Why Only Using Raw Vegetables Can Ruin Your Veggie Burger

Summer means that it's grilling season. For any new or aspiring vegetarians or those eating a plant-based diet, navigating backyard cookouts might prove a challenge. While it may be easier to craft a vegetable-heavy meal at home or choose a meat-free option off of the menu at a restaurant, your neighbor's grill may prove a bit trickier. Thankfully, veggie burgers are here to help plant-based diet eaters still participate in these warm weather festivities.

Even if you do not have a plant-based diet, there are plenty of good reasons to go without a few servings of red meat. Harvard Medical School notes that research shows high levels of red meat consumption can lead to increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and even premature death. Swapping meat for other options might also have environmental benefits along with those health benefits. Additionally, certain proteins, particularly beef, are becoming luxury items these days due to cost increases.

In the end, though, a veggie burger has to taste good. According to The Kitchn, one of the biggest mistakes people can make is not getting a veggie burger's texture just right. Incorrectly preparing your homemade veggie burgers can lead to mushy patties that won't stand up against their meat counterparts.

precooking your vegetables removes some of the moisture

One easy way to fix the problem of a mushy veggie burger patty is to remove some of the ingredients' moisture (via The Kitchn). This prevents your burger from essentially steaming itself from the inside out. One method is to char the surface of the vegetables and other raw ingredients by removing more of their moisture. Moisture is one of the Maillard Reactions' worst enemies, and you need those chemical reactions to achieve an attractive coloring and a tasty char on the outside of your burger (via Jessica Gavin). While this reaction is primarily seen in meat-based burgers, scientists have been working to replicate it in plant-based alternatives, according to The Conversation.

The best way to remove some of the moisture present in your veggie burger is to precook some of the vegetables that you're using as ingredients beforehand (via The Kitchn). Vegetables like mushrooms, zucchinis, and eggplants all have a high moisture content. According to the The New York Times, precooking those vegetables takes away the excess moisture, and lowers the chance for mushiness later on. Lots of other vegetables do well with a little bit of cooking time as well, but it's a great opportunity to experiment with different materials to craft your perfect veggie burger.