Boca Burgers and Tofu Pups and Quorn patties and whatnot are all fine and well but as any good vegetarian (and those of us fascinated with fake meat) can tell you, any time a new "not"wurst or soyrizo appears, it's gangbusters. Enter the Walnut Burger: a thin, wide patty hewing chopped walnuts together with mozzarella and Wisconsin cheddar, eggs, onions, tamari, oil, and other spices to make a flavorful, nutty alternative for your next cookout.
The nuts provide a savory quality and a fullness that you don't necessarily get with a typical veggie burger, There's also the nice crunch and the cheeses add a slight chewiness and salt. Importantly, the Walnut Burger is more nearly capable of carrying you to your next meal whereas like an hour and a half after eating a veggie burger, you're like "Yo, ok, where's my second dinner."
There's just one thing: The burger package explicitly says *not* to grill the patties. An ungrillable burger? This just does not compute.Upon disobeying this instruction, its origins become clear. The patties are rather wide and thin making them a little unwieldy to flip in addition to the fact that they get soft and want to curl down into the grates. But, bah! Just be vigilant.
The Walnut Burger has been around a while, more than 20 years. It hails from Trempealeau, Wis., a small town a few hours downriver, less than 20 miles south of Winona where it is a featured item on the Trempealeau Hotel restaurant menu. It boasts its own website and Facebook page.
Their availability in the Twin Cities is limited, but most of the local co-ops carry them, as does Kowalski's, where a package of four costs $9.39 (more than Boca and the rest, but worth it, at least once in a while). Put down your weeny black bean burger and try one.