Thursday, December 11, 2014

Making homemade veggie burgers for a few cents

This is a veggie burger recipe I invented through a little experimentation. The kids love veggie burgers, but they're so expensive, and even with coupons, are rarely cheaper than about 75 cents per patty. The recipe is vegan and uses simple household ingredients.

Pictured: veggie burger with the cheap homemade bread I featured previously and some homemade oven fries. Oh, and fake iced tea that was free with coupons, mayo and barbeque sauce that were free with coupons, plus some produce from the Fair Foods truck. This meal probably cost about a dollar for the whole family and a few guests.

Steel cut oats (I've also used rolled oats, and this works well too)
Black beans

Ketchup, tomato sauce, pasta sauce or barbeque sauce -- whatever you have

I cook the black beans and the oatmeal in the slow cooker, separately. I don't have two slow cookers, but these are things I tend to make large recipes of on a regular basis and keep in the fridge, because they're useful for cheap-and-easy cooking.

The recipe I use for steel cut oats is this one. I do it plain so I have it available for recipes like this, then if anyone wants to add fruit or anything or breakfast, we add it to individual portions and microwave them. FYI, the best prices on steel cut oats are the Trader Joe's brand and the Stop and Shop brand. If you can get a coupon for the ones in the metal can, the cans are pretty fabulous for later storing sewing supplies, crayons, dominoes, etc.

I cook the black beans in the slow cooker as well. I use a recipe similar to this one. You can cook them to about the consistency shown in the recipe, or you can let it go longer until they're more like refried beans; either will work for the veggie burgers.

Once you have your beans and your oatmeal, put about an equal amount of each into a large bowl. Add whatever flavors you like in your veggie burgers. I usually add a few tablespoons of whatever tomato product was on sale (ketchup, tomato sauce, pasta sauce, barbeque sauce, etc.) plus adobo seasoning, or a similar blend of salt, pepper, onion, garlic, etc. The mixture should be firm enough to form into veggie patties. If not, add flour or bread crumbs until it is. If you don't do wheat, I'm sure rolled oats would work. You can also add interesting seasonings or whatever veggies you have around; we've done it with spinach and some jarred Indian spices. 

Next, form the burgers into patties about the size of boxed veggie patties, or bigger or smaller as you like. You can form them in flour or bread crumbs as needed so that they aren't sticky and they form correctly.

Cook the patties either in the oven on a lightly oiled baking sheet, or pan-fry them with a small amount of oil until browned and cooked through. Both methods seem to work equally well. Pan-frying probably gets them a bit more even and takes less time per burger, though if you made more than three or four, they won't all fit in the pan so you don't actually save time. They take under 10 minutes in the pan and usually about 20-30 in the oven. I cook them at 400 or so, depending what else might be in the oven. This time I also tossed in some potatoes from Fair Foods that I sliced up and brushed with oil and salt. Enjoy!

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