Caribbean Island “Burger” Recipe

Learn how to whip up these vegan burgers packed with authentic Caribbean flavors.

From "Caribbean Vegan"
April 2018

  • These vegan burgers can be topped with many of the specialty Caribbean condiments from "Caribbean Vegan".
    Photo by Matthew Benson
  • “Caribbean Vegan” by Taymer Mason is a full guide to bringing authentic and vegan Caribbean cuisine into your daily life.
    Photo courtesy of The Experiment Publishing

Yield: 4 servings

Caribbean Vegan (The Experiment, 2016) by Taymer Mason makes the colorful flavors of the Caribbean available to vegans, with over 200 authentic recipes straight from the islands. These recipes range from the classic Caribbean dishes to new and inventive recipes cooked up by Mason. The following excerpt is her recipe for Caribbean island burgers.

This is the burger I used to make for my university friends when they came over to study at my house. To me, an Island Burger is a burger with a big Caribbean influence. I recommend serving these burger patties on Salt Bread, with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce or Sauce Chien for condiments. Make some Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Chips to serve alongside. Do not forget the sugary Fried Plantains —and a big appetite.


• 1 cup (240 milliliters) boiling water
• 1 cup (100 grams) textured vegetable protein (TVP) granules
• 2 slices whole-grain bread, toasted
• 1 carrot, grated
• 4 green onions (green part only), finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried
• 1 tablespoon chopped mild chile peppers, such as Hungarian wax pepper, optional
• 2 large garlic cloves, pressed
• 1/2 Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
• 1 to 2 tablespoons ketchup
• 1 tablespoon Bajan Seasoning
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon Angostura bitters
• 1 teaspoon American-style prepared mustard
• 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, optional
• 2 tablespoons fine bread crumbs
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/2 teaspoon mild paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon pink or sea salt
• Neutral-flavored oil, for cooking
• 4 buns, split
• 4 lettuce leaves
• Pineapple Barbecue sauce or Sauce Chien, optional


1. To make the burger patties, pour the boiling water over the TVP, stir, and cover. Let the TVP hydrate for 5 to 10 minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess water, but don’t squeeze too hard or the final mixture will be too dry.

2. Put the toasted bread in a food processor and pulse to form coarse crumbs. Add the TVP, carrot, green onions, basil, optional mild chiles, garlic, and Scotch bonnet and pulse for a few seconds, until the mixture is chopped fairly fine.

3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the ketchup, Bajan Seasoning, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, bitters, mustard, flour, optional vital wheat gluten, fine bread crumbs, cornstarch, allspice, paprika, and salt. Mix well. With floured hands, divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and shape into burger patties.

4. To cook the burgers, heat a bit of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the burger patties for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through in the middle. You can also bake them (see Island Tip).

5. To assemble the burgers, place a lettuce leaf and burger patty on each bottom bun half. Top with optional sauce and the top bun half

Island Tips: You can bake the patties instead of frying. Just put them in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) oven for 20 to 22 minutes, turning once halfway during the cooking process.

To freeze the patties, layer them between sheets of waxed paper and place in a freezer bag. Thaw them before cooking. If the thawed patties are too wet and crumbly, add a little our and bread crumbs and reshape them before cooking.

If you haven’t made any Pineapple Barbecue Sauce but want to use some on your burger, here’s a quick shortcut: Puree 2 rings of canned pineapple and 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice, then stir in 1 cup of store-bought barbecue sauce.

More from: Caribbean Vegan

Trinidadian Doubles Recipe
Authentic Caribbean Rum Cake Recipe
Classic Barbadian Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Recipe from Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion, Expanded Second Edition © Taymer Mason, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

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