Thursday, September 22, 2016


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Homemade veggie burgers, veggie "meatballs" and veggie "crumble" ready for the freezer

Homemade veggie burger cooked in a counter-top grill
I have been working on this burger mix for a while now, and I am now confident that it's ready to share!

We are not really fond of soft, not to say mushy, veggie burgers.  We like them "meaty" (and I've been a vegan for about 27 years).  Sometimes we buy veggie burgers, but I wanted to invent an easy and inexpensive homemade mixture that could also be used to make a "veggie crumble" for things like Shepherd's Pie and taco filling, as well as veggie "meatballs", which I have always been fond of-- there are so many ways to sauce them and flavor them.  It seems that all the world loves meatballs!

I started with an old recipe from one of my early books, but simplified, multiplied and amplified (in terms of taste).  The results were excellent in the end, and I love having tasty homemade vegan burgers, "meatballs", and veggie crumbles in the freezer for quick meals.

The recipe looks long, but that's only because I've given directions for forming and cooking each type of product you're making, as well as three different cooking options.  It's really a very simple recipe.

Veggie "meatballs" simmered in vegan broth with tofu sour cream and homemade pesto

Printable Recipe

Servings: 14-16
Yield: about 61 ounces
The mix (before cooking) weighs about 61.4 ounces.  This amount can be made into eight 4.5 oz. burgers + two 12.6 oz. bags of burger "crumble" OR 24 meatballs (1 oz. each)-- or 1 bag of "crumble" and 12 "meatballs". OR you can make it all into 60 "meatballs", OR approximately 5 portions of "crumble", OR 13 large burgers. The recipe can be multiplied.

3 cups dried textured vegetable protein granules (TVP, or textured soy protein granules, or soya mince) 
3 1/3 cups boiling water
Flavoring Mixture:
9 Tbsp (1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs)  soy sauce or Tamari (TIP: I prefer not to use Bragg's Liquid Aminos, which is overly salty and expensive, and lacks the umami kick of a real fermented soy sauce/shoyu, or tamari)
4 1/2 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire Sauce
4 1/2 Tbsp ketchup
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp dried marjoram (or 1/2 marjoram and 1/2 basil)
1 1/2  tsp onion powder (TIP: I grind dry onion flakes in a spice grinder-- tastes better, lasts longer and doesn't go rock-hard like purchased onion powder)
1 1/2 tsp garlic granules
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
Last Additions:
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten powder
1 1/2  cups cooked or canned (rinsed and drained) black or pinto beans, mashed coarsely with a fork (NOTE: I haven't tried brown lentils yet, but they would probably work as well.)

To make the Basic Burger Mixture:

In a large bowl, mix the textured soy protein granules with the boiling water and let set while you organize the other ingredients.

Whisk together the ingredients for the Flavoring Mixture.  Stir into the soaked soy protein mix. To thoroughly cool the mixture (which is necessary to prevent the gluten from clumping into "strings"), spread it out on a shallow baking pan and refrigerate until cool.  If you are in a big hurry and have a large freezer, pop the pan in there, but check it regularly to make sure the mixture doesn't freeze.

When the mixture has cooled off so that it is cool to the touch (it doesn't have to be cold), add the vital wheat gluten powder and the mashed beans, and mix well. (I use my hands.)

NOTE: This Burger Mixture can be refrigerated for several days, or even frozen for a few weeks, if you aren't ready to form and cook it.  You can multiply this recipe as you like to make larger quantities for the freezer.

Forming the Burger Mix:

The mix will weigh about 61.4 ounces.  This can be made into eight 4.5 oz. burgers + two 12.6 oz. bags of burger "crumble" OR 24 meatballs (1 oz. each)-- or 1 bag of "crumble" and 12 "meatballs". OR you can make it all into 60 "meatballs", OR approximately 5 portions of "crumble", OR 13 large burgers.

Form the burgers by weighing out 4.5 oz. portions, forming them into balls and then pressing into burger shapes.

Form the "meatballs" by weighing out 1 oz. portions and forming compact balls.

To make the Veggie "Crumble", press each portion of the mixture flat onto a parchment-lined pie plate.


I prefer to cook the products in the microwave oven-- it saves energy. I place the products in parchment-lined Pyrex pie plates or square Pyrex baking dishes. Cover with a Pyrex pot lid that fits (they are easy to find in thrift stores).  But you can also bake or steam the products-- see the directions for different methods below.

Method #1, Microwave:
FOR BURGERS:  I microwave 3 or 4 burgers at a time for 4 minutes, then flip them over using a small silicone cookie spatula (see photo); cover and cook 3 or 4 minutes more.

Carefully use the small spatula to transfer the burgers to a platter or cookie sheet to cool.  They are delicate at this point, but will firm up when cooled.  Keep refrigerated for several days, or freeze.  Cook refrigerated or thawed burgers in a lightly-greased skillet, or on an outdoor or counter-top grill, using medium to medium-high heat.

Before cooking

After cooking
FOR "MEATBALLS":  Cook using the same method as for the burgers, keeping a bit of space between the "meatballs".  Cook for 3 minutes on one side, turn over and cook for another 3 minutes.  Transfer the balls to a platter or cookie sheet to cool.  They are delicate at this point, but will firm up when cooled.

When cooled, compress the balls further with your hands-- they will expand when cooked in liquid or a thin sauce.

Keep refrigerated for several days, or freeze. I coated the 12 meatballs lightly in flour and simmered them in about 1 cup of "chicken-y" broth at medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the broth reduced to about 1/2 cup; then added vegan sour cream and some homemade pesto-- delicious!

The "meatballs" are tender and moist. You can use your imagination when saucing them-- or improvise using the recipes of many cuisines.

FOR THE VEGGIE "CRUMBLE": This is great to use in "meat loaves"; chile (which we had tonight), taco filling, Shepherd's Pie, spaghetti sauce, lasagna, etc., in place of commercial vegan hamburger replacements, such as Yves "Ground Round".  Press about 12 oz. of the Burger Mix into a parchment-lined Pyrex pie pan, cover and microwave as for the Burgers.  When thoroughly cool, crumble with your fingers and Keep refrigerated for several days, or freeze.

Before cooking

After cooking
Crumbled and ready to cook with or freeze

Method #2, Steaming:
FOR BURGERS AND VEGGIE "CRUMBLE: Steam the burgers, or large "patty/ies" of Veggie "Crumble" (see above), on metal or bamboo steamer baskets over simmering water for 20 minutes. (Make sure to spray the steamer basket with oil first, or line with cooking parchment with a few holes poked in it).  Handle and cool as directed above under microwave directions.

FOR "MEATBALLS": "Meatballs" should only take about 10 minutes steaming, as directed above. Handle as directed above under microwave directions.

Method #3, Baking:
FOR ALL THE PRODUCTS: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place a shallow pan of hot water on the lowest rack. Place whichever shape or product you are making on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover loosely with foil, not touching the tops of the patties, but sealed around the edges of the pan(s).  When the oven comes up to temperature, bake for 20 minutes. They will cook in their own steam. Handle and cool as directed above under microwave directions.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 149 calories, 27 calories from fat, 3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 604mg sodium, 143.8mg potassium, 12.6g carbohydrates, 1.7g fiber, 1.2g sugar, 18.2g protein, 3.9 points.


(This type of product is called "Soya Mince" in the UK and other British Commonwealth countries.)

Bob's Red Mill Organic TSP

Now Foods Textured Soy Protein Granules-Certified Organic

***If you live in Canada, in a city with a "Bulk Barn" (a Nova Scotia-based bulk food store chain), you can order 10 kg bags of "Minced TVP" at a very reasonable price (even if your store doesn't stock it), and it keeps very well.  It is a product from Grain Process Enterprises in Scarborough, Ontario, which was listed on the "Oh She Glows" blog under "Organic Wholesalers":



Anonymous said...

Great recipe Bryanna, thanks! I noticed in a previous onion soup recipe that you mentioned Marmite (!) is "the beefiest taste going." Could some of that be added to this recipe?

Also, I have some friends who are gluten-free. Could the wheat gluten be replaced with a combination of aquafaba and tapioca/garbanzo flour?

Happy New Year!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks, anonymous. Yes, you could try adding a little Marmite-- I didn't use it because some people have trouble finding it. As for gluten-free, you're on your own. The combo you mention would not have the same qualities as gluten powder. I would recommend having a look at some GF vegan sausage recipes online for ideas to stick everything together and have some "bite". Happy New year to you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I've seen Marmite (and Vegemite too) in the food section of CostPlus, a "stuff for the home" type of store with locations all over the place. Definitely not the first place that would come to mind when people are looking for that sort of thing, but they have a nice little selection of imported foods.

Bev said...

I'm so glad to have found your blog! I've had Nonna's Kitchen since we made the vegetarian to vegan step 4 years ago, and just got your newest cookbook from the library. I need to buy it!

I was wondering what you think of grated carrots and beets subbing for the beans? I've used them in other burger recipes, and like the flavor and texture.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Hi, Bev! Thanks for writing! I really can't say whether or not you could successfully substitute frated root veggies for beans. They are very different. But, it's worth a try! (Perhaps with a half a recipe?)Let me know how it turns out!