Two of the most important foodie trends to watch out for right now are vegetarian options and decadent food. Since a veggie cheeseburger fits those bills, it's a great opportunity to expand your customer base! Read on to discover Chef Brown’s tips on how to put a veggie spin on this comfort food classic.
Vegan and vegetarian dishes are two trends that are experiencing significant growth, especially with young consumers: 1 in 4 restricts their meat consumption in some way1. Offering veggie options is an important diversification strategy that could attract a broader audience.
Veggie patties also present an opportunity to reuse ingredients you already have in your kitchen, such as mushrooms, onions, peppers, cheeses, rice, and eggs. Take this meaty nacho burger inspiration: Chef Brown suggest giving this dish a veggie twist by swapping the regular patty for a black bean one. As you can see, adapting your recipes to different eating lifestyles has never been easier! You’re just a few adjustments away from serving up the best of both worlds.
Chef Brown recommends starting with one vegetarian cheeseburger – as a lunch special, for example – to see if customers respond well. You can also try two or three recipes at different times and see which one performs best. Then, you can add the most popular one to your menu while testing further options if the demand is there.
Choosing the right cheese and topping pairing for each patty
It’s all about starting small and working with what you have, from toppings to cheeses! Check out Chef Brown’s recommendations for veggie cheeseburger pairings.
- Cheddar cheese: Whether sliced or shredded (to put in your patties!), its sharp profile goes well with smoky flavours, roasted onions, and vegetables. It's also great with creamy, savoury sauces like aioli. Plus, its white or yellow colour against darker patties creates a nice visual appeal.
- Colby cheese: This cheese’s sweet, nutty flavour is a friend to herbs. Its orange colour and texture are great for layering. Colby cheese is also perfect for binding a dish together.
- Edam cheese: Milder cheese, like Edam, is often paired with fruits. Edam cheese also goes well with grains and roasted root vegetables, even with chutney on a sourdough bun!
- Brick cheese: This variety has a mild taste and buttery notes that can elevate a decadent burger. It’s also great for balancing out the acidity of pickled veggies.
- Gouda cheese: This cheese has a firm texture that is slightly elastic. Its creamy flavour and almond notes are great to balance out acidity.
- Monterey Jack cheese: Thanks to its sweet, tangy flavour, this cheese goes well with roasted legumes and vegetables. It also complements fresh Tex-Mex and Latin flavours like citrus and salsa. Try our Monterey Jack with Jalapeno cheese for an extra kick!
- Havarti cheese: This creamy cheese adds appealing texture and contrast to a decadent burger. Its melty profile creates delicious bites as it blends with other ingredients.
It’s all about flavour, texture, appearance, and aroma, according to Chef Brown. As you build up your veggie burger offering and experiment with classic cheeses, keep the following pillars in mind.
- Texture: A good veggie patty should never fall apart. Its base can be made of roasted mushrooms, grains like barley, legumes (like beans or lentils), nuts, and even hearty vegetables like sweet potato – or beetroot, such as in this eye-catching burger inspiration.
In a veggie burger, cheese can act as an amazing binding agent while adding great flavour and texture. You can even use pre-shredded cheese for quick preparation! Other binders include eggs, breadcrumbs, flax meal, and hydrated chia seeds.
- Flavour: Choose seasonings that complement the patty’s base ingredient. Consider spices such as cayenne, cumin, black pepper, and cilantro for bean patties. For mushroom patties, try herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage – or you could opt for our conveniently pre-seasoned Havarti cheese with Fine Herbs, perfect to speed up kitchen prep. When it comes to grain-based patties, herbs like basil, oregano, and mint work well. You can even craft your own spice blend to make it a signature burger!
- Aroma: So much of the “taste” experience is wrapped up in our sense of smell. Incorporating cheese into your patty and toppings is a great way to establish a dominant aroma and light up all the senses!
- Appearance: A veggie patty should be thick and robust, with appetizing grill marks and enough substance to dominate the bun. A natural hand-formed shape makes for an “artisanal” look, while an orange, smooth-textured cheese such as Colby is a classic appearance enhancer.
Go one step further with vegan burgers
Get inspired by this vegan “Mozza” burger! With our Dairy-Free Mozzarella Flavoured Shred, you can offer an excellent cheese-like experience. This versatile product can be used as an additional burger topping or be added directly into the plant-based patty for an improved consistency and mildly tangy flavour. You could even sprinkle a handful on the top of the bun and place it under the salamander for a savoury experience!
Veggie cheeseburgers are highly customizable and have tons of decadent potential. Cheese is one key ingredient that can easily give almost any dish a comfort food feel while ramping its flavour, texture, and moisture. It all starts with the ingredients you already have on hand, so get creative and be sure to add your own personal touch!
For more expert tips and insights just like this, subscribe to our newsletter, À LA CARTE!
1. Technomic 2019, College & University Consumer Trend Report