Saturday, July 14, 2012

Potato-Free Veggie Burgers on Herbed One-Hour Buns

To download a copy of the recipe for Herbed One-Hour Buns, click HERE.
To download the recipe for the Veggie Burgers, click HERE.

A warm Kissing the Cook welcome to new subscriber Hayley. Greetings!

Meat-free patties, affectionately known as veggie burgers, might at first seem to be a product of the age of Aquarius and health-conscious eating, but they’ve really been around much longer than that. On several continents as well. And as good as many of the patty recipes are, they have (to me, at least) one great shortcoming: whatever vegetables are used to make the patty are mixed into a potato base. I love potatoes as much as anyone, but if I wanted a “carb burger” I’d have asked for one. I want my veggie burger to be a veggie burger.

In today’s recipe for Potato-less Veggie Burgers on Herbed One-Hour Buns, the vegetables are cooked in a base of grated carrots that were simmered in vegetable broth (with a splash of white wine for good measure) till they’re the consistency of the grated potatoes so many other recipes use. There are still carbs, of course – there’s whole wheat flour in the mix for consistency and, of course, you’re serving your veggie burger on a bun. (You can choose to make the herbed one-hour buns included here, or use ready-made buns. You make the call.) Either way, these are both healthy and tasty.

Some Cook’s Notes before we begin.
  • If you’ve never made bread before, these one-hour buns are a good introduction. They’re made with about twice as much yeast as regular bread dough, and so rise and proof much faster. (They may end up taking a little longer than an hour to make, but you get the idea.) It’s an easy bread to make, even on relatively short notice, and is an extremely useful item to have in your repertoire. This recipe makes 12 burger-size rolls, which is twice the number you’ll need for the burgers. It’s ok. They’re good rolls. You’ll use them.
  • When cutting the vegetables for making the Veggie Burger, it’s important to get a good fine chop as shown in the photos. The smaller the pieces, the better the patty will hold together when everything is mixed. (The pieces should, of course, be as close to the same size as possible for even cooking.)
  • If you like, you can make these into sliders instead of full-size burgers. Just make the patties and the buns smaller.

This recipe makes six meal-size Veggie Burgers, plus additional rolls.

First, let’s make our herbed buns. (If you’re using ready-made buns, just skip this part.)

In a small bowl, dissolve two ¼ ounce packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast and 3 Tbsp sugar in ½ cup of very warm water (about 110 degrees) and let stand for 5 minutes. The mixture should become frothy.

Mix 3 cups of all-purpose flour, ½ tsp baking soda and 1-1/2 tsp salt together in a large mixing bowl. (Be sure to mix the dry ingredients well. If the yeast you’re about to add comes into direct contact with the salt, it will kill the yeast and your bread won’t rise.) Add the yeast mixture, 1 cup of skim milk and 2 Tbsp of melted butter substitute. Add 1 tsp dried marjoram.

While mixing, add up to an additional 1-1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a dough.

When all of the flour is incorporated, knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding some additional dough flour if necessary for a smooth texture.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set the bowl on the stove, and let the dough rise till doubled in size, about 25 minutes.

After the dough has risen, press it down to deflate it. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and divide it into 12 equal parts. Shape each into the desired shape. To get a classic roll shape as shown:
  • Roll each dough piece into a strand about ¾” in diameter and around 9” long.

  • Gently tie the strand into an overhand knot.

  • Tuck the two ends of the knot, one on top and one on the bottom, into the rest of the roll.

Place the formed dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicon baking sheet, and cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Let proof at room temperature for another 20 minutes.

While the rolls are proofing, preheat oven to 425 degrees. (The top of the stove while the oven is preheating is a good place to proof the rolls.)

Bake the rolls until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes. Let the rolls cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then place them on a rack to cool.

Now for the Veggie Burgers!

Heat ½ Tbsp olive oil in a skillet. Add 1 cup of finely chopped celery, ½ a finely chopped medium red onion (about ½ cup); ¼ cup very finely chopped red bell pepper; and 1 tsp very finely chopped jalapeno; and let cook for about five minutes.

Add ½ tsp chili powder; ½ tsp paprika; and 1 Tbsp salt, and heat until cooked through. Add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic and cook for another minute, then transfer the cooked vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

Put 2 cups of grated carrots in the same skillet, and add enough vegetable broth to just cover. (That will usually be about 1 to 1-1/4 cups.) Add a splash of white wine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the carrots are soft but not mushy. This can take several minutes of simmering. Be patient with it.

Add the cooked carrots to the cooked vegetables, along with a thawed and drained 10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach; 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil; 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme; 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint; 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary; and 1 egg-substitute egg.

Add enough whole wheat flour to make the mixture thick enough to form patties, about ¾ cups.

When the mixture is the right texture, you should be able to make it a large patty in the bowl.

Divide the mixture into six parts and form patties on a foil-lined baking sheet. Chill the patties in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

When the patties have been chilled, heat ½ Tbsp of olive oil and a little butter substitute in a non-stick skillet, and cook the patties in batches until cooked through and well-browned on the outside, about five minutes per side. Don’t be afraid to let get a good browning as shown in the photo.

Serve on the rolls with the desired toppings. In the photo, I’ve got a slice of fat-free cheese, ketchup and mustard (my usual burger toppings), and I did another with steak sauce and some prepared horseradish. Just treat it as you would any other burger, and I believe you’ll be pleased with the result!
To download a copy of the recipe for Herbed One-Hour Buns, click HERE.
To download the recipe for the Veggie Burgers, click HERE.

Hope you enjoy these easy, good-for-you burgers, and that you’ll visit again next week for another kitchen-tested recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. Ben, could I make the Rolls using whole Wheat Flour as well?

  2. These sound pretty tasty. I could see eating them with a big slice of red onion and dijon mustard. Or maybe Cuban style covered in pickles. A nice alternative to my usual turkey burger.

  3. Thanks, Anne and Sandy! Anne, these can be made with whole wheat flour, but it isn't a 1-for-1 substitution. Whole wheat flour includes the outer portion of the wheat, which makes it more nourishing than all-purpose flour but also a bit heavier. What is generally recommended is to replace no more than half of the AP flour with whole wheat flour. Otherwise the bread will not be as fluffy as it should.

    Sandy, interesting you mention pickles. I wanted to put them on mine - they just seem to go with this burger - but I found I had none here. I thought you would like the low-carb part of this!