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Veggie Burgers

Veggie burgers can be almost as polarizing as politics. You pretty much love them or hate them.

But, BistroMD, a website devoted to helping you lose weight, contends veggie burgers do not have to be rubbery, mushy or tasteless.

For those of us looking to eat a little healthier in this post-pandemic world, plant-based burgers can be a better option.

"To get a somewhat meaty consistency and delicious taste, it is important to use a base of beans, spices and, of course, veggies," the site says.

Here's some of the site's tips on how to make a good veggie burger:

Do not over mix the beans — Pulse the beans (black beans or chickpeas are most-often used) and other ingredients in a blender or food processor to mix ingredients and mash the beans slightly. You also can do this with a fork. The beans should not be pulverized or over blended, which will result in a mushy burger.

Use the right spice blend — It's personal preference for things like heat, but most recipes call for cumin, salt, pepper and a dash of chili powder or hot sauce. Paprika, garlic or onion powder can also be tasty spice additions for veggie burgers. But, really, pretty much any you like spices can be used.

Add in a binding agent — This could be eggs, flax egg replacer, breadcrumbs, oats or flour.

Balance texture — Add contrast to the beans with sauteed vegetables, nuts or cooked grains.

Best Veggie Burger

Makes 8 servings. Recipe is from BistroMD.

1 (15-ounce) can of chickpeas, rinsed and dried

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 carrot, peeled and grated

½ red onion, diced

½ red bell pepper, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 large egg

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon hot sauce (or to taste)

1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, dill, etc.)

Salt and pepper

½ cup breadcrumbs

1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, pour into a large bowl, and gently pat with a paper towel to remove excess water. Either mash chickpeas with a fork in the bowl or transfer to a blender/food processor. Pulse until beans are about ¾ mashed then add back in the bowl.

2. Heat a pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute carrot, onion, bell pepper and garlic until soft and onion are translucent. Transfer vegetables and the egg to a blender or food processor and blend until mostly pureed.

3. Combine with mashed chickpeas, spices and breadcrumbs. Stir to combine until slightly moldable for burger-like patties. If the mixture is not holding together, add a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs until more solidified.

4. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and divide the burger mixture into 8 patties. Fry in batches for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden, then drain on kitchen paper.

5. Serve with desired toppings with or without buns. 

Nutritional information per serving (not including toppings or bun): 272 calories, 7 g fat, 13 g protein, 41 g carbohydrate, 11 g fiber