I think it was Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live who once said "It's always something." Now it's hexane in my veggie burgers. Remember hexane? It's an air pollutant and neurotoxin that is a byproduct of gas refining. Before you start to feel overwhelmed and pessimistic, read on. There are a few ethical companies who make chemical-free veggie burgers that you can be happy to buy from, or you can take the bigger leap and make your own with this easy, awesome, protein-packed recipe below.
Hexane and Soy
A recent article in Mother Jones magazine publicized an investigation by the Cornucopia Institute into the use of the chemical hexane to produce non-organic soy protein isolate, texturized vegetable protein, and soy protein concentrate. Hexane became famous as an air pollutant associated with oil refineries and is also a neurotoxin.
It is used to separate the oil from the protein in soybeans. While organic soy tends not to be processed in this way, almost all convential soy products are. Many veggie burgers and fake meat products, therefore, contain hexane. You can view Cornucopia's ratings of different soy companies here to see if the brand you usually buy contains hexane or not.
Homemade Veggie Burgers
Veggie burgers are a great thing to have around. The combination here of lentils, brown rice and walnuts makes for a complete protein. You can mix it up and throw in whatever veggies you have lying around. Sneak in some greens as well. You can also substitute your favorite spices instead of these. Sometimes, I use curry powder, cumin, and coriander for an Indian-type of burger. I suggest that when you make up this recipe you make a whole bunch and freeze some in patty form for another time.
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- 2 cups cooked brown rice, divided
- 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils, or 1 (15-ounce) can lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 egg, lightly beaten (can substitute egg replacer or wheat germ)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, mushrooms, walnuts, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.
In a food processor, purée 1 cup rice, lentils and egg (or subs) until smooth. Transfer to bowl with vegetables, add remaining 1 cup rice and stir to combine. Form lentil mixture into 10 to 12 patties, using about 1/4 cup of the mixture to make each one.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Arrange half of the patties in skillet and cook, flipping once, until golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat process with remaining coconut oil and patties. Serve hot.