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.