before you were overweight and unhealthy, you will return to that state.  If you were a bank robber, can you just keep your hand in the game and  drive the get away car and stay out of trouble?  Of course not.  But as marketing will have it, there will alway be the temptation to cross over to the salty, oily, sugary foods and give them a different name.  Perhaps the thought should  not be about making a plant based version of a burger but about finding the veggie burger style that you like best.  Judge between plant based choices versus  the animal food counterpart.  We do not compare vegetable soup to a chicken soup.  It is it’s own entity.  There is not a meat version of a kale salad.  We don’t expect fish to taste like seaweed salad.

My three favorite vegetables patties are jackfruit , beet and chickpea.  They are each in my menu rotations.  I enjoy each for their unique qualities and how they pair with other vegetables or salads.  I also enjoy experimenting with different beans, vegetables, and grain combinations.  Some work  better than others, but I enjoy each one for their own characteristics.

Remember it is a process to embrace and enjoy.  The more you experiment, the more you will learn.



  1. Reply

    I love your mushroom, pumpkin seed, walnut burger. We add green pepper, onion, garlic and jalapeño (for a little kick) put it all in food processor (pulsing so not to create a mushy mess) putting mushrooms in last. Makes easy, moist patties with an almost hamburger texture. Definitely a twist from the normal bean/rice burger. Thanks for the advice to steer away from the new burgers (chemistry experiments) on the market. BTW leftover are great crumbled on salads the next day. Plants rock!

  2. Reply
    julia pace

    Thanks for your blogs. Interesting, helpful and supportive.I looked for meat replacements for a long time – bean burgers, mushroom ‘bacon’, cashew stroganoff. Eventually, I decided it was more trouble than it was worth. I don’t miss burgers anymore, one article about how pigs can’t sweat so they don’t detox very well turned me off any pork forever. Don’t even get me started on dairy with all it’s hormones and bacteria. First I thought I would just eat meat at a restaurant if I really had to have some. It doesn’t seem like a treat to eat it anymore. You don’t know where it came from, how it was raised, if it was cooked in soy bean oil – like I really need more omega 6 oil in my diet.

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