Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Best Meat-Free Burger

Ever since we decided to leave meat off our plates, I have been looking for a good meat-free burger. If there was one meal I knew my family would miss, it was burgers!  So in my quest to find a veggie option for all my family's favorite meals, I was on the hunt for a great burger.

I wasn't sure at first what kind my family would like.  There are so many varieties out there, like veggie burgers, meat-free burgers and black bean burgers, just to mention a few. Not knowing how to make a meat-free burger, I tried the frozen meat-free patties, and they seemed to work well for us.  They are not exactly like a burger, but I figured with ketchup, lettuce and mustard, who would know the difference?  The kids seemed to like them, or maybe they just ate them and pretended.  But that wasn't enough for me. I still wanted to find something that was yummy and savory and felt like that big juicy burger we were used to getting at BBQ. 

So then I tried black bean burgers.  I tested this on my husband first, and it was a good thing I did! They weren't bad, but they were not at all a substitute for a burger. The texture just isn't the same and they sort of feel a bit uncooked inside. I knew my kids were not going to like them so I will not even attempt to serve them the black bean burgers.

Then recently, at a trip to Whole Foods, I came across Gimme Lean by Lightlife. There are two varieties, ground beef style and ground sausage style.  I have used the ground sausage style before in lasagna and it was good, so I picked up the ground beef style,originally thinking I would make "meatballs".  But then later I thought that if it could make "meatballs", then it just might make a good burger.

So I formed patties out of the mixture, seasoned them with a little salt and pepper, and then I rubbed them with a bit of Worcestershire Sauce.  I have this notion that everything tastes meatier with Worcestershire Sauce (you can find a vegan one at Whole Foods). It's what I use when I want people to think they are eating meat (I also add it to my soup to make it taste more like beef vegetable).  I cooked them in a pan with a little oil, just a few minutes on each side and topped them with sauted oinons.  Then I put them on a toasted burger bun with Nayonaise and lettuce and served them with homemade baked french fries.  They were yummy! My husband loved it, as did I. 

Finally I had that savory and juciy flavor that was just lacking in all the other burgers I had tried.  I haven't made these for my kids yet, but I am going to. I'm sure they will love them too.  I know that there is probably a better meat-free burger out there, but until I find it, this is mine!

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