Monday, June 24, 2013


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If you read my last post, and the one before, you'll know that I developed a wholewheat no-knead dough that can be kept refrigerated for weeks and with which you can make all sorts of flatbreads, pizza dough, and some fabulous hamburger buns that are not heavy -- in fact, as I wrote before, I don't like heavy buns and these were just light and tasty enough (with a slightly crispy bottom) to compliment the burger rather than dominate it."

While I was finishing the trials on that recipe, I decided to make a new homemade vegan burger-- one made from inexpensive, simple, healthful ingredients, and suitable for soy-free and gluten-free diets, too.  That meant, no gluten powder, TVP/TSP, xanthan or guar gum, etc. (though I have nothing against any of those ingredients!).

Well, who knew that it would take me 5 tries!  But it did-- I've been obsessed with these burgers for over a week!  (Good thing my husband likes burgers any ol' time.)  I got the basic ingredients pretty much nailed right at the beginning, but there was some fooling around with amounts and trying, then discarding, extra grains as an addition.  I wanted the burgers to not be too "squishy", as I find many bean burgers, and I wanted more flavor than most I've tasted.  

I concentrated on umami-carrying ingredients for the seasoning (umami is also called the "fifth flavor" and foods that contain umami compounds are powerful flavor enhancers-- read about it here and here) and finally found the combination that carried enough flavor for my taste.  Adding small amounts of  mushrooms, onions, soy sauce (or my Soy-Free Sauce), miso, nutritional yeast, tomato ketchup, wine and dark sesame oil contributes umami and synergizing umami for full flavor.

Play around with the herbs and spices, if you like!

The buns are made with my No-Knead 100% Whole Wheat Flatbread, Pizza and Bun Dough 


It is my understanding from gluten-free friends that GF oats/oatmeal are widely available now. One popular brand is Bob's Red Mill, which states:
“At last, oats that people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can enjoy, too! Available in three varieties--Rolled, Quick-Rolled and Steel Cut--and made from oats grown by our cooperative of over 200 farmers dedicated to growing only pure, high-grade oats. Each farm delivery is sampled hundreds of times and tested with an R5 ELISA gluten test to ensure the absence of gluten. Advanced color-sorting removes undetected impurities."

You can also order them online at and carries several brands. Check your local health food store, too.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON THE ABOVE: A small segment of celiacs react to even pure, GF-certified oats. See my comments in the comment section of this post for more on that.

Printable Recipe

Can be GF and/or Soy-Free
Yield:  8 Burgers
These are best made a day ahead of serving time, and can be frozen in a freezer container with pieces of cooking parchment between them.
Note: If you don’t have pinto beans, you can use Romano beans or small red beans (not kidney beans).

2 tsp dark sesame oil  
1 medium onion, minced       
4 oz mushrooms (cremini or button), chopped fine (1 cup chopped)
2 cups cooked or canned pinto beans, rinsed, drained and coarsely mashed
1 1/4 cup uncooked rolled oats (old-fashioned oatmeal) (can be GF, see note above)     
8 oz grated raw potato, liquid squeezed out and discarded  
3 tablespoons dry red wine (can be non-alcoholic)    
3 tablespoons soy sauce OR Soy-Free Sauce (See recipe below)
(Note: DON’T use Bragg’s, please! It’s just as high in sodium as plain old soy sauce, but is not fermented, so it doesn't have the same umami qualities—read this article)    
3 tablespoons ketchup (organic is available)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon dark miso (can be chickpea [here or here] or azuki bean miso)     
1 tsp smoked paprika 
3/8 tsp fine sea salt      
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp EACH dried basil, oregano, thyme, sage, and ground cumin           
            freshly ground black pepper to taste  
In a medium non-stick skillet (or cast iron or hard anodized) heat the sesame oil.  Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté over medium heat until the onions have softened.  Remove from heat. (Alternative: You can cook the mushrooms and onions in the sesame oil in a covered microwave-proof casserole for 4 minutes instead.)

Mix the softened onions and mushrooms in a large bowl with the mashed beans, oats, and squeezed grated potatoes. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the wine, soy sauce, ketchup, nutritional yeast, miso, paprika, salt, garlic granules, herbs and spices, and pepper.  Add to the mixture in the large bowl and stir together thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Divide the “batter” into 8 approximately 1/2-cup portions on 2 small parchment-lined baking sheets and pat down to patty shapes, not touching.  

Cover loosely with foil, not touching the tops of the patties, but sealed around the edges of the pans.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool thoroughly, then refrigerate until cold all the way through and firm.

Before serving, brown in a non-stick skillet (or cast iron or hard anodized), lightly oiled (dark sesame oil is good).  Cover and cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the bottom is browned, flip over and brown the other side.  Serve as is with ketchup, gravy or other sauces, or on a bun with all the trimmings.

 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per burger):

175.3 calories; 12% calories from fat; 2.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 461.7mg sodium; 516.5mg potassium; 29.8g carbohydrates; 7.1g fiber; 3.1g sugar; 22.6g net carbs; 9.1g protein; 2.9 points.

Makes 1 3/4 cups

IMPORTANT: To replace some of the complex qualities that a good fermented soy sauce or tamari supplies, try adding wine, broth, and/or mushroom broth or concentrate to yourdish, in addition to using the soy sauce substitute that follows.

1 cup water, vegetarian broth, or mushroom soaking water
2 tablespoons Marmite or other yeast extract
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup hot water, vegetarian broth, or mushroom soaking liquid
2 tablespoons soy-free gravy browner(such as Kitchen Bouquet)

Dissolve the Marmite and salt in the first 1 cup of hot liquid. Mix in the remaining ingredients and store the mixture in a covered jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for several weeks.



eValerie said...

These look amazing -- but many of us gluten-free people also can't eat oats. (Most oats are cross-contaminated with gluten. Plus about 1/3 of celiacs react to the Avenin protein in oats, so they can't eat even gluten-free oats.)

Any chance of an oat-free gluten-free burger someday?

Sometimes it's possible to substitute quinoa flakes for rolled oats, so maybe that would work.

Anyway, like I said, these look amazing!!! I just wish I could eat them. :-S

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

eValerie-- it is my understanding from GF friends that GF oats are widely available now. One popuilar brand is Bob's red Mill, which states: "
At last, oats that people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can enjoy, too! Available in three varieties--Rolled, Quick-Rolled and Steel Cut--and made from oats grown by our cooperative of over 200 farmers dedicated to growing only pure, high-grade oats. Each farm delivery is sampled hundreds of times and tested with an R5 ELISA gluten test to ensure the absence of gluten. Advanced color-sorting removes undetected impurities."

You can also order them online at and carries several brands.

Pat Meadows said...

Hi Bryanna - Both my (grown) daughter and I are gluten-intolerant. We are both unable to eat even GF oats (like many other people with gluten intolerance/celiac disease).

We have both tried Bob's Red Mill Certified Gluten-Free Oats: nope, we cannot tolerate them.

However, I have suggestions for replacement - how about bread crumbs?

You can buy GF bread crumbs, or - of course - save crusts from GF bread and make your own.

I have also very successfully used medium-grind cornmeal in lieu of oats in burgers.

Another thing I've done is to use (purchased or homemade) corn taco shells made into crumbs (put them in a plastic bag, roll with a rolling pin, or use a food processor).

Some recipes call ground baked corn chip crumbs - the baked corn chips are expensive for us, I don't buy them. All the above alternatives are less expensive.


Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Hmmm, that's interesting-- and unfortunate-- Pat! I guess it's individual.
Here is a statement from the Canadian Celiac Assoc:
"Position Statement on Oats
Revised August 20, 2007
Professional Advisory Board of Canadian Celiac Association

The safety of oats in individuals with celiac disease has been extensively investigated. Clinical evidence confirms that consumption of pure, uncontaminated oats is safe in the amount of 50 to 70 grams per day (1/2 – 3/4 cup dry rolled oats) by adults and 20 to 25 grams per day (1/4 cup dry rolled oats) by children with celiac disease. Studies looking at the consumption of oats over five years have confirmed their safety. However, the studies looking at safety of oats in celiac disease have involved a small number of subjects, the oats used were pure, free of gluten contamination and the amount allowed per day was also limited.

In Canada, pure and uncontaminated* oats are now being produced. Individuals with celiac disease who wish to add oats or oat products to their diet must ensure that the oats they are eating are free from gluten contamination.

A small number of individuals with celiac disease may not tolerate even pure, uncontaminated oats. To ensure that persons with celiac disease are not intolerant to pure and uncontaminated oats, proper clinical follow up with the physician is advised when introducing oats to a gluten-free diet.

The Canadian Celiac Association will continue to monitor the scientific developments in the area of oats in celiac disease and will keep its members updated.

*These oats will meet or exceed the purity standards of Foundation #1 as defined by Canada's Seeds Act or equivalent level of purity obtained by current available methods**.

** The Canadian Celiac Association is currently developing a certification standard for PAVENA™ (pure, uncontaminated Oats and Oat products) which will be available later this year."

Position Statement on Oats in pdf format suitable for printing.
and here's a PubMed abstract:

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Pat, I honestly don't know what you can use instead of oats in this instance, because it is that peculiar thickening quality of oats that matters in this recipe (besides the nutrition, fiber, etc.)You would probably know better than I. Perhaps some GF breadcrumbs plus some guar or xanthan gum? If anyone has suggestions, please post!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

I should have said "peculiar thickening **and bulking** quality of oats that matters in this recipe"..

in2insight said...

These look amazing. Will be making them, and a fresh batch of the dough for buns, this weekend.
Thank you.

On an unrelated note, have you made or tried tofu made of hemp seeds?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

I have not, in2insight, but you can read my inadvertent hemp cheese adventures here:
But other people have. It would be a bit expensive, though, because you don't get as much out of the hemp seed as you do out of soybeans.
Here's one blog about it:

in2insight said...

These were outstanding. I knew they were a winner when we wanted to just eat them raw, they were THAT good.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

So glad you liked theme so much, in2insight! makes me happy!