Veggie burgers are a tricky thing. Good ones can be divine. Chewy, moist, and delicious. Bad ones can be like soggy hash browns on a bun. Squishy, sqaushy, over-starchy, and utterly blah. Ordering a veggie burger at a restaurant is always a gamble, especially if it’s a “homemade” patty. And especially if the word “mashed” is anywhere in the description. Yeesh.

And homemade burgers are no less of a gamble. I once made a recipe that promised to be “the best veggie burgers ever.” Um, yeah right. They were comprised mainly of TVP and wheat gluten, with a truckload of spices and seasonings. I thought they sounded promising. I ended up with a vat of squishy brown glop that turned into burgers resembling grilled, salty silly putty. They were revolting in every single way.

These burgers, on the other hand, are not revolting. These burgers were a good gamble. A good, delicious gamble. Chewy, flavorful, and stable enough that you can actually cook them in a frying pan. And instead of being made from white rice and tofu, they’re all whole grains, healthy nuts, and tasty savory seasonings. Yummy. And the mixture kinda-sorta looks like ground beef, which is a nice visual cue.

Vegetarian Nut Burgers

¾ cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup bulgar

1½ cups nuts and seeds of choice
4 garlic cloves, minced
Seasonings of choice: I like seasoning salt, cayenne, and black pepper

4 eggs

Bring the water, soy sauce, and bulgar to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Put the nuts and garlic in a food processor and process until they are a fine meal. Season to taste. Ideas to try are Cajun, East Indian, Italian, and classic burger.

Mix the grains and the nut mixture together in a bowl. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, until you have a wonderfully squishy, burger/ground-beef like mixture. It’ll be a bit too squishy at first, so you’ll have to cover the mixture with plastic wrap and chill for an hour or so. The chilling time will allow the bulgur to absorb the excess moisture.

Form the burgers. I like to use a biscuit cutter/round as a mold. You can cook from there (I like a frying pan, these are too tender for a grill), or freeze them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. That way, you’re ready for burgers whenever you want them! Just be sure to defrost the burger in the fridge, not the microwave; a slow thaw will keep them as moist as possible.

To cook, preheat a frying pan to medium-high heat. Fry in a bit of oil, covered, three to five minutes per side, until nicely browned and crisp on both sides. Devour with all kinds of tasty add-ons, like caramelized onions, garlic and chipotle spiced mayo, grainy mustard, and ketchup. And a heaping side of sweet potato fries! Yumyumyum.