1.Using yam or sweet potato makes for a very sweet "tone" in the burger. It just doesn't resonate burger.
2. You can really use just about anything you please to construct a burger - just make sure you have foundational elements there (combo of tempeh, TVP, rice, beans, oats), some flavoring (roasted corn, peppers, sauteed onion, roasted garlic, salt, or smoke flavoring), and something to bind it together (chickpea flour, vital gluten, other flours).
3. The bun is very important! If you are anything like me, it means fluffy white buns are what make the burger. Anything else is a hot sandwich and probably rightfully delicious - but a burger it is not.
All of the above said, I bought a book to compare burger ideas and continue "riffing" or iterating on a good thing. The book: The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet by Joni Marie Newman.
I made a burger with the base she uses in her Chinese Take Out Burger - it was chewy and full of protein, and incredibly GOOD:
2 cups (348 g) fully cooked bown rice
8 ounces (227 g) plain soy tempeh, crumbled almost into individual
1/2 cup (60 g) chickpea flour
Mix together by hand, add in some salt, sauteed onion and roasted garlic and the kicker: liquid smoke flavoring. Mixed and tasted and seasoned to taste. Add in more chickpea flour if needed to make these burgers stick together. She then has you dip these in a non-dairy milk and then bread crumbs, then pan fry them. Yes, that made them tasty (in fact we devoured them and ate burgers for every meal until they were gone) - but you can forgo the dipping and breadcrumbing and frying for a lower fat burger.
For the big white burger buns:
1 cup plain soymilk (or any unsweetened non-dairy milk works)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup nondairy butter
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 ounce (7 g) quick-rise yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 egg equivalent (either Energ Egg replacer or 1 T. flax seed ground with 3 T. water)
Just mix everything togther in your mixer. Really, this works, despite the recomendations to proof the yeast then slowly combine the dry and wet. No need, just schlep it all together and let your stand mixer knead it for about 5 minutes. Add a little more water if this is too dry. This should be a soft dough.
Turn out, cut into 10-12 pieces, molding into a ball, then patting it into a bun shape and placing on the parchment-layered-cookie sheet you'll bake them on. Cover with cloth for one hour. Bake in pre-heated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes (until browned.)
I've been making up burger patties and buns on the weekend and freezing them. Then we can pull together a very fast dinner via the microwave (the patty) and toaster (for the bun).
The burger pictured at the top of this post is a recipe that blends stuff together, patties are baked, and then served on a big fluffy bun.
Burger Pictured at the Top of this Post
Using the combo of base, flavorings, and binding agents, I made the pictured burger with:
- cooked white beans (about 1 cup)
- moistened TVP (textured vegetable protein) (about 1 cup)
- old fashioned oats, ground until coarse in the blender (about a cup)
- cooked brown rice (about a cup)
- sauteed fresh onion (about 1 large)
- several cloves of roasted garlic
- sesame seeds (about 1/4-1/3 cup)
- salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
- liquid smoke flavoring (1-2 Tablespoons, taste as you go.)
- hot sauce (Siracha!) - as much as your palate can handle.
- vital gluten flour (this is not regular flour! - about 1/2 - 1 cup.)
Mix together with your hands, adding vital gluten flour a little at a time until you can form a patty. Taste to ensure you've got the flavor you want. The liquid smoke and roasted garlic are key here! Shape into patties (makes 12-18 dependent on size you shape them to) and bake at 350 degrees, 15 min each side. Cool on a wire rack and freeze. Heat when needed.