Veggie burgers are not easy to make awesome, but we think this one nails it. This is part of Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.
- 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ cup unsalted, roasted cashews
- 1 tablespoon old-fashioned oats
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar (about 2 ounces)
- ¼ cup Cotija cheese or Greek feta, finely crumbled (about 1 ounce)
- 6 slices cheese, such as American or cheddar (optional)
- 6 seeded hamburger buns, lightly toasted
- Special Sauce, bread-and-butter pickles, torn lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and Dijon mustard (for serving)
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook barley in a small pot of boiling salted water until very tender, 40–50 minutes. Drain; let cool.
Meanwhile, chop mushrooms into ¼"–½" pieces. Arrange in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast until mushrooms have lost half of their volume and are tender, 12–15 minutes. This step is essential—it removes much of the excess liquid from the mushrooms, which would lead to a mushy patty. Let cool.
Spread beans on another large rimmed baking sheet and roast, tossing once, until most of them have split open and look dry around the edges, 8–10 minutes. The beans are an essential addition for binding the patty, and add protein. Let cool.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over medium. Cook onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until soft, 8–10 minutes. Let cool. Pulse cashews and oats in a food processor until finely chopped.
Whisk mayonnaise, egg yolk, miso, chili powder, agave, paprika, and cayenne in a large bowl. Add cooled barley, mushrooms, beans, onion mixture, and cashew mixture. Mash with a potato masher until mixture is well blended and sticky, about 2 minutes. Transfer one-quarter of the mixture to food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. Return to bowl with remaining patty blend. Stir in cheddar and Cotija cheese; season with salt and pepper. Form mixture into 6 patties (lightly oiling your hands will prevent it from sticking).
Do Ahead: Patties can be made 2 days ahead; wrap tightly and chill. Or, freeze in a single layer, then wrap tightly up to 3 months. Thaw before cooking.
Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Working in batches, cook patties until dark brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Place cheese slices over burgers, if using; cover and cook just long enough for cheese to melt, about 1 minute. Serve on buns with your choice of toppings.
Ultimate Veggie Burger
This is my go-to veggie burger recipe, and there is a secret involved. Here's the deal. I've been making these veggie burgers for years. It's a great base recipe, and you can tweak the patties with different seasonings and toppings, based on what you have on hand. I posted them on 101 Cookbooks first in 2007, after including them in Super Natural Cooking.
Ultimate Veggie Burgers
It's been my goal for awhile now to make a bang-up version of a veggie burger.
But every time I really thought about it, I was super intimidated.
I mean, all of those weird ingredients, lots of chopping, and then the fear that after the first bite, the whole thing might just fall apart.
So instead of tackling this daunting task head-on, I've avoided it like the plague.
I just told myself that someday I'd make a better—no, a perfect—veggie burger.
More perfect than any other one out there.
And so when the time came for me to face my fear, I came up with something that makes me wonder what I was so afraid of in the first place.
My Ultimate Veggie Burgers have no weird ingredients, are super dense (for that BIG bite experience!), and look better than some of the best beef patties you've ever laid eyes on!
Like all amazing things we can't have right away, the reward is SO worth the wait!
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Veggie Burger — You can use any of your favorite veggie burgers, such as Impossible Burgers, Pure Farmland Burgers, or these Field Roast Hand-Formed Veggie Burgers.
- Veggie Bacon Strips — You can use storebought bacon or make these tempeh bacon strips.
- Vegan Cheddar Block — Sure you can use vegan cheddar slices, but I find the Daiya Vegan Cheddar Style Block delivers an extra-cheesy flavor.
- Avocado — You’ll need an avocado (or two) to cut into slices and serve on your burgers.
- Vegan butter — You can use tub margarine, Earth Balance, or homemade vegan butter.
- Buns — Use any of your favorite dairy-free buns.
It’s a little embarrassing how many times Alex and I have made a grilled veggie burger recipe that flopped. The reason that it’s so difficult to make a veggie burger recipe that doesn’t fall apart on the grill is that, well, newsflash: it’s not a meat burger! Molding together a bunch of vegetables and grains does not necessarily equal the consistency of a burger.
Problems with grilled veggie burger recipes are that they’re too dry and crumble on the grill, or they’re too mushy. And there’s nothing worse than biting into a burger with the consistency of mashed potatoes! After 10 years of experimenting, here are all our secrets to our best veggie burger recipe that doesn’t fall apart on the grill:
- Rice & walnuts: Rice makes a firm texture and helps the visual appeal. Walnuts create a firm texture and add protein.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas are main veggie here we mash them with a fork to keep some of their texture as well.
- Flour: The flour acts as a binder to hold everything together. You can use any type of flour, including gluten free flour if desired.
- Egg White: We tried to make this burger recipe vegan, but unfortunately it needed another binder to hold it all together! Egg white is the final secret ingredient to keep everything held together. (Feel free to try a flax egg — and let us know how it goes!)
- Barbecue sauce: We painted these burgers with barbecue sauce to get a color and shine that looks similar to a beef burger. Try our Homemade BBQ Sauce that you can make in just 10 minutes!
- 3/4cup dried brown lentils , rinsed and picked over
2 1/2teaspoons table salt
2tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions , chopped fine (2 cups)
1rib celery (large), chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 small leek , white and light green parts only, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
2medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (2 teaspoons)
1pound cremini mushrooms (or white), cleaned and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 6 1/2 cups)
1cup raw unsalted cashew
2cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Ground black pepper
How to put together a super lectin-free burger
Now, there are many ways to make a lectin-free burger. But if we strive to make it super nutritious, absolutely guilt-free and good-looking – because yes, we eat with the eyes first – then this one ticks all the boxes.
The patty is made of walnuts, beetroots, onion, mushrooms, herbs and a touch of cassava flour. And one cup of 100% grass-fed ground beef if you want to give it the animal protein kick.
For stacking use crispy, fresh, vibrant green lettuce, red onion rings and some lectin-free pickles of your choice. I felt like using pickled ginger for this one, but you can use okra, even pickled red onion. The reason I used ginger is that it’s slightly sweet, unlike okra which is a bit sour for a burger. But that’s just my taste and a feel of the moment.
Grain-free, lectin-free bun
You can use a grain-free, lectin-free bun. I make mines with California Country Gal bread mix or use a portobello mushroom as a base.
If you are not familiar with California Country Gal bread flour yet, she is a Plant Paradox friend, has been interviewed by Dr. Gundry and you can check their website here. All the flour mixes are the same. They are just packed in different packages for easier reference to the final product you can make with (and the full recipes on the back of the package). You can also use code CLAUDIA to get 20% off if you buy from her website.
For the bun, you can also use the Multi-purpose bread mix from Gundry MD. You will get 20% off when buying 3 bags or more in my Ambassador shop. They are a healthy alternative to whole grains and gluten.
If you want to make your own lectin-free bun, you can follow this recipe Lectin-Free Hamburger Buns (Nut-Free, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free).
Cheese and sauce
For cheese, I used shavings of Pecorino Romano. You can also use Parmigiano Reggiano or even a compliant blue cheese for a stronger taste.
I made the sauce of avocado mayo (I use Primal Kitchen but you can use homemade), Kimchi Sriracha from WildBrine (or another compliant hot sauce, like Tabasco), horseradish, a tiny bit of bourbon and spices. And to really make it stand out, add one slice of crispy Prosciutto di Parma on top (mine is cut in two pieces).
The Ultimate Veggie Burger
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The Ultimate Veggie Burger
- For the Burgers
- 2 cups beet root peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 cup red quinoa white is just as fine, cooked
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 tbsp wholemeal bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp flax seeds
- 1 tsp coconut oil melted
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- For the Dressing
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 tbsp tahini sesame paste
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- For the Fries
- 2 sweet potatoes peeled and cut in 1/4-inch long slices, then 1/4-wide inch strips
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp cornmeal
- For assembling
- 4 Wholemeal buns
- 1 bunch of parsley finely chopped
- For the buns (6-8 buns)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp unrefined sugar
- 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1 tbsp virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ cup filtered water
- ½ cup warm vegan milk of choice
The Ultimate Veggie Burger
I am not a vegetarian, but that hasn’t stopped me from embracing the veggie burger. Not to the exclusion of beef burgers, mind you, but to savor in its own right. I turn to veggie burgers when I crave the hamburger experience (soft bun, chewy protein, lots of spicy condiments) but would, at that moment, rather consume vegetables than meat.
Making a pretty good veggie burger is easy. Making a great one is a lot harder.
The downfall of many a recipe is the mush factor. Most of the elements that often go into a homemade veggie burger (vegetables, beans and tofu) are high in moisture, which can lead to a soggy patty that’s unpleasant to eat and nearly impossible to flip on the grill without it falling apart. Getting a veggie burger with great flavor and the right texture is challenging. (So much so that accomplished chefs like Brooks Headley, the pastry chef at Del Posto, have taken up the cause.)
To develop my version, I cooked my way through more than a dozen recipes I found online and in Lukas Volger’s authoritative cookbook “Veggie Burgers Every Which Way” (The Experiment, 2010). My favorites took the extra step of precooking the vegetables, which eliminates their water and condenses their flavors, before blitzing them in the food processor.
In his treatise on black bean burgers on the website Serious Eats, J. Kenji López-Alt goes even further to reduce the moisture by roasting the beans before adding to the mix. I absorbed this trick into my recipe and used kidney beans to keep the flavor a bit more neutral. I also adopted his use of mayonnaise, which made the burgers succulent and almost juicy.
I like how tempeh and ground nuts added a nubby meat-like texture to other burger recipes I tried, and the way mushrooms and cheese added a savory umami character. Grated roasted beets gave the burger a slightly pink color that resembled beef, so I added that, too. Finally, pimentón lent spicy, smoky notes. To my taste, I had arrived at the ultimate veggie burger.
This recipe has a long list of ingredients and several steps to complete. But the ingredients are easy to find and the steps are simple. And you can make a double batch and freeze the extra mix. The next time the veggie burger craving hits, you’ll be ready.