Burgers every day of the week? Yes please.
If you want to enjoy a veggie burger every night of the week, Dana Ellis Hoeness Ph.D., MPH, RD, book author A recipe for survivalTry it—as long as it’s “filled with beans, fresh vegetables, and other healthy whole grains or leafy greens,” he says.
(Don’t worry, we have it too How to make a healthy burger Meat too.)
Try this proven formula for a delicious vegan burger that you can prepare and enjoy at home!
1. Choose your base
Beans are in a lot of veggie burgers for good reason: They have a lot going for them.
Hunnes explains that beans make a great nutritional foundation because they’re a source of plant-based protein, but that’s far from their only advantage.
When blended, “it becomes sticky due to the starches, allowing it to mash/stick together well to form a veggie burger.”
They also tolerate cooking well, even if you are grilling.
Lentils are another good option – they blend beautifully and creamy to help combine the burgers Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, author of the new book, California Vegetarian.
2. Add grilled vegetables
Hunnes notes that “roasted vegetables are a great addition to any burger because they’ll add a deep flavor you might not otherwise get.”
Most vegetables are fair game, but try not to add too many vegetables that have a lot of moisture (more on that later).
Palmer loves carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onions.
She suggests whipping them up in a food processor — but stop when you can still get to know the bits of the different ingredients.
3. Go nuts
Palmer loves its veggie burger to hit all the flavors and nutritional notes.
Beans and grains add fiber, protein, and carbs, while chopped nuts and seeds contribute healthy fats, texture and crunch.
Try the usual ones like almonds, walnuts, and cashews, or get creative with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or pistachios.
Roast them for more flavor, but if the nuts and seeds are salty, reduce the salt used elsewhere in your recipe.
4. Choose and add your favorite flavors
Take seasonings like herbs and spices to your veggie burger to the next level.
Staples like dried oregano, smoked paprika, and cumin are great options, but Hunnes challenges you to think beyond that.
Mix in chopped olives, minced garlic, or caramelized onions for added flavor.
Pro type: If you make a large amount of caramelized onions, you can also save them for topping.
Palmer suggests these delicious flavor combinations:
- Herbs: garlic, green onion, coriander
- Thai: ginger, peanuts, red pepper flakes, coriander, basil
- Southwest: garlic, chili powder, coriander, cayenne
5. Add Binder
Your veggie burger mix should be like cookie dough – mixed well and not overly wet or crumbly.
Hunnes explains that beans help hold everything together, as do the extra veggies you include.
If your mixture is too wet, add some breadcrumbs, Hunnes suggests.
You can use rolled oats for a gluten-free option, as well as cooked grains (such as sorghum, farro, or brown rice) for extra texture, Palmer adds.
Still not sure if your burgers will hold up?
Palmer suggests refrigerating the mixture for about an hour, then press into a burger shape.
If it is dry and crumbly, add a little more salt-free broth.
If it’s wet, try reaching for those oats or breadcrumbs, then wait a few minutes for the extra moisture to absorb.
6. Cook food to the fullest
While you can grill a vegan burger entirely, use a cast iron skillet if you’re worried it will fall apart or if the grill grates look too wide.
You can also cook it on the stove, in a skillet over medium heat with 1 teaspoon of oil.
Or bake your veggie burger on parchment paper for a completely oil-free option.
(A good rule of thumb is to bake them at 375℉ for 30-40 minutes, flipping them halfway through.)
7. Add plugins
You know what to do here! Let your creativity run wild.
Go with the classics (pickled onions and tomatoes) or get a little fancy depending on what’s in your burgers.
Try salsa on a southwestern-style veggie burger, or the Green Gods dressing and plenty of fresh veggies on an herb pie.
With that much flavor, you might not even need a cake!
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