You can use just about anything (except meat!) to make your very own veggie burgers. And you should, for all the reasons explained in this diatribe of mine. Basically, my homemade veggie burgers are always a combination of various grated veg + beans + onions, all held together with bread crumbs and eggs. (I've tried to make them vegan, but I found that the egg is my binder of choice.)
These particular burgers were made with 2 medium-sized beets, 3 carrots, a handful of spinach, some mashed white beans, red lentils, a small baked sweet potato, a caramelized onion, white wine, 2 eggs, and a cup of panko. For flavor, I add salt, pepper, a few tablespoons of mustard, maybe a squirt of ketchup, and a crumbled Not-Beef bouillon cube. I ran all the vegetables through the grater on my food processor, and the long strands of veg seems to help the burgers hold together. (Just make sure the finished mix is not wet. It should stand up on its own much like a bread dough.)
I added the other ingredients and then spooned them into 4-inch ring molds before baking them at 350 degrees until the tops looked on the dry side. Allow the burgers to cool completely, then panfry them in a bit of olive oil to serve. The burgers pictured had pea tendrils and homemade pickles from Van Cheeseman's booth at the wonderful Saturday morning Tsunami parking lot winter-long farmers' market, peeled roma tomatoes, and sharp cheddar on a wheat bun.
The Chubby Vegetarian Burger
(makes 15 large patties or 20+ smaller ones)
Meat (ha!):4 cups mushrooms (any kind)
2 cups shredded beets
1 cup shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups shredded bell pepper
3 1/2 cups beans (pinto, black eyed peas, black beans, chickpeas)
2 1/2 cups barley (cooked in vegetarian vegetable stock)
Mash beans with a potato masher, but leave some lumps for texture. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the mashed beans, vegetables, and the barley.
2 cups sliced onion
6 cloves smoked garlic
1 cup celery
1 vegetarian vegetable bouillon cube
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
Slowly brown onions, garlic, and celery in a bit of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the vegetable bouillon cube, white wine, mustard, and ketchup. Raise the heat and reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer mixture to the food processor and blend. Add this to the vegetable, bean, and barley mixture.
3 cup bread crumbs (panko or sourdough)
4 eggs (beaten)
Add breadcrumbs and eggs to the mixing bowl and stir until well incorporated. Stick the mixture in the fridge for at least two hours. This will allow the flavors to meld and will make the mixture easier to manipulate. Form patties by shaping the mixture into a tennis ball-sized ball and flattening it out onto a lined, oiled baking sheet. Make sure to smooth the edges with your fingers; this helps ensure they stay together. Each patty should be about 4 inches across. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until the center of each burger feels like it has set. Allow burgers to cool completely. Store patties in an airtight container or freeze.
To serve the burger, brown both sides in a skillet with some olive oil or brush patty with olive oil and grill over an open flame.