Finally, a veggie burger recipe that doesn’t turn out like a rubbery hockey puck. After cracking the code, the key is controlling the moisture, along with sourcing the proper vegetables for texture and binding. Note: You can make the patties in batches of two or three.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the chickpeas in a single layer across a baking sheet. On another baking sheet, place the mushroom caps crown side down. Roast the chickpeas and mushrooms for 20 minutes. Remove the chickpeas from the oven and set aside. Remove the mushrooms, drain off any visible liquid, and then flip and roast for an additional 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a food processor, pulse the cooled chickpeas until they reach a semi-coarse, gravel-like consistency. Clean out the food processor, then pulse the cooled mushrooms until they reach a fine, duxelles-like consistency. Squeeze the processed mushrooms through a piece of cheesecloth to remove as much residual liquid as possible. Both the chickpea and mushroom mixtures should yield approximately ¾ cup each.
- In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, mushrooms, wheat berries, and pressed and drained carrots and onions. Add the egg, avocado, mayonnaise, and panko and combine well with your hands. The resulting mixture should be uniform in texture and a little wet, not unlike raw ground beef. Sample the mixture, then season with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.
- Using an ice cream scoop, portion the mixture into consistently sized balls and place them on a paper-towel-lined plate or baking sheet. Cover with wax paper and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, or ideally overnight. The paper towels should absorb a good amount of liquid that seeps from the patties as they set.
- The patties should be as cold as possible before you cook them; when you're making a batch, leave the tray in the refrigerator and remove only the patties you’re ready to season and sear. Start by pressing one ball between two quart-container lids or small plates to form a patty that is roughly ½ inch thick and 3½ to 4 inches across. Lightly season one side of the patty with salt and pepper, then squeeze on a generous “W” of yellow mustard, spreading it to the edges of the patty with the back of a spoon.
- Heat the oil or butter in a cast-iron skillet over high heat and add the patty, mustard side down. While it cooks, repeat the same salt-pepper-mustard treatment on the side facing up. Cook the patty 3 minutes on each side, or until it forms a consistent crust; if you’re using cheese, place it on the patty for the final 2 minutes of cooking. Remove the patty from the heat, place it on a Martin’s Potato Roll with lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayonnaise and eat immediately.
A Philadelphia-based food and drink writer, Drew Lazor has contributed to Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Lucky Peach, The Philadelphia Inquirer, PUNCH, Saveur, and Serious Eats.