It’s summer, which for many people means it’s grilling season! Too often, though, vegetarians and vegans get the short end of the stick at cookouts. Let’s face it – those frozen, boxed veggie burgers really aren’t very good. They taste bland and artificial to me, and I have trouble appreciating that lovely dry, cardboard texture. Fortunately, delicious and nutritious veggie burgers are easy to make at home, and Lukas Volger shows us how in Veggie Burgers Every Which Way.
Volger’s book provides thirty unique veggie burger recipes, and the variety of styles ensures that there is something for every palette. All of the recipes are clearly-written and easy to follow, and many include directions for how busy cooks can prepare portions of the recipe ahead of time. Best of all, many of the recipes take thirty minutes or less of prep and cook time! Also included is a section on freezing your veggie burger mix for later use and the proper storage method for making your leftovers last, especially convenient for hectic schedules and small families.
Most of the recipes call for fresh ingredients readily available at any major supermarket. Those few ingredients that are less standard can be found in organic food stores or Asian grocers. The emphasis on fresh ingredients makes these burgers both more flavorful and more healthy than the alternatives provided in the (very few) other veggie burger cook books out there. More than half of the recipes are also vegan or gluten-free, and many others are easily modified for specialized diets.
The introduction to Veggie Burgers Every Which Way outlines the typical ingredients found in veggie burgers and the most common basic cooking methods for each, making this book easily accessible to fledgling cooks. For those who are looking to further amp their veggie burger experience, the section on condiments and toppings provides an eclectic mix of sauces, relishes, and other burger essentials. Definitely don’t skip the homemade french fry section; these tasty fry recipes are surprisingly easy and varied, a great change from frozen french fries. Adventurous cooks should try the burger bun section, which includes standard, whole wheat, pretzel, corn, and gluten-free recipes for homemade burger buns.
The burger recipes are divided into three sections based on their primary ingredients: Bean, Grain, and Nut Burgers; Vegetable Burgers; and Tofu, Seitan, and TVP Burgers. The offerings range from basic burgers that anyone can love to adventurous flavors inspired by international cuisine. Don’t be scared off by an unfamiliar ingredient or spice, though; Volger knows what he’s doing, and every burger is perfectly balanced.
I have personally tasted five of the recipes included in this book. At the American Library Association Conference in 2010, Volger prepared small samples of the Mushroom Burgers with Barley; I have made the Thai Carrot Burgers, Ginger-Soy Tempeh Burgers, Red Bean and Quinoa Burgers, and Pub Grub Veggie Burgers in my own kitchen. All have been straightforward, delicious, and satisfying to both vegetarian and omnivorous guests. Even the devoted carnivores in my life adore these recipes – this book is truly for everyone!