Marinated Tempeh Burgers (see comments for notes)

Marinated Tempeh Burgers (see comments for notes)

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Tempeh burgers: marinated veggie burgers that actually taste good. Follow the Brow Beat blog. Follow stories by L.V. MySlate is a new tool that lets you track your favorite parts of Slate. You can follow authors and sections, track comment threads you're interested in, and more. Now forget everything you know about veggie burgers. Veggie burgers don’t have to be to hamburgers what The Wedgewoods were to The Beatles (at least according to Mad Men). In fact, they shouldn’t really try to imitate hamburgers much at all: We don’t yet have the technology to make fake beef that tastes anything but disquieting. And, to consider another popular approach, there’s no reason vegetarian patties have to include every edible crop known to man. The way to accomplish that is marinated tempeh. Tempeh is a fermented soy product. Originally from Indonesia, it’s typically sold in the United States in half-pound shrink-wrapped rectangles. But tempeh is the closest thing vegetarians have to a non-weird meat substitute. And, whether or not you’re a vegetarian, it’s absolutely the best ingredient for veggie burgers. Tempeh doesn’t have much flavor on its own, but it soaks up other flavors like a sponge. So making good tempeh veggie burgers is merely a matter of dousing those rectangles in a delicious marinade and baking all that flavor in. To make the marinade, start with soy sauce—not because the goal is an East Asian flavor profile (it isn’t), but because no other ingredient will so effectively infuse your burgers with both umami and moisture. Garlic and thyme will give your tempeh burgers some savory flair, while a little bit of honey will leaven the saltiness of the soy sauce. You can eat tempeh burgers right out of the oven, but if you’re planning a Memorial Day cookout, you can also bake them in advance, put them in the refrigerator, and then reheat them on the grill.

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