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Vegan Patty Melt

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A Vegan Patty Melt loaded with Caramelized Onions, a Creamy Pepper Sauce, on grilled Texas Toast will make you say What A Burger!

It’s been a while since I’ve veganized WHATABURGER so I thought I’d make one of my all time favorites, the Vegan Patty Melt! Now look, I’ll admit, I’ve never had the original from Whataburger, but I can say with pretty full confidence that if you make this the way I did, it’ll cure any craving you might have for it. And if you’ve never had one, then you need to make this ASAP as it’s just a darn good burger. Without hyperbole, it’s in my top 5 that I’ve ever made vegan or not!

If you have tried the original from Whataburger, and make this, please let me know how it stacks up! Oh, and this recipe is also available in my Cookbook: VEGAN FAST FOOD! Check it out if you wanna make more vegan fast food copycats!

What is a patty melt?

Traditionally a Patty Melt is served on rye bread, with Swiss cheese and grilled onions. I’ve had it many different ways. With white bread, sourdough, maybe some pickles and mustard. I try not to gate-keep things, so for me, as long as it’s a cheeseburger with onions between some grilled bread, it’s a Patty Melt to me! You’re essentially making a grilled cheese with a burger patty and some onions. So add whatever you like!

I will say that the flavors and textures of this Patty Melt are pretty perfect. So make it as is before trying any modifications!

Bread

So of course, Whataburger eschews the traditions and goes for something more Texas, namely Texas Toast! Which is really just thick cut white bread. I use the brand Rainbo, and to be honest, it’s hard to find where I live in Southern California. I can really only find it at Smart & Final.

So if you can’t find any, I would suggest using a sourdough, or any thick white bread you can find. Just make sure you butter it well and grill it until golden brown!

Onions

I’m not gonna lie, it takes a while to grill the onions properly. But, it’s totally worth it in my opinion! Plus it’s pretty easy, and you can read a book or something while you do it. All it really involves is stirring the onions around, making sure they aren’t getting burned, and really, that’s about it. Plus you’ll have some leftovers for later and can quickly whip some burgers up! You can even freeze the leftover onions if you want. Or use them to make some In-N-Out Burgers or some Vegan Onion Dip!

Recently I’ve been finishing my onions with some balsamic vinegar and vegan beef broth. I find this just adds an extra level of umami flavor and it’s relatively easy to do! Just add at once they are just about done and then reduce the liquid. That’s it!

Burger Patties

The burger patties are quite large at Whataburger. Well, they are large and thin. I recommend weighing out 4 oz of plant-based meat (I used Impossible Meat) and then forming either with a cookie cutter that’s the size of your bread or by using a burger iron or spatula to smash the balls into patties in between 2 pieces of burger paper.

But season your patties with salt and pepper to taste, and cook them for about 3 minutes per side over medium high heat!

Don’t wanna use store-bought plant-based meat? Check out my TVP BURGER RECIPE RIGHT HERE!

creamy pepper sauce

Between the buttered Texas Toast, Caramelized Onions, and Double Cheeseburger, it’s hard to say that the Creamy Pepper Sauce is the star of this burger, but I really do think that’s the case. It just ties everything together so perfectly. It’s tangy and spicy, and it just cuts through all the richness of the onions and burger patties.

I highly recommend blending the sauce as it will make it taste that much better, and the texture will be smoother and more emulsified as well.

Cheese

For the Cheese, use a Vegan Swiss if you can. I used the one by Daiya. But any white cheese like provolone, mozzarella will do. Heck, even cheddar or American will be fine! So use whatever you can!

storage

Store leftover sauce and onions in the fridge and use within 3 days (or freeze onions). The great thing about this recipe is if you make enough for leftovers, you can whip up a Patty Melt in under 10 minutes!

Other Recipes You Will Dig!

Yield: 1 Burger (with extra Onions & Sauce)

Vegan Patty Melt

Vegan Patty Melt

Ingredients

  • 2 slices Texas Toast (vegan)
  • 2 slices vegan cheese (Swiss, Provolone etc)
  • 2 (4 oz.) plant-based burger patties (like Beyond, Impossible)

Creamy Pepper Sauce

  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp diced chipotles in adobo
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Caramelized Onions

  • 3 lbs. Yellow or Brown Onions (diced)
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 Tbsp neutral oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup vegan beef broth (optional)

Instructions

Caramelized Onions

  1. The most time consuming part of this is grilling the onions, so let's start that before anything else. Add the vegan butter and oil to a pan over medium / medium high heat. Once melted and bubbling, add your onions and stir to coat. Stir it frequently, and after 10 minutes, add in a pinch of salt and sugar, which will help with the flavor and browning.
  2. You can try to multitask and grill the onions while you prepare the rest of the burger components, but either way, just keep an eye on them and make sure they don't brown too fast, or even worse, burn! Lower the heat as needed, stir frequently, and deglaze with some water if they stick to the pan. They should be perfect in about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Optionally, you can add 1 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar and 1/4 - 1/2 cup of vegan beef broth. Then just cook them down and reduce the broth. This will add some extra beefy flavor! Once they are done, remove from the heat and reserve.

Creamy Pepper Sauce

  1. Combine everything in a blender (I recommend using something like a bullet blender if you got it). Blend until smooth and luxurious! You can skip the blender step, but it won't be nearly as good!

Patty Melt

  1. The rest is easy! Just spread some vegan butter or mayo on one side of your Texas Toast and grill over medium heat until golden brown. Flip and grill on the other side just for a minute or so to slightly brown the inside as well. Let them cool on a wire rack.
  2. Raise the heat to medium high and then add your burger patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 3 minutes, then flip, add a slice of vegan cheese to each patty. Then drop in a little water to the pan, and cover the pan to steam and melt the cheese. Once melted remove from the pan.
  3. Assemble the burger as follows from bottom to top: Texas Toast, 2 cheeseburger patties, onions, sauce, Texas Toast! And dig in!

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