For the “…but protein” prompt today, I made some burgers. There’s nothing quite as anti-vegan as ground up meat so I’ve made my beloved tempeh burger with some beet in it to make it look a little more “convincing” to someone who might be skeptical of vegan burgers. I’ve had the pleasure of trying the latest ground-breaking new vegan burger patties the past two years. Last year, I got my hands on a Beyond Burger which cooks and looks like ground beef. The texture and flavor are pretty spot-on as well. This spring, though…I finally had the Impossible Burger (more on this on an upcoming post about my trip to Austin,TX). This was so convincing that I wasn’t sure I should be eating it. I felt fine afterward, though, and quite enjoyed the experience. Ground beef was never my favorite food, but I felt the need to support the cause. This is not something I would eat on a regular basis but it’s wonderful to have it as an option at a restaurant.
These tempeh burgers, however, I could eat on a daily basis. They’re wonderfully hearty, full of protein and flavorful. The ground beets (not beef, mmkay?) in the patty mixture give the burgers an earthy quality and a rich red tint that looks somewhat like raw meat. Although, if you look closely, you can see pieces of soybean in there.
I love using grated tempeh in burgers because it gives a nice nutty flavor to them. Tofu is good for most applications, but it’s much lighter in texture and has virtually no flavor to provide. I use it mostly for scrambles or roasting with marinades. The tempeh here needs very little added flavor and still gives the burgers a nice umami touch. The marinade I brushed on the burgers just heightens and compliments the ingredients in the patty. I mixed some soy sauce (use coconut aminos if you need) with garlic, onion and chili flakes together as a nice finishing touch. The liquid will caramelize and brown in the oven when the burgers cook through and create a nice crust. These burgers can be grilled as well, but I recommend baking them through first to ensure the insides are cooked.
Serve them with your favorite toppings and buns if you like. I kept mine simple, but feel free to load stuff on top of them. Once people see the burger assembled, they won’t even know what’s inside, right? 😈🍔
Tempeh Beet Burgers
- 1 block tempeh, shredded (I used a cheese grater)
- 2 cooked beets, cooled and shredded
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used The Greater Knead)
- 2 Tablespoons ground psyllium husk (can sub ground flax too)
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce/coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce/aminos
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- pinch red pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste, optional
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Shred the tempeh and beets into a large mixing bowl if you haven’t already. To them, add the remaining ingredients for the burgers to the bowl except the water.
- Using a strong wooden spoon (or your hands), mix the patty mixture together until it is as incorporated as possible. It will be dry and crumbly.
- Add the water to the mixture half the amount at a time. Add more as needed, one tablespoon at a time. The mixture should stick together well but not be too wet.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum and grease it if desired.
- Divide the burger mixture into 4 equal pieces and shape into disks with your hands. I had a little extra left so I made a small meatball out of it!
- For the marinade, add the soy sauce to a small bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and whisk it to incorporate.
- Using a brush or spoon, coat the patties as much as possible on both sides. Any extra can be saved to put on the burgers once they are cooked if you would like.
- Bake the burgers in the oven for about 25 minutes or until browned and crispy.
- From here, they are cooked. You can store them in the freezer for a quick meal later or finish them in a pan or on the grill. Just treat them like any store-bought veggie burger that is precooked. I cooked mine in a pan with the leftover marinade for about 3 minutes on each side on medium heat. Make sure to use non-stick cookware or a little oil.
- Serve with your favorite accompaniments!