August 16, 2021
From Vegan Life

Island Burger

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

Taymer Mason is a guest on the Caribbean episode on The Vegan Life Magazine Podcast – listen here 

Makes 4 burgers

This is the burger I used to make for my university friends when they came over to study at my house. Tome, an Island Burger is a burger with a big Caribbean influence.

  • 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water
  • 1 cup (100 g) 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
  • ½Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Bajan Seasoning (page 26)
  • 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
  • ¼teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½teaspoon mild paprika
  • ½teaspoon pink or sea salt
  • Neutral-flavored oil, for cooking
  • 4 buns, split
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • Pineapple Barbecue sauce (page 42) or Sauce Chien (page 37)
  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, corn starch, all spice, 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.


You can bake the patties instead of frying. Just put them in a 350°F (180°C) 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.