Are you looking for the perfect meat free patty formula? For the best vegan meat substitutes or a vegan meat alternative for patties?
In this article we are going to be talking about how to build the perfect vegan patty. Because believe me, it can sometimes come down to the littlest details!
There are just a few very simple steps that you must take in order to get a tasty vegan meat alternative. As well as a formula for building a meaty vegan patty.
I have found the happy middle ground in vegan patty making, and I hope that my experience can help you to create delicious vegan patties of your own!
So, keep reading to find out more!
Why Use a Vegan Meat Alternative?
There are really several reason why you might be wanting to create vegan patties instead of eating the real thing.
It could come down to ethical reasons like eating a vegan diet, health reasons, or maybe you are just trying to cut back on your red meat intake. There are many reasons why you might want to cut back on your meat consumption. Some might not even be included in this list.
Here are the top two reasons to consider substituting meat patties with meat free ones.
Most patties are made with red meat which we all know is bad for you in excessive quantities. Especially for those who have existing health conditions such as heart conditions.
Cholesterol is the enemy of a healthy heart and the largest portion of cholesterol in our diet is in the meat that we eat. Making it very important to cut back on red meat especially in order to avoid certain heart issues.
You could be cutting back on meat for digest reasons or to limit your cholesterol. And those are just a few reasons to avoid eating too much red meat.
You could also be on a special diet plan prescribed by your doctor that limits red meat. There could be many reasons for this, mainly due to chronic health issues or the risk of health issues.
The most common reason to want to replace meat patties is for ethical reasons.
This is usually because you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and do not want to support the meat industry. Or you just personally can’t bring yourself to consume meat because it feels wrong to you.
This is often because animals in slaughter houses are very poorly taken care of and live in very inhumane situations. Not to mention that we have no way of knowing for sure if they are killed humanely.
This is no way for any living creature to exist which is why many decide to avoid meat entirely or to at least minimize it in their diet.
How to Make Perfect Meat Free Patties
I have made many a meat free patty that was less than satisfying. Some were even down right inedible!
There is a very careful balance to how you need to create vegan meat substitutes in order to get a result that is good.
Most of my first vegan patties were soft and mushy, fell apart easily, and just generally lacked flavor and texture. These being the most common flaws of vegan patties.
The good thing is that I have been able to find just the right formula over time. So that, now I create delicious and meaty vegan patties every time without error!
So, keep reading if you want to know just how to get the perfect vegan patty every time! And read till the end for some excellent vegan patty recipes.
Choosing a Bean
The biggest step to creating your vegan meat alternative is to pick out a bean as your base. Not all vegan meat substitutes include beans, but I find that most do.
Which bean you pick is important as they all have different textures and flavors that will affect the outcome of your vegan patty.
You also don’t want to pick a bean that is too moist as I find they don’t create very appetizing patties. This is because they make the patty too pasty instead of feeling meaty.
Some beans also don’t hold well together which can create a patty that falls apart as you cook it.
Here are a few beans that make the best vegan patties:
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
Tip: Try freezing your beans the day before making your patties. This will give them a slightly tougher, more meaty texture. Just keep in mind that I have only tested this on canned chickpeas.
The next step in your formula for making amazing meat free vegan meat substitutes is to add some texture.
The beans in your recipe won’t be enough to create a nice meaty texture so you will need another ingredient to serve that purpose.
This is an important step because without texture your patty is going to be pasty, mushy, and generally unsatisfying. And it most certainly won’t be fooling anyone.
Adding in texture is how you will create a vegan patty that has a nice mouth feel to it and feels like you’re really eating a patty.
Here are a few popular texture adders for patties:
- Nuts and seeds
Tip: Mushrooms add amazing texture to vegan patties but be careful of adding too many. Too many mushrooms and your patty will end up being too moist.
Pick a Binder
Possibly one of the most important ingredients in your vegan meat alternative is the binding ingredient.
This is so important because without it you would have something more similar to ground meat. Which is great if your making tacos, but we want vegan patties!
The good thing is that there are several different kinds of vegan binders to choose from. All being good replacements for the eggs that are usually used as the binding ingredient in patties.
All of these binder’s work in pretty much the exact same way, so it will come down to personal preference which one you use.
Here are the most common vegan binders that you can use in your meat free patties:
Tip: Make sure to add enough water to your flax or chia seed egg. Otherwise it will be too thick and end up clumping in your patties.
Spice it Up
One big thing that often gets overlooked when people are making vegan patties is the flavors that you add.
Just like a normal patty, you need to add plenty of spices and flavorings in order to create a satisfying patty. This is especially important if you want to really recreate that meat flavor for a realistic patty.
This is not a step that you can skip, and it most certainly shouldn’t be an afterthought. Because how you season your patty can make or break it.
The best route to take is to use traditional meat seasonings. This will guarantee a genuine tasting patty that will have all of those classic meat flavors without the meat itself.
Here are a few flavorings that you can add to get a deliciously savory and meaty tasting vegan meat alternative:
Sear Then Bake
I have tried making vegan patties in two different kinds of ways. Searing and baking and I have come to realize that you need both methods for the perfect meat free patty.
When you only sear your patties they usually end up partially cooked and gummy in the center. They have a great texture on the outside, but the middle is generally mushy and unappetizing.
If you only bake your patties they are going to be very dry and crumby on the outside. They will be cooked through and have a better texture, but the outside won’t feel or taste like a patty.
I order to get the perfect vegan patty you need to first sear each side of your patties for 3-5 minutes or until they are brown. Then finish them off in the oven for 15-25 minutes.
This guarantees great tasting patties that have texture and bit to them.
Baking your patties also helps them to better hold together than just searing them does.
What to Avoid in Your Meat Free Patties?
Just like there are certain things that you want to do to get perfect vegan patties every time. There are also certain things to avoid.
Like we talked about earlier, there are many small details that can make or break your vegan meat substitutes. Just the smallest issue can make them not taste quite right. Or can fatally mess up the texture, leaving you with something that is completely unappetizing.
So, here are a few things to avoid when making your vegan patties.
Possibly the biggest danger to your meat free patties is too much moisture. Because moisture will kill the texture, leaving you with a wet, soggy, and mushy patty that is very unappetizing.
Believe me, I made this mistake many times!
Excessive amounts of moisture can come from many things. Maybe you didn’t drain your beans completely or you added to much liquid flavorings or too much water to your binder.
One very common result of too much moisture comes from adding veggies to your patties.
It can be tempting to add some chopped onions and bell peppers to add flavor to your vegan patties. But they add far too much moisture which can wreck the texture.
In my experience it is best to avoid fresh veggies as they just contain too much water.
Too Many Ingredients
This tip goes hand in hand with the one above as adding in too many ingredients can often mess with the texture of your patty.
Even if you manage to not get too much moisture into the mixture. Too many additives can still ruin the texture, making the patties mushy and thick.
Try to use only one kind of bean and binder and limit yourself to only one to two texture adding ingredients. If you use one wet form of flavoring try to avoid using a second one to avoid the risk of a wet patty.
Also, avoid using too many liquid flavorings as that can not only become overpowering but mess with the meaty texture.
Over Mixing it
Because the base of your meat free patty is beans it is important not to over mix your patty dough.
This is because your beans could end up breaking down too much. Resulting in something more like hummus or refried beans instead of patties. This is the fastest way to get an utterly unappetizing patty, as it will have a mushy and wet texture.
This is especially important if you are using a blender or mixer as they can quickly over grind your beans. It is best to only blend the mixture up for 30 seconds or to mix by hand until you get the desired consistency.
You want the mixture to still be a bit rough and textured. It should hold together when pressed but should still feel clumpy and textured.
Vegan Meat Free Patty Recipes
Now that you know exactly what to do and what to watch out for when making your own vegan patties you are all set!
Once you get the hang of it, making meatless vegan meat substitutes is really very easy to do. It just takes time, practice, and a few helpful tips. Then before you know it you will be creating your own delicious vegan patties to wow your family and friends with!
Here are just a few recipes for vegan patties to get you started:
- Grillable Veggie Burger by the Minimalist Baker
- Veggie Burger by Nora Cooks
- Black Bean Burger by Loving it Vegan
- 5 Ingredient Vegan Patty by Sweet Simple Vegan
I hope that this guide to making vegan meat alternatives and patties has been helpful to you. And that you can now make the perfect vegan patties for yourself!
Making vegan patties is a bit of a talent that usually comes to many a trial and error which is why I wanted to help simplify the process. So that you wouldn’t have to go through all of the bad vegan patties that I did.
It is just one of those things that seems so difficult until you have done it enough times to learn the ropes. So, I hope that this guide has helped you to skip to the part where you know exactly what you are doing!
Have you tried any of the tips mentioned above when making your own vegan patties? Or do you have some helpful tips to share of your own that we haven’t talked about?
Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts!