Mayo Is The Secret Weapon For Flavorful, Structured Veggie Burgers

Woman holding veggie burger
Woman holding veggie burger - Marko Jan/Getty Images

When a veggie burger is bad, it can be really, really bad. No one — vegetarian or otherwise — wants a dry, bland patty that crumbles when you try to eat it. When a veggie burger is good, on the other hand, it can compete with a beef burger. Even meat lovers might opt for a moist, flavorful, structurally sound black bean patty at the cookout. If you're looking for a way to transform a disappointing veggie burger into a delicious one, there's one ingredient that can help: Mayo.

Mayonnaise is an everyday bit of kitchen alchemy. When simple ingredients — eggs, oil, and acid — are carefully blended together, they become a creamy, rich sauce. Some people would call it delicious. Other people would call it revolting.

But even people who hate mayonnaise might enjoy it in a recipe. That's because adding mayo to your veggie burger mix doesn't make it taste like mayonnaise. It just makes it taste and eat better. Here's how.

Read more: 5 Best Mayonnaise Brands To Buy, And 5 To Avoid

Why Mayonnaise In Veggie Burgers Works

Bowl of mayonnaise
Bowl of mayonnaise - Roxiller/Getty Images

Let's talk beef. What makes a traditional burger so delicious for meat eaters, anyway? Ground beef is naturally rich in fat and savory flavor. Every bite is a greasy, umami delight. Common veggie burger ingredients, like beans, grains, and mushrooms, are tasty in their own right. But they're not exactly moreish without some help. They contain plenty of beneficial micronutrients and fiber — but not a lot of fat.

Mayonnaise is full of fat. As in, it's almost all fat. One serving of Hellmann's contains 10 grams of fat and a negligible amount of carbs or protein. When you bite into a veggie patty with mayo in the mix, you taste that luscious, unctuous quality vegetarian burgers are often missing.

Mayo is mostly fat, but partly eggs. And eggs are a classic example of a binder: Ingredients that help a mixture stick together. That means mayonnaise can play a crucial role in keeping your veggie burger intact instead of falling apart on the plate. For best results, add an actual egg, too.

Vegan Mayonnaise Also Works

Bowl of aquafaba mayonnaise
Bowl of aquafaba mayonnaise - Rhj/Getty Images

Mayo in veggie burgers may be delicious, but it's not vegan-friendly. If you want to enjoy a delicious, moist vegan burger, you have other options. There are plenty of vegan mayonnaise brands you can buy at the grocery store. You can substitute them for genuine mayonnaise — just don't expect them to taste exactly the same as the real deal. Any low-fat options, for example, won't add the same moist, savory quality to your veggie burger. And since vegan mayo omits the egg, it might not bind your burger as well as traditional mayonnaise.

There's a homemade option that tastes great and helps bind your veggie mix, too: Aquafaba mayonnaise. What is aquafaba? It's the water leftover from cooking beans, especially chickpeas. When you slowly, carefully add oil to it, it forms a creamy emulsion — just like egg-based mayo. And, as a bonus, it contains plenty of starch: Another natural binder. And you don't have to stop there. There are plenty of other egg substitutes you can use to boost those natural binding properties. Mix flax or chia seeds with water for a completely plant-based binder. Omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans can all enjoy a great veggie burger.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.