So, you already know I’m not going to write about a traditional hamburger and french fries, right? It’s going to be a liberal, left-wing, bleeding-heart-type burger, the kind that goes on and on about gun control and healthcare and the environment. Who wants it? All that caring about stuff and everything! Bleckkkkk!
But wait! I mean, just hang in there. Get a hold of yourself and consider something.
A lot of people say, “Fat adds flavor.” They are talking about the strip of fat on a steak or the juicy fat oozing out of a hamburger. I won’t talk you out of it if you agree. I will only report my own experience. After kicking meat and animal fat, my palate changed. It didn’t happen all at once. It happened a little at a time after experimenting with many recipes. I slowly discovered a world of flavor I never knew about. I discovered fat dulls flavor.
Oh there are plenty of flavorful plant-based fats, including olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil and other things. And fat allows for a crispy texture in cooking that cannot be replicated using any other vehicle like broth or water. I often use a little plant-based oil to get the texture I’m after, but I use it sparingly so the food can speak for itself.
Here’s an example.
- For the burger:
- 1 cup sprouted mung beans
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 large white potato, peeled, cut into large chunks and cooked tender
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 small coarsely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1, 4 oz. can chopped green chilies (less 1 tablespoon for use in sauce)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- A few mint leaves, to taste
- For the sauce:
- One ripe avocado
- ¼ cup chopped, fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Juice of ½ lime
- ¼ cup grated coconut
- 1 tablespoon chopped green chilies from a can (see above)
- 2 tablespoons almond milk (or other plant-based milk), or enough to give the sauce the right consistency according to your preferences
- Salt to taste
- For cooking:
- Olive oil
- For the burger:
- Prepare your mung bean sprouts as I did here. Or buy them at the store. Rinse the beans in a colander and give them a thorough wash.
- Place the sprouts in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them and cook them gently (on low-medium heat) for 30 minutes. You want the beans to be al dente and not too mushy. Drain and put aside.
- In a food processor, place the chickpeas, cooked potato, garlic, onion, turmeric, and salt. Pulse until a coarse paste. Add the mung beans and pulse one or two seconds more.(You want to leave some whole for texture.) Remove the mixture from the food processor and place it in a large bowl.
- Stir in the green chilies, cilantro and mint.
- Form into 8 or 10 patties, depending on the size you like.
- Heat a non-stick fry pan. Spray or brush on some olive oil. Cook the burgers over medium-high heat until golden-brown. Flip over and cook the other side. Watch for burning or sticking. In all, you'll cook the burgers anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes total, depending how browned you like the burgers.
- Serve hot or cold. These are delicious on a whole-wheat bun, but they are just as good bunless, with sauce. I like them a day or two old, cold and broken and crumbled over salad.
- For the sauce:
- Place all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Add just enough plant-based milk to keep the blades moving, or more if you like your sauce thin.
My advice: Enjoy this burger with sweet potato fries.
- Two sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin strips (maybe to one-quarter inch thickness)
- Two tablespoons soy sauce or tamari to taste
- Two tablespoons olive oil
- Toss the potatoes in the soy sauce and oil.
- Spread evenly across one or two baking sheets so that they don't touch.
- Place in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Flip the potatoes and cook for 10 or 15 minutes more. A little charring at the edges only adds to the flavor, but keep an eye on them and watch out for burning.
Now THAT’S flavor!