Friends, I just made the most amazing vegan burgers ever.
Seriously, I tried a lot of different veggie burgers and while most of them were delicious, they were always lacking that meaty texture. These vegan burgers have an incredibly meaty texture, soft and juicy!
A quick note before starting, if you are looking for a burger that contains only whole foods I would recommend checking these Smoky Tempeh Burgers, which are still a favorite here. This recipe makes use of textured vegetable protein (TVP) and wheat gluten so it’s not soy or gluten-free. However, the texture and flavor of these burgers are incredible plus they are very high in protein: over 38 grams per burger!
Let’s take a look at what we have in these burgers:
- TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein): This makes the base of the burgers and gives them a meaty and chewy texture. If you have never heard of TVP, also called soy protein, it’s basically chunks made from soy flour. It’s a dehydrated product that can be found in different sizes (from small bits to large chunks) and needs to be rehydrated in hot water before using. It’s high in protein, low in fat and usually pretty cheap.
- Vital Wheat Gluten: Gluten helps bind the burgers together and creates a slightly stretchy texture. Vital wheat gluten is also very high in protein.
- Cooked Beans: These add moisture and makes the burgers softer. I went with red kidney beans but white navy beans or black beans will work too. Without the addition of beans, the burgers tend to be a bit dry and not as tender.
- Tomato Paste: In addition to adding flavor, it also adds color.
- Nutritional Yeast: We are not using it to add a cheesy flavor here, but to give it a more savory, deeper flavor.
- Soy Sauce: Instead of using plain salt, soy sauce adds the saltiness + extra flavor.
- Maple Syrup: Optional but recommended. Don’t worry, maple syrup won’t make the burgers taste sweet!
- Oil: I found that without the additional oil the burgers didn’t have the richness of traditional burgers and were a bit drier. If you are avoiding oil, feel free to omit or replace it with a nut butter like almond butter for example.
- Spices: Cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic, onion. We don’t want our to be burgers bland, so spices come to the rescue!
It starts with the TVP that you rehydrate in boiling water for about 10 minutes. I recommend using small TVP chunks as I found out they yield the best texture.
Next, combine the cooked beans with the tomato paste, spices, and other liquid ingredients and process in a food processor until almost smooth, it’s okay if there are still some visible bean pieces. Then add the rehydrated TVP and process for another 7-10 seconds or until it looks like bolognese sauce. You want the TVP to be finely chopped but not in a purée, otherwise, you will lose the texture.
At this point the mixture will be very liquid, it’s okay. You can then transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the vital wheat gluten. It will almost instantly thicken the mixture and you should get a soft dough. Knead for 2 minutes and form three patties.
Once you have shaped the mixture into 3-4 patties depending on the size you want, wrap them individually in parchment paper, and then in aluminum foil. The final step is to steam the burgers for about one and a half hour. You can use a simple pressure cooker or an Instant Pot. A quick tip: wrap the burgers very tightly, the texture will be better.
After steaming, remove the burger from the foil and parchment paper and let it cool at least 10 minutes. You can now cook the burgers in a skillet or grill, or let them marinate in your favorite marinade for extra flavor. Letting the burgers marinade makes them juicier and even more flavorful, but if you are short on time feel free to cook them the same day.
Serve the burgers topped with sriracha mayo and soy sauce glazed mushrooms, plus some salad leaves. Or, you can serve the burgers without the buns, with some grains and vegetables on the side for a complete meal.
If you are looking for burgers that have the same meaty texture as the real ones you definitely have to try this recipe!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
High-Protein Vegan Burgers (The Best Vegan Burgers!)
- 1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- 1/2 cup cooked red kidney beans
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp each: paprika ground chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano
- 1/8 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/4 cup water (or beetroot juice)
- 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the textured vegetable protein and let simmer for 10-12 minutes. Drain the TVP and set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the cooked beans, oil, maple syrup, tomato paste, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, spices, liquid smoke, and water. Process for 10-20 seconds, scraping down the sides if needed and process again until it forms a purée. It doesn't have to be completely smooth.
- Add the rehydrated TVP and process for 7-10 seconds, or until the TVP is very finely chopped, the mixture should look like bolognese sauce. You don't want to have big chunks of TVP otherwise the burgers won't hold together well.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the vital wheat gluten. Mix using a wooden first, and then knead with your hands for 2-3 minutes to develop the gluten. The mixture should be soft and have a slight elasticity.
- Divide the mixture into 3 and form patties. Carefully wrap each burger in parchment paper and then in aluminum foil.
- Place the wrapped burgers in a pressure cooker (you can stack them) and pressure cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes. You can use a stovetop pressure cooker or an Instant Pot.
- Once cooked, unwrap the burgers and let cool 10 minutes. You can now pan-fry the burgers in a little bit of oil until golden brown on each side.
- Burgers will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. They will harden a bit in the fridge but will soften once heated.