Creating the Ultimate Vegan Burger
The eternal hunt for the best vegan burger ever has finally come to an end thanks to a group of engineering students at Lund University in Sweden. A trip to Sweden should be in everyone's future in our opinion, and this vegan burger creation will only add more reason to take that trip.
The students noticed there was a rather lackluster range of veggie burgers available in supermarkets, despite a growing demand for green products. And sure enough - too many additives, no flavor, and no texture, were common complaints they came across when they asked consumers.
“People have an increasing awareness of things like additives and the health effects of eating too much meat or dairy. At the same time, the effect of the foodie movement is people won’t compromise on taste or flavor to the same extent”, says Jannika Timander, the student who led the group project.
Their first problem was getting an entirely vegan product to hold together. Without being able to use eggs, and with their strict commitment to avoiding additives, they instead worked hard in the lab to make the starch from the potatoes act as a natural binding agent.
To add crunchiness and texture, they chose pieces of cauliflower and several seeds. However, the cauliflower had to be pre-blanched in order to eliminate bacteria, a criterion for keeping it safe when mass-produced. They tried three different blanching methods before finding one that retained some texture in the cauliflower. In addition, the three seeds they chose luckily survived commercial blast freezing without losing virtually any crunchiness or flavor.
“We quickly realized how different this project was from cooking at home. We had to apply everything we had learned about the science and standards of food production”, says Jannika.
When they had settled on three prototypes with different combinations of seasoning, they recruited a test panel of 30 vegetarians and vegans that chose a winner – the ‘yellow beet chili burger’. The ingredients? Yellow beets, potatoes, carrots, cauliflowers, fresh chili, lemon pepper, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and salt.
Good luck on re-creating this one at home, but hopefully those of us that are looking for healthy alternatives when it comes to 'fast foods' will be able to find this one in stores soon!
Find out more about the amazing food projects the students at Lund University are working on contact: Federico Gomez, Associate Professor, Lund University firstname.lastname@example.org