Vegan or vegetarian burgers are everywhere so why would you want to make your own? Well, these seitan burgers are better. They hold up well to cooking on a barbecue unlike most vegan burgers and they have a fantastic texture.
I have also noted how expensive plant-based burgers can be, especially products like the Beyond Burger. Once you have the ingredients for these seitan burgers you can easily make 12 at a time for very little expense. You will also be able to make most of the other meat substitutes on Seitan And More.
If you don’t know what seitan is, check out this article. Basically, we take the protein part of wheat flour and use this to make a meat substitute. The texture of seitan is very reminiscent of meat, it’s firm and has a bite to it and carries flavours really well.
The seitan for this burger is made with a product called vital wheat gluten. Vital wheat gluten is more and more common now and can usually be found in the baking section of large stores or online.
Creating A Burger Texture From Seitan
Seitan has a texture very similar to meat when handled in the right way. If you don’t incorporate some more crumbly texture you’ll find the burgers are too firm and more steak-like in texture.
To counter this it is a good idea to introduce a more crumbly texture. Textured soy protein is the perfect answer to this. It is used as a vegan minced meat substitute already and when we incorporate it with seitan it makes the burgers tender and really similar to a normal burger texture.
What Is Textured Soy Protein?
Soy protein is a plant-based protein that is comparable in protein content to some meats. It is used in many commercial catering applications as a meat substitute or as a way of making meat go further.
It comes in various sizes from large curls to finely minced granules. We are going to use a fairly small mince granule to add texture to our burgers. If you have larger textured soy protein you can always put it in a food processor to cut it into smaller granules.
Introducing Flavour To Our Burgers
The beauty of burgers is that you can flavour them how you want, if you like spice you can add chillies, you can add herbs or garlic. To get the base flavour though we need to add some savoury and meaty (but still vegan) flavours.
- Soy sauce introduces both colours to darken the seitan and a big punch of salty, savouriness.
- Miso paste made from fermented soybeans is another really umami-packed flavouring, also salty but the glutamates in it add to that meaty character.
- Onion powder is used not necessarily to introduce an onion flavour but rather for the umami quality it brings. I use it in a lot of my vegan meat recipes.
- Vegan beef broth/stock powder is an easy way to introduce that beef flavour. You can purchase it online and it makes it really easy to create the flavours we are looking for.
- Marmite/Mushroom powder: If you can find marmite or vegemite depending on where you like then it really boosts the flavour of vegan meats. It’s made from yeast that has been cooked down and seasoned and is really flavourful. If you can’t find marmite then dried mushroom powder adds a deeply savoury note that is similar.
Getting The Seitan Burger Colour Right
Seitan alone is quite pale and although you can fry it to brown it slightly it is never going to look like a burger.
The best way to get the colour just right is to use two ingredients:
- Beet powder is a dried beetroot that has been ground into a powder, it is deep red but will go slightly brown when cooked. You could just use cooked beetroot if you can’t find beet powder.
- Liquid browning is dark brown and is made with caramel and seasoning. It will introduce some savoury flavours but you’ll only need 1/2 teaspoon for this burger recipe.
You also need to consider the colour before the burgers are charred on the grill or in the pan which will add colour too,
How To Shape Seitan Burgers
If you are like me and have a fancy burger press then you will have no problems shaping your seitan burgers. The seitan won’t stick to a press even without plastic wrap.
If you don’t have a burger press you can always shape your burgers by hand, they will look a little rustic but once cooked you can hardly tell the difference.
If you want to try and make your burgers a little neater you could use a ring like a large cookie cutter or make a wring by cutting a section of a plastic bottle that’s the right size. Push the seitan into the wring and you will have nice round burgers.
- 6 tbsp textured soy protein granules
- 6tbsp boiling water
- 360ml water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp miso paste
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp marmite / mushroom powder (optional)
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 300g vital wheat gluten
- 1 tbsp chickpea flour
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 170°C / 350°F
- Combine the textured soy protein and the boiling water in a bowl and leave to rehydrate for around 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl combine the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. To the wet mixture add the textured soy protein and set it to one side.
- In a separate large bowl combine all the dried ingredients and mix thoroughly to remove any lumps.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and then combine with a spatula. Once all the ingredients are just combined leave the seitan to avoid overworking it.
- Pull off chunks of seitan around 100g - 110g to make 12 pieces. Shape the seitan into balls and flatten into patties either by hand or using a burger press.
- Place the formed patties onto a rack lined with foil. Use a rack rather than a tray to prevent the bottom of the burgers from browning too much. Cover the rack with another sheet of foil loosely. Seal the edges to form an airtight package.
- Place the rack into the oven and bake for 50 minutes. After 50 minutes remove from the oven and allow to cool whilst still covered in foil.
- Once cool the burgers will need to be refrigerated for a few hours to firm up. I usually make them the day before and then refrigerate them overnight.
- Once chilled for at least a few hours you can cook the burgers by frying in a little oil, grilling on the barbeque or however you like.
The burgers can be stored in an airtight zip-seal bag in the fridge for up to 7 days or frozen for months.
How To Store The Burgers?
The burgers can be kept in the fridge for up to 7 days in an airtight container or ziplock bag. If you want to make a bigger batch and keep them longer then put them in ziplock bags and freeze them for several months.
When you are ready to cook them remove them from the freezer and defrost and then grill or pan-fry in a little oil. Remember they are already cooked so just need to be heated throughout.