Gone Vegan

Lindsay Hutton discovers the politics and pragmatics behind a meat and dairy-free diet.

My barbecue has clocked more mileage in this past week than it has all summer. With the stifling out-of-doors more resembling a sauna kicked up to overdrive and an air conditioner on the fritz, the less time I can spend in a hot kitchen, all the better. Either way, I can’t do a thing with my hair. 

Grilling burgers is a favourite, obviously. Veggie options abound in the frozen foods section, but $5-8 for a mere four portions is a bit rich for this cheapskate. Also, as I have posted before, boxed veggie burgers can run a bit high in sodium and preservatives. That said, mashing up a few staples found in your cupboard with a bit of fresh vegetable can yield satisfying, yummy results on the cheap. 

Making your own veggie burgers can be a bit frustrating in the actual cooking process – many of the substances used to hold the mixture together on the grill are animal based. Be sure to dice the vegetables and onions as finely as you can – big chunks of veggies won’t help in maintaining its form. With that in mind, most homemade burgers usually require cooking on a foil or metal grilling pan made specifically for a barbecue, or need to be baked in an oven for a few minutes before grilling to sear the outside of the patty.

This is a recipe I’ve been tooling around with for a few years. They freeze wonderfully, and are carnivore-friendly. 

Lindsay’s Bean Burgers  

(Yields 6-8 patties, depending on your size preference.

1 carrot, grated

1 can kidney beans, lightly mashed

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1/2 cup finely diced green or red bell pepper

1/2 cup finely diced onion

2 cups salsa

¼ cup vegetable oil

11/4 cup dried bread crumbs

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

salt to taste

2 tsp chili powder 

1. Mash the beans and grated carrot together in a large bowl. Mix in the bell pepper, onion, salsa, bread crumbs, oil and whole wheat flour. Season with salt, black pepper, and chili powder. 

2. If the mixture feels a bit dry, add a bit of salsa. If a bit to wet, add another sprinkling of flour. The mixture should be a bit sticky, and should form into firm patties. Form mixture into 8 patties, and be sure to press the patties together firmly. Place on grilling pan with an oiled sheet of tin foil.

3. Grill on medium heat and cook the patties for about 8 minutes on each side, or until browned and firm.

4. Top with avocado, a slice of tomato and enjoy.