The Crucial Step You Can't Miss When Adding Grains To Veggie Burgers

Tis the season for grilling and chilling, and while summer might be famous for burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, and barbecue, vegetarians and vegans want just as many backyard cookout options as carnivores. Meat lovers tend to shy away from veggie burgers, but they're missing out on a world of flavors, textures, health benefits, and even food sustainability. But there's a special, delicious way to win over plant-based burger skeptics: homemade veggie burgers. 

With the rise of popular plant-based meats like Impossible and Beyond burgers, traditional homemade veggie burgers full of beans, greens, and grains get left at the back of the fridge, but they're well worth the time and effort. You might already know how to choose the right binder, or pick your protein, but one of the biggest mistakes people make when preparing homemade veggie burgers is neglecting their grains. The most crucial step for good grains is to pre-cook them before mixing them into a veggie burger patty.

Make your grains great

Sure, the term 'burger' implies a beef patty with the expected meaty flavor, but veggie burgers are a blank canvas for culinary creativity. Packed with beans, mushrooms, grains, and spices, veggie burgers need special preparations. Grains, for example, add body and texture to veggie burgers but can turn a delicious burger into an unsatisfying one if handled incorrectly.

If you toss uncooked grains into a veggie patty mix, grilling and stovetop cooking only partially cook them, leaving you with a crunchy burger. Though a veggie burger patty only takes about 8 to 16 minutes to cook through, most grains used in veggie burger recipes need to cook for at least 20 to 30 minutes in boiling water.

Aside from an unwanted crunch, undercooked grains in your veggie burger could detract from the health benefits of plant patties. The Whole Grains Council reports that because undercooked grains are often hard to chew, our bodies don't fully digest them and absorb their nutrients. For the best bite, fully cook grains like rice, quinoa, and wheat before integrating them into your patty to make sure you maximize the nutrition of your veggie burger and achieve the right texture. Once you're at the backyard barbecue enjoying your veggie burgers (and have maybe even convinced a few meat-eaters to try them too), you'll be glad you did!