This week I shared a new recipe for tofu burgers on Food52. Back when I wrote Veggie Burgers Every Which Way I wasn’t as enthusiastic about tofu as I am now, now that I’ve spent a lot more time enjoying it on its own and in the myriad of delicious ways that it appears in dishes across many Asian cuisines. So I revisited the tofu burger with the intent of making the tofu shine, and incorporated a few great tricks like grating it for a lighter, less tacky texture. Head over to Food52 for the write-up and the recipe, as well as for photos by the excellent Spencer Starnes.
And after the jump, my easiest and favorite way to quick-pickle onions and cucumbers, which will be a welcome accompaniment to all of your Memorial Day ‘que spreads this weekend and through the summer. Can’t believe it’s here already…
I’ve been spending a lot of time at the grocery store. Not shopping, but standing there behind a little sample table, proselytizing my Made by Lukas veggie burgers. I walk into the store and press play on the soundbite that’s tattooed into my brain—”Care to try a fresh vegetable veggie burger? Here, have a taste! These are Made-by-Lukas fresh-vegetable-veggie-burgers! The orange one is Carrot-Parsnip, the red one is beet. Yes, absolutely please do try both! Eighty percent fresh, locally sourced vegetables—our kitchen is up in the Hudson Valley—and quinoa, seeds, millet, and spices make up the rest! No soy! No wheat! Right over there in the cold case next to the tofu!” Repeat a thousand times.
And when I walk out, it takes about an hour before I can turn it off. Don’t get me wrong. I like—I love—these veggie burgers, and I’m proud of the product and even the spiel. It’s incredibly exciting to introduce them to the eaters who are going to get them and love them as I do, and gratifying when that happens. And while it’s occasionally exhausting, it’s mostly amusing when I step back to assess: So this is where my life has taken me. How interesting.
[Apologies for the lapse here. I hope you didn’t miss Martha Rose Shulmans’ great column a few weeks ago in the New York Times that focuses on veggie burgers.]
This burger has been in the works for a little while. The seeds were planted sometime two years ago, when I started making my own kimchi. I first used it as a condiment for veggie burgers, and from there, it wasn’t long before I thought to use it in the veggie burgers. But it took a while before I got the formula right. As usual, I wanted to add too much—watercress, chard, bok choy, tofu, seitan—and each previous attempt resulted in a flavor that was cloudy at best, and unpalatable at worst. So I did as Amanda Hesser advised in an interview that I can no longer locate (I’m paraphrasing): Cooking is similar to that rule about dressing yourself, take one item off before you leave the house.
Here’s a new video I made (with the help of film pros Andrew Gauthier and Valerie Temple, and again featuring the music of Sleeping States) in the Vegetarian Tonight series. This time it’s a vegan veggie burger, one of my favorites from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way. The recipe has been written up in a few different places, including the Oregonian’s Food Day and the Ultimate Veggie Burgers website.
Vegetarian Tonight with Lukas Volger: Mushroom Burgers with Barley
Previously, Vegetarian Tonight with Lukas Volger: Weeknight Fritatta
I’ll be the first to admit that some veggie burgers can stretch the limits of category—as in, you’re calling that a veggie burger? Latkes and fritters: sure, you can call them veggie burgers. Same thing with some big vegetable dumplings. Rice cakes? I’ll hear you state your case. One might nitpick, but to me, this means only that the veggie burger is a big, wide, accepting category of food. That said, this “burger” might be one that crosses the line.
Simply reheated, leftover risotto isn’t very good the next day. But Arancini di Rosi—which are fried little balls of leftover risotto wrapped around a square of cheese—is a scrumptious way to repurpose day-old risotto. In that vein, I include a recipe for big risotto cakes or patties, made from leftover risotto, in my new book. With that recipe, I suggest using them as a base—for sautéed greens, tomato sauce, fried or poached eggs, as a way to bulk up a salad . . . whatever you like. Here, I’m giving the risotto cakes the opportunity to shine as veggie burgers. Continue reading
I hope I’m not too late with this dish. In addition to last week’s Thanksgiving recipe round-up, I wanted to give you a Thanksgiving veggie burger. But try as I did to wrap my head around a veggie burger suitable at the Thanksgiving menu, I just couldn’t quite make it work, not yet at least. (Give me a few more days.) But Holiday Veggie Burger Loaf? Now we’re talking. If you’ve passed the point of no return with your Thanksgiving menu this year, let this be a contender for the December festivities.
It took me a while to get to this recipe—here is one previous, failed attempt—but I ended up going back to one of my favorite burgers from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way, the Tuscan White Bean Burger. I tweaked it a little by adding kale, deglazing the onions with some festive brandy, and reworking it for a loaf pan, but there’s still caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and sage. The goal here is that it’ll compliment the old holiday table standbys: mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, spoon bread, creamed spinach or onions, gravy . . . all that stuff. Continue reading
I’m way overdue for a new veggie burger. Over the past few months I’ve attempted several, but none got me very excited or seemed worth sharing. But when the idea for this one coalesced in my head one afternoon, I knew it would be perfect. I was bummed, in fact, that I didn’t think of it when I was working on the book. It would have made a great addition.
The inspiration was three-fold: one, the pair of bowling-ball-heavy heads of cabbage I lugged home from my CSA pickup; two, making my Thai Carrot Burgers recently, where grated vegetables make up the bulk of the burger; and three, thinking back on the recipe for sweet potato and cabbage dumplings that’s in my next book. Put these three things in my head and you get Sesame Sweet Potato and Cabbage Veggie Burgers. Continue reading