Yes, you read that right. It’s a Vegan Tandoori Naan Burger. And it’s damn delicious.
What it is, is two small, puffy, flaky naan breads sandwiching a juicy burger flavored with tandoori spices. Yes, those spices that go into making that shocking orange chicken that’s baked up in a rustic clay oven called a tandoor and served at north Indian restaurants around the world. But since this is a chicken-free zone, and happily so, our burger is made with rajma or red kidney beans and some potato to better soak up all of those spicy flavors.
Jay loves veggie burgers with a passion (homemade, not the store-bought ones which are always so bland). And because they are good for him, and easy for me, I try and make versions of burgers as often as I can. He loves naan just as much as he loves burgers (these Naan Calzones are a hot favorite hereabouts), which is perhaps the reason why I always have some naan dough sitting around in my refrigerator these days. Often, for dinner, I will roll out a naan or two for him and bake it up right on the griddle. While naans are traditionally also baked in a tandoor, or in ovens in modern kitchens, griddle-baked naans turn out soft and puffy and are just as delicious.
These vegan tandoori rajma burgers are among the easiest I’ve ever thrown together and they come together in under 30 minutes if you use canned beans. I like the red kidney beans because they have a great bite, but pinto beans would also be good here.
The potato serves two purposes in this recipe: it helps bind the ingredients, and its blandness also sets off the spices. You can sub with sweet potato, but then you wouldn’t enjoy the flavor of the tandoori spices as much because the sweetness would overpower it.
The burger recipe is completely fat-free, so you can munch away — eat all of them, if you wish. And for the naan bread, I used my naan recipe, with the only difference being that I rolled these out much smaller, just slightly larger than the diameter of the burger patty. Once you’ve subbed a naan for a burger bun, trust me, you will not want to go back.
And if you absolutely won’t make a naan dough, here’s a little secret: use storebought pizza dough. It does the job just as well.
Vegan Tandoori Naan Burger
- For tandoori burgers:
- 1 cup red kidney beans soaked overnight, then cooked till tender. Sub with three cups of canned beans., rajma
- 1 medium russet potato boiled until tender, and peeled.
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped really fine in a food processor
- 2 tsp onion powder sub with 1/4 cup minced fresh onions
- 1 tsp garlic powder sub with 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp ginger powder sub with 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp paprika (adds a fabulous color-- we are not using any food coloring usually used in tandoori spices to give that orange-red color)
- 1/2 tsp cayenne optional
- 2 tsp garam masala powder
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves minced
- 2 tbsp kasoori methi crushed, dry fenugreek leaves
- 1 tsp chaat masala sub with 1 tbsp lemon juice
- For coriander raita:
- 6 oz silken firm tofu
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp minced coriander leaves
- 1 green chili like serrano, deseeded if you're sensitive to heat
- Salt to taste
- Make the burgers:
- In a large bowl, mash the potatoes and then add the beans and mash them coarsely. Don't smush the beans into a paste because you want some texture.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix well. Very clean hands are the best way to get in the bowl and make sure all of the flavor's spread all around.
- Form the beans into patties. I made six hefty patties, but you can shape them smaller if you have a mind to.
- Spray a nonstick griddle with some oil spray and when hot, grill the patties over medium-high heat until brown-black spots appear. Flip over and grill the other side.
- Make the naan buns:
Use this recipe to make the naan bread dough. Break off enough of the dough to form a one-inch ball.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the naan slightly larger than the diameter of your burger (you want to do this because the dough can spring back a little)
- On a very hot griddle, spray some oil and grill the naan on each side until golden-brown spots appear. The naan will rise and become a little puffy on the griddle, which is great.
- Make the coriander raita:
- Blitz all of the raita ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Assemble the burger:
- Slather on some of the coriander raita on the naan bun, layer on some leafies, onions and tomatoes, if you please, and the burger patty. Eat.
Just a few veggie burgers from Holy Cow!’s archives:
July 2010: Fat-free Black Bean Burgers
March 2011: Bean and Oats Burgers
May 2013: Quinoa and Bean Burgers
March 2014: Beet Burgers
June 2015: Sprouted Mung Bean Burgers
If you like this recipe, or try it, let me know in the comments below. And a word to readers: I recently discovered some reader comments were being filtered out by the spam filter when I checked it on a whim. I don’t know how long this has been happening, or how often, but if you left a comment and it was not posted, I apologize. And I promise better vigilance. Your feedback is important to me, and I’d never, never delete a legitimate comment on purpose.