Monday, April 5, 2010

Would You Like Fries with That?

There's loads of advantages to being vegan — we're generally healthier, more compassionate, and we have a greater variety of exotic and interesting foods to work with. But one of my absolute favorite reasons for being vegan is the variety of veggie burgers we can choose from!

Omnis have beef, turkey, bison, and maybe a few other choices. But we can make burgers from any combination of plant protein, beans, grains, and vegetables. Heck, there's over 50 different veggie burger recipes in Louise Hagler's Meatless Burgers, another fun title from the Farm's Book Publishing Company in Summertown, Tennessee. In case you've been living under a rock, Hagler is the vegan pioneer behind numerous old-school titles, like Tofu Cookery and the New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook.

With recipes divided by Bean & Grain Burgers, Soyfood Burgers, Vegetable Burgers, and Ethnic Burgers (think lentil-based Indian-spiced patties and Indonesian peanutty tofu burgers), it was hard to choose which recipe to try first. But I settled on the Beet Burger, a soft tofu and beet-based patty with a pink beefy hue:

I'd been craving beets lately, and though the exotic burgers sounded tempting, I couldn't resist an opportunity to sneak a serving of vegetables into my burger patty.

I served the burgers on Sweet Potato Buns, another recipe from the book. As you can see from the photo, the buns came out a little flat. I subbed whole wheat pastry flour for the AP flour in the recipe, and I've learned from past experience that pastry flour doesn't rise well with buns. Despite already knowing that, I still couldn't bring myself to use white flour. But they were very soft and tasty, nonetheless.

Not only does Hagler's book contain a motherlode of burger recipes, she also includes instructions for making side dishes, condiments, buns, and even milkshakes. I dressed the burger with Hagler's Tangy Tofu Salad Dressing, a lower-fat version of vegan mayo. The burger was made complete with a little Follow Your Heart vegan Cheddar, tomato, and lettuce.

On the side, I baked up some of Hagler's Oven-Roasted Potato Wedges:

These wedges of red potato and Yukon Golds were perfectly-spiced with plenty of onion and garlic powder, my two very favorite seasonings. I dipped them in liberal amounts of ketchup.

Of course, I couldn't resist rounding out this meal with one of Hagler's homemade vegan milkshakes. I opted for this creamy Banana Shake:

It's made from vanilla soy cream (I used So Delicious Fruit-Sweetened Vanilla), a frozen banana, and soymilk. That's it. Hagler includes a calorie count for every item (which I love because I'm a calorie counter ... blame that on my obsessive Type A personality), and the banana shake had the lowest count since the addition of a frozen banana cut down on the amount of ice cream needed to make this shake creamy and delicious.

With warm spring and summer days on the horizon, Hagler's book is the perfect seasonal guide to the quintessential American meal.

25 comments:

Midnite said...

I so <3 your straws. I'm jealous!

Veg is Sexy said...

I always want fries with that.

T said...

Beet burgers and sweet potato buns! That sounds so amazing! I really love burgers and I've been craving them lately.... sounds like a awesome cookbook.

Vegan Valerie said...

I guess I am one of those vegans that's been hiding under a rock, cause I hadn't heard of Louise Hagler or any of her cookbooks. But I'll be the first to admit that I have a great deal yet to learn on my vegan adventure.

So thanks, Bianca, for the heads up about this awesome author and her work! Everything looks so delicious! I can't wait to try it out for myself! :)

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

a great review. I'm always on the lookout for a new burger recipe that will actually hold together!

Millie said...

I agree with vegan Valerie...never heard of him either...but we learn something everyday. Love the beet burger.

http://nuestracena-vegancuisine.blogspot.com

aTxVegn said...

Great review! I love cookbooks with calorie counts too. A burger cookbook for grilling season is just what I need!

Anna said...

I've made a few burgers out of that book and they're always tasty. My only issue with burgers is that I like mine to hang together and I seem to always make them so they fall apart! There's a new burger book out soon that I've pre-ordered from Amazon. I've found burgers a great way to get vegetables into kids, my boys will eat anything if you wrap a bit of bread around it!

Must buy some glass straws, keep forgetting to see if they're available to be shipped to the UK...

The Voracious Vegan said...

I LOVE veggie burgers SO much and these look fantastic. That bright color is just gorgeous. But the real star of the show, for me, is always the fries and yours are perfect!

Keri - I Eat Trees said...

That beet burger looks delicious! I need to give making burgers outside of my black bean comfort zone a try!

Megan said...

Thanks for pointing out so many awesome books from Book Publishing Co. I remember first discovering the original Farm Cookbook in a school library many, many years ago... my love affair with nutritional yeast sprung from her mac-n-yeast recipe.

jessy said...

you're so right about us having such a rock'n variety of veggie 'n bean burgers to choose from. the beet burger looks amazing - i love the color, and the dressing sounds excellent! your sweet potato bun = perfect and the fries look sooooo goooooooood! i should try some onion powder on mine sometime, i usually just sprinkle on the garlic salt and drown then in ketchup. burgers 'n fries and great weather = the best!

McKella said...

I haven't been very successful with homemade veggies burgers because they always fall apart, but those beet burgers look mighty fine. And the potato wedges. Yummy.

amandasdomestic said...

Thanks for the review - everything you made looks delicious and barbecue worthy!! I esp. love that milkshake, yum!

The Shenandoah Vegan said...

You really make some neat stuff!

prideandvegudice.com said...

How fun! Vegan diner at Bianca's!

Ricki said...

That's such a coincidence, that we both posted beet burgers on almost the same day! (If I weren't so behind in my blog reading, I would have known that, of course) ;)

Curious about how her ingredients compare to mine--are you able to share the recipe, or at least the main ingredients?

Sarah @ See Sarah Eat said...

Oh my gosh, I want a beet burger, like now! I would love that cookbook for sure :)

I'm a calorie counter too, glad I'm not alone there, haha!

Michal said...

That book looks awesome! I want it! :) Thanks for talking about this book, i had never heard of it before.

Tanya said...

Ok, I must have that book!!

A-K said...

Wow, another beet burger! Those look awesome, even if they're a little "raw" meaty-looking as well.

Have you tried straight up whole wheat flour for your rolls? I don't know if they're yeasted or not, but you need the gluten for a good rise on those kinds of things :-) Thanks for the heads up about the book!

Pure2raw twins said...

Burger looks good! And a sweet potato oh my! YUM!

josh said...

just a thought on your flat buns (lol) - please excuse me if this is all old news!

whole wheat particles have sharp/pokey edges, so when the "gluten web" is put under strain by the gas bubbles from the yeast, those little bits tear holes in the web, letting the precious air out.

also, pastry flour is different from AP flour because it has lass gluten (who wants tough, chewy pastry crusts?). bread flour has even more gluten. the way i get around having too many flours hanging around is to have some gluten (bob's red mill is the best ... pretty high QPR). i usually add 1T (or so) for every cup of AP white flour, a rounded T for every cup of WW.

here's a link i just found that shows the difference between flours re: protein content:

http://www.nyx.net/~dgreenw/whatistheproteinorglutenco.html

also, WW is really thirsty and will suck the moisture out of your life. try taking out 1 T from every cup of flour. stir the flour, fill the cup with a spoon, level it, then scoop out 1 T before adding it to the recipe. it sounds like a process, but something worth doing is worth doing right, right?

Nicci@NiftyEats said...

I want to try this Vegan burger asap. Looks delicious.

Louise said...

Thanks Bianca for your sweet review. You chose some of my favorites from Meatless Burgers. I have found lately that I like using ground flax seed or chia seed instead of vital wheat gluten for holding the burgers together, but it still seems all veggie burgers are a bit delicate. If you let them cool for a few minutes before trying to move them, it helps. Josh's comments on flour are right on. What kind of flour you use usually comes down to a matter of taste or what you have on hand.
In case anyone wants more info, I have just published the second in a series of blog post for soyfoods month on my blog, Louise Hagler's Blog at http://blog.louisehagler.com/ .