Not only vegetarians and vegans, but also veggie burgers are popular. We make the case for plant-based alternatives and include soy, seitan and co.
A burger is not the same as beef. Vegetarians and vegans also love this dish and always come up with new recipes for it. Flexitarians who want to reduce their meat consumption to a reasonable amount of time like to use a plant-based patty option.
First of all: In general, a veggie burger is less healthy than a meat burger. After all, food consists of many ingredients. What’s important is what’s in and out of it. Anna-Lena Clapp says: But there are good reasons to make plant-based pies. A nutrition expert from Proveg Germany lists the most important ones:
- Plant-based patties have higher quality proteins and, on average, less saturated fat than animal-based patties.
- They have almost no cholesterol.
- They contain fiber.
“Of course, you should always look at the nutritional value of a particular product,” says Clapp. It depends, for example, on the exact ingredients and the degree of processing.
What are vegetarian patties made of?
Instead of meat, plant-based patties are made from plant-based foods – often combined with a mixture of:
- Legumes, especially soybeans, but also other legumes, chickpeas or lupins
- made from whole grains, such as uncooked or millet, both of which have a good consistency, or seitan, made from wheat protein
- from vegetables such as beets, kohlrabi or eggplant
- from seeds, such as sunflower seeds
What holds the pie together?
Vegetarians can use egg as a binding agent. Anna-Lena Clapp offers the following options for binding pie ingredients for vegetarians:
- tomato paste
- seitan powder
- ground flaxseed or psyllium husk
- soy flour
Tip: Let the mixture rise for 15 to 30 minutes before forming the patties for better adhesion.
Different foods can be combined in different ways. There are no limits to creativity with a veggie burger. For example, we recommend the following vegetarian recipe by Proveg chef Serkan Tunca and the sauce to go with it.
Kidney burger with beetroot mayo
Ingredients (for 4-5 patties):
- 1 can of beans (400 g)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper from the mill
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder, sweet
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 chopped onion
- 80 grams of rolled oats
- 4 tablespoons of soy sauce (variety: Tamari)
- 1 tablespoon yeast powder
- 5 7 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
- 3 spoons of wheat flour
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Rinse the beans in a sieve for a while and drain well.
3. After that, put it in a bowl and make a small puree with a hand blender so that the beans become a little bigger.
4. Fry finely chopped onions in a pan with 2 tablespoons of oil until transparent. Add to the kidney beans along with all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
5. Make 4-5 patties with wet hands and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If the mixture is too wet, add a few more breadcrumbs.
6. Bake the patties in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, then wait until they cool down a little.
7. Heat a non-stick skillet over high with 3-4 tablespoons of canola oil. On medium-low, cook the patties for 2-3 minutes on each side until evenly browned.
Tip: If the patties cool after baking, they can be frozen until the final step – pan frying. It is better to put baking paper in the middle, this will be easier to remove later. After removing the patties from the freezer, they are placed in the refrigerator for 12 hours to slowly thaw, and then fried as described.
Ingredients (beetroot mayo for 4-5 patties):
- 40 ml soy milk (important: sugar-free)
- 120 ml canola oil
- Salt and pepper from the mill
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1 small beetroot, boiled and very finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons mustard, medium heat
1. Combine soy milk, mustard, a pinch of salt and lemon juice in an immersion blender.
2. Gradually add rapeseed oil and puree everything until it has a mayonnaise-like consistency.
3. As soon as the mayo reaches the desired consistency, add the beets and blend again until smooth.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
What else goes into a veggie burger?
As with a regular burger, the veggie model can be topped with a variety of toppings. From marinated to fried, it can be an onion, a fresh vegetable or a slice of pineapple as a fruity ingredient. Anything tasty and vegan or vegetarian is allowed.
Common types of ketchup and mustard go well with veggie burgers. And if you can’t handle vegan mayo yourself, you can get it from the supermarket.
Most of the cheeses are also available for vegetarians. For vegetarians, there are vegan cheeses that melt right on top of brownies once they’re in the pan.
Are veggie burgers good for the climate?
When comparing CO2 footprints, veggie burgers perform significantly better than meat burgers.
According to the Heidelberg Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (ifeu) 2020, reference year 2019, the CO2 footprint (in kilograms of CO2 equivalent per kilogram of food):
- Soy-based patty/vegetable burger/patty: 1.1
- Bean patty/veggie burger/patty: 1.8
- Beef / Patties / Frozen: 9.0
Britta Klein, science editor of the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE), criticizes the sole focus on the CO2 footprint.
He says: “This is the narrowness of the idea of climate protection.” Whether the food climate balance is good or bad depends on many other aspects – such as land use, biodiversity and animal welfare.
It’s not enough to say, “Beef is bad and plant-based foods are good,” says Klein. It is difficult to establish a CO2 footprint for a product with different ingredients such as grains, seeds or vegetables – sometimes with different origins.
How can I eat environmentally friendly?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a conscious and moderate meat eater or a vegetarian or vegan or insecure – Britta Klein has these tips for you ecological and climate clean nutrition:
- Buy as little processed food as possible. The best way to cook is with fresh ingredients. But the expert also knows: “Sometimes ready-made products are just practical, and everything else is not real. It is necessary to see: what will life give?
- Buy ingredients in season – and above all, local produce like beets. This is strengthening the agriculture of the region. “When beets are planted in the country, there is often no new storage,” says Klein.
- Track your travel expenses. “Any product, no matter how great it is, if it’s going to be bought over the long haul with an SUV,” says Klein.
- Buy foods without packaging whenever possible.
- To avoid any leftovers from the store, throw away only when the food is really spoiled. “Forty percent of what a family buys goes to waste,” says Klein. A person who makes sure that there is not much waste left is already doing a lot for the climate and the environment. Even if the expiration date has passed, you should check if the product is really bad.