Superiority Burger Cookbook
The Vegetarian Hamburger is Now Delicious
This cookbook is so hipster it hurts. But if you a) love New York like I do, and b) like to eat plant-based food, resistance is futile. Look through this book and you will be picturing yourself hanging out in the East Village at the real Superiority Burger, maybe stopping by the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop for dessert. Even better, the recipes are really good.
Brooks Headley, the owner of Superiority Burger and the author of the cookbook, has an interesting pedigree. He is a professional musician and award winning pastry chef and cookbook author. In 2015, he opened Superiority Burger, a vegetarian (mostly vegan) burger joint.
It’s not just burgers, but I couldn’t write this article without trying its namesake burger. As Headley describes – “This is not fake meat, nor is it trying to be. The un-likeness to the real thing is canny”. The burgers are vegetable and grain patties made of quinoa, chickpeas, breadcrumbs and walnuts, with sautéed onions and lots of spices. And they are delicious. I made the burgers for an audience of two – one who likes veggie burgers and one who does not and I am pleased to report that these were a hit. They are a bit fragile but held together in a bun.
I also tried the faux Sloppy Joe’s, titled Sloppy Dave after a loyal customer. Instead of meat, these are made with ground tofu. The sauce is a tangy BBQ sauce-like mix of sautéed vegetables, tomatoes and spices. This was actually good; the key is the crispy fried onions on top. We also liked it with melted cheese on top of the mix, under the onions. I only have two comments. One is that OMG it did take time to cook and made a lot of dishes, although it could be made ahead. The other is that I would reduce the ketchup and vinegar next time to make it a bit more savoury.
I tried the Burnt Broccoli Salad with the candied nuts but without the accompanying eggplant puree or coriander vinaigrette. It was quite acidic but good. Everything appears to have lots of acid, heat and other spices and I like that. There are many vegetable dishes. I was set to make Braised Collard Greens with Hot Sauce and Honey over polenta, but we couldn’t find collard greens. Fennel and Celery Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Roasted Rutabaga with Brown Rice and Pomegranate Molasses also sounds good to me.
Is it perfect? No – there are lots of ingredients and can be lots of dishes. Surprisingly for a pastry chef, the directions are not always precise – surely I am supposed to add oil to the pan when I am sautéeing vegetables? But the recipes aren’t hard, they are flexible and the recipes inspire me to eat more vegetables. And as always, I ♥ New York.