Beets and hazelnuts are at the center of this veggie burger

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Coarsely shredded beets and hazelnuts are combined for this veggie burger. Photo by Evi Ebeler.

Lukas Volger approaches veggie burgers with the premise that they should be a creative expression of vegetables, legumes, and grains — not a meat simulacrum. Highlighting the textures and flavors of his chosen ingredients, he leaves plenty of whole beans in his black bean patty. Carrots and beets make for vibrant burgers that have the color of raw meat, but also help his burgers hold their shape.

"Early on I let go of trying to create the texture of meat," says Lukas Volger. Photo by Emmanuel Rosario.

Starchy black, kidney, and white beans have binding properties that hold a burger together, while garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas) need other ingredients, like egg and spinach, to make them cohere. Rice adds body and provides texture.

Tofu, seitan, and tempeh have more protein than beans and vegetables. In one of his tofu burger recipes, Volger grates half of the tofu and combines it with mushrooms. For fries, he turns to rutabagas, which taste like turnips and have less starch than potatoes.

His book Veggie Burgers Every Which Way has recipes for every night of the week with vegan and gluten-free options as well.

Veggie Burgers Every Which Way
features recipes using vegetables, legumes, and grains. Photo courtesy of The Experiment.