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Binder for TVP veggie burgers

I'm trying to come up with a really meat-like veggie burger using TVP. I've got the flavours down fine, and added some sauteed shredded carrot, onion and celery for crunch, along with some bread crumbs but I'm stumped on the binder. Nothing really wants to hold the rehydrated TVP together. I've tried blending a raw potato and then cooking it into glue - didn't work. My next step is an egg which I'll add reluctantly because I would prefer that this stays vegan. But if not, not. I'm also considering pulverized rolled oats along with the bread crumbs. Anyone come up with a solution to this? I'd like the burgers to be grillable - so they have to hold up until they've cooked through. This is a puzzle.

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  1. Try gelatin.. is there vegan gelatin?

    2 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      Gelatin isn't going to do the trick because it's only gluey when cold. Once the burgers get on the grill, the gelatin will let go and they'll disintegrate. I think I need something that gets gluey when cold and, if anything, sets up even more when cooked.

      1. re: Nyleve

        Disagree. I got the idea from ATK, who wrote of their meatloaf:
        "Crushed saltines, our choice for the starchy filler, provided texture, but we felt our meat loaf needed more “sliceability.” Surprisingly, gelatin gave us just the smooth, luxurious texture we sought."

      1. Amy's Organic refried beans will glue those nasty bastards together.

        At least go for the ones with chiles so you can live a little.

        1 Reply
        1. re: CDouglas

          Snork.

          I'm working on it right now. This attempt is with cooked oatmeal - which seems to be doing the trick at least while the mixture is still warm. I will continue to report as the experiment progresses.

          I understand your derision, CDouglas. Totally. But I have to get this thing licked for a particular reason. I don't expect to be giving up meat anytime soon. I may add a chopped chile to the formula once I've got it sticking together properly.

          1. So far, so bad. Cooked oatmeal holds the patties together but they fall apart on the grill. And I was using an oiled grill-top thing. Then I added some egg - which I didn't want to do - in the hopes that it would glue stuff together when cooked. Nope. I can't see how blended beans will work any better. This is ridiculous.That crazy meatloaf site - the Magic Loaf Studio - lists several other possibilities, including flaxseed meal, tapioca, cream of wheat, soy flour, potato flour. I'm not sure what to try next.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Nyleve

              If you were willing to use eggs why not go ahead and use mayonnaise? Mayo and cracker meal are typical binders used in crab cakes and after a short refrigeration those can be grilled (carefully).

              1. re: CDouglas

                In a crab cake - same as with meat - the meat fibers are what actually hold the unit together. They mesh and form a structure that helps a burger or crab cake stay together. Mayo won't be any better than an egg - and the egg was clearly not up to the task at hand. Because the little bits of TVP are so separate and because they don't have any ability to cling together and mesh like meat, they need a serious kind of glue if they're going to form a burger. I'm about to give up on this project. I may try it again with some pureed beans but I don't hold much hope that it will work. I suspect anything that would be capable of sticking the thing together would then cause the burger itself to be inedibly rubbery.

                I'm going to work on a good mushroom burger. Seems more promising. Also more delicious. Results to follow.

                1. re: Nyleve

                  I have a great mushroom burger recipe:
                  Grill 1 large and thick portobella mushroom cap brushed with vegetable oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

                  Put on a bun and top with some Teese and Smart Bacon and you are all set and still vegan.

              2. re: Nyleve

                Lentils are another option. I've been using cooked lentils, mashed and refried, to good effect. I use petite crimsons still in the hull, but brown or puy might work. Thanks for reporting back. Veggie burgers are tricky, and I'd love to know if you find a binder that works.

                Also, there's this forum from Postpunk Kitchen where they are discussing this (using chickpea flour and vital wheat gluten are mentioned): http://forum.theppk.com/viewtopic.php... If you poke around the forums on this website, you'll find a few more on this topic. Also, here is a link to one of the recipes in one of the cookbooks discussed (it uses setain): http://justthefood.blogspot.com/2011/...

                Good luck!

                1. re: onceadaylily

                  I wish I could believe that lentils would work. I just don't. I want a burger that I can put on a grill and that will stick together long enough to get cooked, flipped and transferred to a bun. Once it gets to the bun, it would also be nice if it tasted good and wasn't dense and so very grimly health-foody. This is a depressing quest.

                2. re: Nyleve

                  Flaxseed meal mixed with boiling water that sat for a few minutes is seriously gluey. But it's an egg replacer, so it might not work.