Vegetarian Burger Experiment

Edible

The finished product along with zero calories dill pickles. I guessed 200 calories per pattie but it may be as low as 150 each.

I am now in the healthy stage of life. That means that I am overweight, have high cholesterol numbers, and shortness of breath after bending down to tie my shoes (at least I still tie them..no Velcro for me).

Now if I want to add on a few years to my enjoyable life it may help to eat well and exercise. Where did I hear that before? The exercise part, at this point, consists of mowing the lawn each week (1.5 hours total, 675 calories). Other forms of exercise (walking, jumping, bending, etc. bore me). The diet part is working out pretty good since I started counting calories with an iPad app called My Fitness Pal. My daughter Lenore (exercise freak & 1/2 marathon runner) told me about it.

Recently I learned that hamburgers are not the most healthy food when you consider all the cholesterol and calories in them (“Stay away from red meat” said my family doctor). One alternative is vegetarian burgers. I have tried the store-bought frozen varieties and some of them are pretty good. All of them cost over $1.50 per burger. I can get a burger, bun, and condiments, all cooked, at McDonald’s for $0.89. What’s wrong with this picture? Maybe I have to try to make these veggie burgers myself. I started out by challenging a friend of my son’s, Jill, to bring homemade veggie burgers to a recent cookout we all attended. She did and they were great! That gave me the incentive to try to make them myself.

MixAndGrind

I mixed everything together first before grinding. I used a little electric food chopper (don’t have a food processor) & did it in stages. The result is in the bowl on left.

I got a recipe from an Internet site and tried it out. I used rice for the texture, black beans for the meat, and cornmeal (grits) for the base ingredient.  Lightly fried carrots, onions, and celery were part of the mix along with a healthy garlic clove (I can still smell that with every breath). Barbecue sauce (liquid flavor), paprika, and Italian dry seasoning were added for more flavor. It took way too long to make 8 burgers! I also ended up with a real messy kitchen; although my wife did clean it up for me.

Results? I would ditch the Italian seasoning next time. It does not work. I might use a more dense barbecue sauce and more of it too … or maybe steak sauce. The burgers themselves actually looked like hamburger and held together real well. I ate them with no bun or condiments. This is definitely a recipe that needs to mature, but  I think I have the basics down. All in all, a good experiment!

MeatTexture

How’s that for something that looks like hamburger but isn’t? They held together well. Total yield was 8 large burgers (this bowl was filled eventually). Excess burgers were put on waxed paper and frozen.

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