Bust out the buns and fire up the grill because June 5th is National Veggie Burger Day! This offbeat holiday was originally founded by Amy’s Kitchen as a way to celebrate all the goodness the hamburger’s vegetarian counterpart brings us. Going veggie isn’t just a healthy option for us humans — it also benefits our planet in a big way. But whether or not you’re a vegetarian or vegan, veggie burgers are a great way to sneak in some extra plant-based protein. And with summer upon us, it’s probably a good idea to have some meat-free options for your next barbeque ready to go. Without further adieu, let’s get to grilling:
This grillable patty comes to us from the folks at Love and Lemons. Its smoky and tangy flavors combine with a tangible texture thanks to the incorporation of walnuts and brown rice. Find the original recipe and description here.
Yield: 6 burgers or 8 sliders
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
- 2 shallots, chopped (⅔ cup)
- 16 ounces mushrooms (mix of shiitake + portobello), destemmed and diced
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mirin (or ½ teaspoon pure maple syrup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons sriracha, more if desired
- ½ cup crushed walnuts
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed
- 2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice (freshly cooked so that it’s sticky)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs, divided
- Vegan worcestershire sauce for brushing
- Nonstick cooking spray for grilling
- Desired burger fixings (buns, vegan mayo or avocado mayo, mustard, ketchup)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft, 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, a generous pinch of salt, and sauté until soft and browned, 6 to 9 minutes, turning down the heat slightly as needed.
- Stir in the tamari, vinegar and mirin. Stir, reduce the heat, then add the garlic, smoked paprika and sriracha. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly.
- In a food processor, combine the sauteed mushrooms, walnuts, flaxseed, brown rice and ½ cup of the panko. Pulse until well-combined.
- Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining panko.
- Form into 8 slider-sized patties or 6 burger-sized patties.
- Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray and drizzle or brush the patties with olive oil. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until char marks form. Remove from the grill, brush with worcestershire sauce and serve with desired fixings.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burger
Cookie and Kate bring us a delightfully sweet and spicy gluten-free burger. They’re also vegan for those of you looking for entirely animal-free ingredients! For best results, create the patty mixture and let it chill in the refrigerator first. Find the original recipe and description here.
Yield: 8 burger patties
- 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (smaller potatoes cook faster)
- ⅓ cup uncooked millet or quinoa (or 1 cup cooked)
- 1 cup old fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats if you are avoiding gluten)
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups cooked black beans)
- ½ small red onion, diced
- ½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked hot paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional, to taste)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- High-quality vegetable oil for cooking burgers (or coconut oil if you don’t mind the coconut taste, olive oil may burn)
- 8 whole-wheat hamburger buns (optional)
- Your favorite burger fixings (avocado or guacamole, tomato or pico de gallo, lettuce, sprouts, ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, pickles, cheese)
- Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Slice the sweet potatoes down the center lengthwise. Place the sweet potatoes cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until they yield to a gentle squeeze, 30 to 40 minutes or longer. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin (it should pull off easily) and roughly chop the insides. Set aside to cool completely.
- Cook the millet: In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Stir in the millet, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender (about 25 minutes). Drain off any remaining liquid and set aside to cool. OR cook the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander, then combine with ⅔ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let the quinoa steam with the lid on for 5 minutes. Then drain off any excess water and set aside to cool.
- Grind the oats: Use a food processor or blender to grind the oats until the flakes are broken up, but not as fine as flour.
- Mix the burgers: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cooled sweet potatoes and millet (or quinoa), black beans, onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, chipotle or paprika, cayenne (optional, add to taste for spicier burgers) and salt. Use a potato masher, big mixing spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer to mix really well. It’s OK if the black beans get smashed in the process.
- Mix in the oats: Sprinkle the ground oats over the mixture and mix well with a big spoon until the mixture holds together when you shape a portion into a patty. If possible, cover and refrigerate the mixture for best results (the patties will hold together better during cooking if they are chilled first).
- Shape the burgers: Use a measuring cup to measure out ½ cup of the mixture. Gently shape it into a patty about 3 ½ inches in diameter. Use your hands to gently flatten the burgers and smooth out any jagged edges. Repeat the process for each patty; you should end up with 8. If you would like to toast your hamburger buns, preheat the oven to 350° F now.
- Pan fry the burgers: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, place several burgers in the pan, leaving enough room to flip them. Cook each patty until browned and heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet for each pan of burgers you fry.
- Toast the buns (optional): Place the buns on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and bake until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Coming straight from Lauren at Tastes Better From Scratch, these quinoa burgers are inspired by a dine-in movie theater menu item she stumbled upon. She tried her own hand at a quinoa burger and came up with these easily adaptable patties. Find the original recipe and description here.
Yield: 5 patties
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, about 1/2 cup dry
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- ½ cup fresh spinach leaves, packed then finely chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs (or rolled oats)
- ¼ cup cup plain Greek yogurt (or mayonnaise)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Your favorite fixings
- Add all burger ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir very well to combine. Taste and add a little more salt and pepper or other spices to your liking, if needed.
- Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Line a large tray with parchment paper. Spoon burger mixture into a ½ cup measuring cup and pack it in with the back of a spoon.
- Invert mixture onto parchment paper. Use your hands to gently press down and mold the sides of the mixture to form a patty. Repeat with remaining mixture — it should make about 5 patties.
- Heat a large-sized skillet over medium heat. Add a little oil to the pan, or spray really well with nonstick cooking spray.
- Once hot, add patties. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until crisp and golden on the bottom.
- Very carefully flip them to the other side and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until golden brown on that side.
- Serve burgers on a whole-wheat bun or lettuce wrap. Top with your favorite fixings.
BBQ Tofu Burger
The Vegan Miam blog gives us an incredible tofu burger with pickled cucumbers and wild arugula to garnish. These bold and funky flavors are sure to wow your vegan and nonvegan guests. Find the original recipe and description here.
Yield: 2 burgers
- Two hamburger buns
- Toasted sesame oil for toasting the buns
- ½ cup wild arugula or favorite leafy greens
- Sriracha for garnish
- Vegan homemade gochujang mayonnaise
- Asian-style pickled cucumbers
- Oil spray
- One (16-ounce) firm tofu, pressed overnight, slice in half (2 tofu slabs)
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons organic ketchup
- 2 tablespoons finely minced sweet onions
- 2 ½ tablespoons coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon BBQ Rub (see recipe above)
- pinch of ground cayenne
- pinch of ground black pepper
- Put all the BBQ Rub ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. This is your BBQ Rub. Set it aside.
- Put all the BBQ sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Let the sauce cool a bit. Using a handheld immersion blender, puree the sauce in your cooking pot.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Rub the tofu slabs all over with the remaining BBQ Rub. Apply a thin layer of oil (or use a nonstick cooking spray) to condition the surface of the pan, when needed. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until lightly browned, flipping both halfway through.
- In a large saucepan at medium heat, warm up the BBQ sauce. Quickly coat both sides of tofu, stirring occasionally until desired temperature is reached (about 5-8 minutes). Do this for both tofu slabs. Drizzle the sauce over the tofu in the end. Optional: You can press the tofu slabs in a panini grill quickly for the creative grill marks.
- Toast your hamburger buns onto the griddle pan at medium-high heat with toasted sesame oil until slightly golden brown. Spread one of the buns with gochujang mayonnaise. Add the BBQ tofu, greens and a bit of Sriracha. Add whatever filling you like! Serve and enjoy!
Eggplant and Halloumi Burger
The vegetarian cuisine blog master Veggie Belly supplies us with one of the more interesting takes on veggie burgers. The halloumi cheese and eggplant gives this burger a more exotic flavor you won’t find anywhere else. Find the original recipe and description here.
Yield: 4 burgers
- 1 medium eggplant, weighing about 1 pound
- ¾ tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper
- 4 ounce halloumi cheese
- 4 medium-sized burger buns
- 4 teaspoons pesto
- Mayonnaise, according to taste (optional)
- 2 leaves of lettuce, cut in half
- 1 large tomato, cut into 4 slices
- Cut the eggplant into ½-inch thick rounds at its widest part. Save the remaining eggplant for another dish. Place the sliced eggplant in a shallow dish.
- Whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning salt and pepper together. When adding salt, keep in mind that the halloumi is an already salty cheese. Pour the whisked ingredients over the eggplant rounds, and toss well to coat.
- Slice the halloumi into ½ inch thick slices.
- Heat a grill on medium-high heat. You can use an outdoor grill or a cast iron stove top grill.
- When the grill is hot, arrange the eggplant slices on the grill and cook for about 6 minutes on each side or until the eggplant is cooked.
- Grill the halloumi slices on both sides until golden grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side.
- If you don’t have a grill, you can cook the eggplant and halloumi in batches on a large skillet.
- You are now ready to assemble the burgers.
- Spread some mayonnaise, if using, on 2 halves of a burger bun. Take one half of a bun and stack the grilled eggplant and halloumi, and spread 1 teaspoon of pesto. Top it with tomato and lettuce. Place the other half of the burger bun on top.
- Serve with fries or a chilled cucumber salad tossed with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.