How to make awesome veggie burgers
August 14, 2007 9:12 PM   Subscribe

Help me make an a really good veggie burger.

Bonus points for a recipe that's forgiving of substitutions, or a general technique for making them from what's on hand. I'm planning on making big batches and freezing them for members of my (large, vegetarian) house to eat for lunch, and while there's usually lots of veggies, beans and grains in the pantry, I can't always count on a particular ingredient being available.
posted by nebulawindphone to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know how good any of these are, but have you see the veggie loaf generator?

Magic Veggie Loaf
posted by cobaltnine at 9:31 PM on August 14, 2007 [3 favorites]

Here's a an excellent black bean burger from the Veggie Works Vegan Cookbook (courtesy of the NJ restaurant formerly known as "Veggie Works") My roommates and I recently used it to make a huge batch for BBQ and the audience loved it.

The recipe makes one burger but if you play with the proportions, it is super easy to make a lot, and the ingredients are totally substituable/substractable. Shredded zucchini usually serves as a nice filler for whatever you might not have.


1/4 cup black beans - cooked & mashed
1/4 onion - diced
1/4 colored bell pepper - diced
1 garlic clove - diced
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 small carrot - shredded
2 Tbsps bread crumbs
2 pinches chili powder
2 pinches cajun spice blend
3 Tbsps soy oil (for skillet or griddle)

Mash up the cooked beans a little, but don't puree. Dice the onions, peppers and garlic. With the exception of the frying oil, combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl; then using your hands to knead ingredients, mix well. Form resulting burger 'meat' into a ball, then press into a patty.

Pour oil on a griddle or skillet and cook burger for 4-5 minutes, covered on low to medium heat. Flip and cook uncovered for another 4-5 minutes. These can also be grilled.

If you have some Textured vegetable protein, you can throw that in for extra "meat" texture.

A tip for making large batches: make patties and separate on a plate using wax paper, as the burgers are pretty sticky.
posted by larva at 9:56 PM on August 14, 2007 [7 favorites]

Cook's Illustrated had a recipe a while back. I haven't tried it myself, but their recipes are usually spot-on:

Makes 12 4-inch burgers
Canned lentils can be used, though some flavor will be sacrificed. Use a 15 -ounce can, drain the lentils in a mesh strainer, and thoroughly rinse under cold running water before spreading them on paper towels and drying them, as directed in step 1 below. If you cannot find panko, use 1 cup of plain bread crumbs.

3/4 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
2 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3/4 cup bulgur wheat
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine (2 cups)
1 large celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 small leek, white and light green parts only, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (2 teaspoons)
1 pound cremini or white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 6 1/2 cups)
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Ground black pepper
12 burger buns for serving

1. Bring 3 cups water, lentils, and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are just beginning to fall apart, about 25 minutes. Drain in fine-mesh strainer. Line baking sheet with triple layer paper towels and spread drained lentils over. Gently pat lentils dry with additional paper towels; cool lentils to room temperature.
2. While lentils simmer, bring 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in small saucepan. Stir bulgur wheat into boiling water and cover immediately; let stand off heat until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in fine-mesh strainer; use rubber spatula to press out excess moisture. Transter bulgur to medium bowl and set aside.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery, leek, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Spread vegetable mixture on second baking sheet to cool; set aside. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet; heat over high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Spread mushrooms on baking sheet with vegetable mixture; cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
4. Process cashews in food processor until finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses (do not wash food processor blade or bowl); stir into bowl with bulgur along with cooled lentils, vegetable-mushroom mixture, and mayonnaise. Transfer half of mixture to now-empty food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, fifteen to twenty 1-second pulses; mixture should be cohesive but roughly textured. Transfer processed mixture to large bowl; repeat with remaining unprocessed mixture and combine with first batch. Stir in panko, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Line baking sheet with paper towels. Divide mixture into 12 portions, about 1/2 cup each, shaping each into tightly packed patty, 4 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick; set patties on baking sheet; paper towels will absorb excess moisture. (Patties can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days.) TO COOK ON THE GRILL: Build medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat gas grill on high. Using tongs, wipe grate with wad of paper towels dipped lightly in vegetable oil. Grill burgers, without moving them, until well browned, about 5 minutes; flip burgers and continue cooking until well browned on second side, about 5 minutes. Serve. TO COOK ON THE STOVETOP: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering; cook burgers, 4 at a time, until well browned, about 4 minutes per side, lowering heat to medium if browning too quickly. Repeat with additional oil and burgers. Serve. (Cooked burgers can be kept warm in 250-degree oven for up to 30 minutes.)

To freeze: For each burger to be frozen, add 1 tsp panko or 1/2 tsp plain bread crumbs to the mixture before shaping. Thaw frozen patties overnight in the fridge on a triple layer of paper towels covered loosely with plastic wrap. Before cooking, pat the patties dry with paper towels and reshape to make sure they are tightly packed and cohesive
posted by O9scar at 10:42 PM on August 14, 2007 [4 favorites]

Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Edamame Veggie Burger (Food Network)
Veggie Burger with Nuts (Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science Recipe Archive)
Low Fat Black Bean/Veggie Burger (VegWeb)
All-Star Veggie Burger (AllRecipes)
Veggie Burger Mix (RecipeSource)
Veggieburger in Quantity (FatFree)
Easy Veggie Burger for One (RecipeZaar)

The first one (Edamame) is the tastiest, the second from last one claims it is a "freeform recipe" that fits your requirement for quantity. Although the last recipe is labeled "for one" it has a high rating and comes from a trusted site (RecipeZaar).

These recipes were found by searching for "veggie burger" (World's Biggest Cookbook) and you may want to try searching for falafel (the 'original veggie burger') as well.

Some AskMe threads that may be useful:
Reconciliing Foodie-ism with a Low Budget. Assets: a Freezer.
Easy things to cook that freeze well and reheat well for consumption throughout the work week?
Veggie Burgers with Structural Integrity!

O9scar, the Ultimate Veggie Burger sounds delicious. Thanks!
posted by stringbean at 12:27 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Quorn mince works well as a direct substitute for "real" mince; there's no need to brown or pre-cook it - just mix in with the initial ingredients in a big bowl, scoop, shape, cook... tasty, easy, and almost indistinguishable from the real thing - apart from any fatty grisly bits :)
posted by Chunder at 5:25 AM on August 15, 2007

I make turkey burgers, not veggie burgers, but people seem to really like them, so I thought I'd toss in a couple of tips:

-- Lipton Onion Soup Mix! (Kneed it into your burger mix before cooking.)

-- Finely grated onion (Also mixed in before cooking).

-- If you're not vegan, top cooked burgers off with a little bleu cheese. I microwave the burgers for about 10 seconds to melt the cheese.
posted by grumblebee at 7:01 AM on August 15, 2007

I'm still tinkering, always tinkering, with my veggie burger recipe. One ingredient that vastly improved them: smoked almonds, finely ground. They impart a rich, smoky taste (well, duh) and a luscious depth to the various bean/rice bases I've been trying out.
posted by Elsa at 11:21 AM on August 15, 2007

Garbo Burgers: very easy to make and quite tasty.

1 15 1/2 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
1 1/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup water
1 small onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil

Run beans through a food processor till texture is like ground meat. Add remaining ingredients except oil. Let sit 10 to 15 minutes or till water is absorbed. Heat oil in skillet. Spoon patties into skillet and press into burger shapes. Cook on both sides till brown.

posted by Operation Afterglow at 10:40 PM on August 15, 2007

Larva, I made those veggie bean burgers for dinner tonight and they were great! I did add an egg to make them stick together better, but I don't know whether that was necessary. In any case, thanks a lot for this recipe which is definitely a keeper.
posted by hazyjane at 11:15 AM on August 27, 2007

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