Gone Vegan

Lindsay Hutton discovers the politics and pragmatics behind a meat and dairy-free diet.

Even among the most ardent carnivores, it's rare to find someone who doesn't like a good veggie burger now and then. The past few years have seen piles of them seep into the marketplace. Every supermarket will carry at least a few popular varieties, and many restaurants - if they offer vegan or vegetarian main - will offer them on the menu. Most look, taste and smell like grilled cardboard. Only more expensive.

I find most of the veggie burgers offered in supermarkets to fall somewhere in the realm from passable to goodish. It wasn't until I made it my business to seek out top-drawer vegan eats in just about every city I visit. Like anything else, the best veggie burgers are housemade. Further to that, most store-bought varieties are soy-based, and really high in sodium, so in the interests of taste and health, it's worthwhile to figure out how to put together a few on your own.

Last week I came across The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet (Fair Winds Press), yet another wonderful cookbook by the self-proclaimed Queen of the Veggie Burger, Joni Marie Newman. Covering everything from quickie throw-togethers to the fancy-schmancy, Newman features every flavour combination and base. Burgers for breakfast and dessert? Yup. Noodle Kugel burger? She covers that, too.

I dug into two of Newman's recipes in the past few days, the first being the Korean BBQ burger, then on to the chickpea-based Fire Roasted Red Pepper burger. The recipe for the latter can be found here. Move beyond the contents of a cardboard box for your veggie burger needs, readers - this book will certainly help. Happy grilling!