Vegan Mofo #5 - Joni’s BLT and Avocado Burger
The Book - The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet
The Author - Joni Marie Newman
The Recipe - BLT and Avocado Burger
Page # 106
Difficulty - Relatively Easy
Duration - The recipe says the burger dough has to rest for 20 minutes. Then it needs to be baked for 35 minutes. Active time is pretty minimal though. Will take longer if you make your own buns, and your own bacon bits.
I originally chose to make this burger because I read BLT and Avocado and was immediately sold. I mean who doesn’t love some veggie bacon, and an avocado? Put the two together and you’re in heaven am I right? It was too good a combination to pass up, plus I had all the ingredients handy. I was however a little intimidated by the recipe. It calls for a whopping 1 cup of bacon bits, and 1 cup of wheat gluten plus 1 cup of all purpose flour. I was also daunted by the prospect of having to make the bacon bits myself from TVP and then making my own buns. Luckily I did a little planning ahead and so I made the buns the day before, and the bacon bits in the morning for a pretty easy throw together meal.
I used the bacon bits recipe on page 185 of The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet and they turned out great. Perfect flavor profile, tasted great just own their own too! For the buns I used the Scarborough Fair Buns on page 195 of the book Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites by Joni Marie Newman and Celine Steen. The buns turned out perfect and delicious, they were by far my favorite part of the entire meal.
As for the BLT burger - it is a bit of a process. You make your burger dough and personally I found it a bit too wet so I had to add more gluten, and flour. Next you let it rest then form it into 8 patties. Forming the patties was a bit difficult because the chopped tomatoes and bacon bits that go into the dough didn’t really want to stay in the dough despite my efforts at kneading them in. Once you have your eight patties you mash your avocado. Then you divide your avocado putting a heaping scoop onto four of the patties. You then layer the remaining patties over the four patties covered in avocado. The layering was hard. I pinched and pinched and the patties did not want to seal properly. Oh well - I baked them anyway as per the book’s instructions. I baked them for the exact time, actually five minutes longer but they weren’t quite done, though I didn’t realize this until I took my first bite.
I dressed my burger with lettuce, tomato and a bit of vegan mayo. - I did not top it off with extra bacon bits as the recipe notes suggest because really 1 cup of them is quite enough in one meal I think, but to each their own. Perhaps a few strips of tempeh bacon instead would have worked well? - I eagerly took my first bite and the burger tasted like mush. It was chewy in some places, but mostly it was soft, squishy, a little mushy. The flavor of the burger was pretty decent but they obviously needed to be baked longer. It was pretty late in the evening at this point around 10:30 since my husband and I have a tendency to eat quite late, and so I put the other two burgers back into the oven. I baked them an extra twenty to twenty-five minutes, and they were much firmer.
By then however I was pretty turned off by the quality of the burger already on my plate. The texture reminded me so much of raw ground beef that I just couldn’t bring myself to eat the second one. Even the next day that horrible texture stayed in my memory and so I never got to eat the re-baked version. My husband said that after the second baking it was much better, and much tastier though, I don’t think it was his favorite burger.
Also, as much as I like seitan I think I prefer it much less as a burger. Too much wheat gluten and the burger has a ‘taste’ to me that isn’t quite appetizing. Perhaps a half cup of wheat gluten would have been better along with some chickpea flour and a little liquid smoke right in the batter rather then the full 1 cup of bacon bits.
Now, just because this burger wasn’t exactly my cup of tea doesn’t mean you won’t like it. You may like TVP and wheat gluten a lot more then I do. As long as you adjust the baking time to get the burgers to your preferred doneness level you should be alright.
I can however highly, highly recommend the Scarborough Fair Buns though - they’re simply to die for!