Do you know what I think of as the quintessential, crave-able food in America? Burgers! I think about how many great memories I have for summer time fun involving friends, family and a meal consisting largely of hamburgers or hot dogs on the grill. And, it's not just my opinion for America's obsession with this food. According the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American eats 2.4 burgers a day adding up to approximately 50 million burgers a year consumed in the United States. That's a lot of meat (and cows!).
It is also interesting to note that Americans consume far more burgers than most other meats while, for example, it takes 10 times more resources to raise a cow for meat production than it does a chicken (Smithsonian Magazine). Clearly for sustainability purposes, burgers need to be high on the list for evaluating better resource consumption and perseveration.
BUT, I (personally) don't want to give up the idea of burgers; nor do I want Americans to forgo our ultimate passion for this food. I love them too! The problem to date has been that most vegan versions are pre-made (not inventive) or fall apart on a regular grill and just don't give us the same heft, taste, or feeling of eating a burger. In short, they weren't worthy of diverting people from their carnivorous versions.
Luckily, we now have more choices than ever (which are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination for our health or the environment), but are way better than cows and taste pretty darn close to them. See for yourself at https://impossiblefoods.com/sustainable-food/burger-life-cycle-assessment-2019.
I do not eat faux meat much, but when I do, I look at it as a great way to modernize our approach to the Americana foods I adore while considering my sustainable footprint on this planet! Pro tip: adding some finely chopped mushrooms to your vegan burger helps the flavor profile and "juice" of your burger mimic that of a carnivorous version.
Poblano & Mushroom Burgers:
2 fresh whole poblano chilis
1 package (1 lb) vegan ground beef (I use Impossible Foods for this recipe)
5-6 baby bella mushrooms
1 handful cilantro (chopped)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp avocado oil
1/2 cup veganise
3-4 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 lime (juiced)
1 can adobe peppers (7 oz)
1 tbsp cider vinegar
Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
Thinly sliced red onions
Quick Cilantro Slaw:
1/2 tbsp avocado oil
1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp cumin
pinch of salt
1 lime (juiced)
2 large handfuls coleslaw mix (~3 cups)
1 large handful cilantro (chopped)
1 bell pepper sliced
Pre-heat grill; place poblano peppers on grill racks and grill until skins are charred (slightly blackened and cracking on all sides); ~5-7 minutes. Once done, place in an airtight container to steam (for easy peel of the skin); ~6-8 minutes for steaming.
While your poblanos are steaming, add baby bella mushrooms to a small food processor to finely chop. Next, add the beef through avocado oil in the Poblano & Mushroom Burger ingredients above to a bowl. Squish and mix with your hands to fully incorporate.
Once poblanos are done steaming, remove the skins and seeds / stem. Chop and then incorporate into your burger mixture. Form into ~4 patties and place place in freezer to firm up slightly before grilling (~5-7 minutes). Don't skip this step; it ensures your burgers hold together!
While your burgers are chilling, make your Chipotle Cream by adding all ingredients listed to a personal blender; blitz until smooth & set aside.
Take your burgers out of the freezer and put them on a well-oiled grill cooking on both sides for ~5 minutes or until browned and juicy. Note: we also grill some burger buns (dry) out of preference, but completely optional.
While your burgers are grilling, assemble your Quick Cilantro Slaw. In a medium bowl, combine avocado oil through lime with a whisk. Add coleslaw, cilantro and bell pepper and stir completely scraping from the bottom of the bowl and bringing the dressing up through the vegetables.
Assemble burgers by placing 1 patty on the bottom bun, top with red onions and 2 tbsp cilantro cream. Add top bun and serve your burgers with the slaw.
I dare any carnivore be served these burgers and not a) fall in love with the flavor and b) not be fooled into thinking they are "real" meat (this only works if you don't announce it's vegan at the start ; ).
I hope you love this recipe; we certainly do! Let me know how it turns out for you!
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie