A veggie burger is a delicious and nutritious alternative to a traditional beef burger, and with this hearty and flavorful recipe, you'll never even miss the meat!
A Flavorful Veggie Burger
Even though I am not vegetarian, every now and then I'll get a little hankering for a burger with a twist, one without any meat yet filled with lots of hearty, satisfying ingredients and loads of flavor.
This is when a delicious veggie burger is the perfect pick, one that is brimming with great texture and “bite”, plus rich in protein and fiber from all the various, tasty little morsels that it's prepared with.
When topped with all the traditional fixings, this veggie burger is one that both meat eaters and vegetarians alike will gladly tuck into, and never miss the beef! 😉
How to Make a Veggie Burger
Because there isn't any meat-based protein in a veggie burger recipe, there's definitely a need for binding ingredients so that the patties will have lots of texture and will hold well together.
After doing lots and lots of recipe testing on veggie burger mixtures, I've found that the best combo of ingredients to create that well-formed texture and heartiness is chickpeas, barley, plus a handful of other ingredients that are sauteed and processed.
Onions and celery are some aromatics that when added create a lot of flavor, and mushrooms add lots of great texture to the patties by way of a sort of “meatiness”.
Sun-dried tomatoes add a bit of tang and sweet-savoriness, herbs and spices add freshness and warmth. Walnuts, when processed, add a soft “crumble”, and that helps bind things even more.
While it's true that preparing a homemade veggie burger recipe may be a little time consuming as the ingredients do require some sauteing and processing, the end result is scrumptious and truly unlike anything you've had from the frozen foods isle, or perhaps even eating out.
With the addition of my creamy lemon-garlic mayo sauce to spread on the buns, this becomes a recipe for quite the gourmet sandwich!
Here's an overview of my veggie burger recipe:
- To begin, I prep my lemon-garlic mayo and set that aside to chill.
- Then, I cook my barley, and while the barley cooks, I saute my onions and my celery, next my mushrooms, and allow those to cool for a little while.
- Next, I process my chickpeas along with my sun-dried tomatoes, followed by processing my walnuts.
- I process my sauteed veggies, and then make my mixture by combining the barley, the processed chickpeas, walnuts, and processed veggies, along with my spices and seasonings and a couple of other recipe ingredients.
- Finally, I chill the mixture for 30 minutes before shaping into patties (they can be frozen at this point for later as well), then sear and serve!
(My full recipe is below...)
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 8 (6 ounce) burgers
Nutrition Info: 856 calories (includes 2 tablespoons mayo, cheese and bun)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Veggie Burger Ingredients:
• Avocado oil
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press, divided use
• 3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
• 2 1/2 cups water, plus 2 tablespoons, divided use
• Black pepper
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
• 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
• 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
• 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed, divided in half
• 3 oz sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed), julienned
• 3/4 cup walnuts
• 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or desired amount)
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
• Jack cheese, sliced
• Wheat buns, toasted
• Lettuce leaves for topping
• Tomato slices for topping
• Red onion slices for topping
• Sprouts (optional)
Lemon-Garlic Mayo Ingredients:
• 1 cup mayo
• 2 tablespoons non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
• 1 tablespoon feta cheese crumbles
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 large garlic clove, paper removed and smashed
• Pinch of salt
• Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- To prepare the lemon-garlic mayo: place all ingredients into the bowl of the food processor, and process until completely smooth and creamy; spoon into a container and cover, and keep in fridge until ready to use.
- To prepare the veggie burger mixture: prepare the barley by placing a medium non-stick pot over medium heat; add in about 1 tablespoon of oil, and about 1 clove of the pressed garlic; when the garlic becomes aromatic, add in the pearl barley and toast it in the oil/garlic for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching; once the barley is slightly golden and toasted, add the 2 1/2 cups of water, cover, and simmer gently for about 30-35 minutes until the barley is tender and the water absorbed; scoop the cooked barley out into a large bowl and allow to cool.
- While the barley is cooking, place a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and add in about 1 tablespoon of oil; add in the chopped onion and celery, plus a pinch of salt and black pepper, and saute the vegetables for about 2-3 minutes, or until they are a light golden-brown; next, add the remainder of the pressed garlic to this mixture, and stir together until the garlic becomes aromatic; spoon the onion/celery/garlic mixture into a bowl to allow it to cool, and set that aside for a few moments.
- In the same non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat, add about another 1-2 tablespoons of oil, and add in the mushrooms, plus a pinch of salt and black pepper; saute the mushrooms for about 10 minutes, or until they become a very deep, brown color and no water remains in them, and they begin to almost stick to the pan; spoon them into another bowl to cool, and set that aside for a few moments.
- Next, add half of the garbanzo beans into the bowl of a food processor along with the sun-dried tomatoes, plus the 2 tablespoons of water, and pulse/puree until they form a thick “paste” and are as smooth as possible (you may need to scrape the sides down a couple of times); turn that mixture out into the bowl with the cooled barely; next, add the remainder of the garbanzo beans into the food processor and pulse the beans (about 8 quick pulses) until just coarsely chopped; add those into the bowl with the barley and pureed garbanzo beans.
- Add the walnuts to the bowl of the food processor, and pulse until they are finely processed; add to the bowl with the barley and garbanzo beans.
- Add the slightly cooled celery/onion/garlic mixture into the bowl of the food processor, and pulse until finely chopped up; add the mixture to the bowl with the barley and other ingredients.
- Add the slightly cooled mushrooms into the bowl of the food processor, and pulse (about 4-5 quick pulses) just until very coarsely chopped; add those to the bowl with the barley and other ingredients.
- Next, add in the chopped parsley and cilantro, the soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, ground cumin and red pepper flakes, and using your hands, gently mix the seasoning into the barley mixture (you can taste the mixture to check if additional salt and pepper need to be added); add in the flour, and once again, carefully incorporate that into the barley mixture until it comes together and becomes slightly moist, with a slightly sticky consistency.
- Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and place it into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to “set” a little bit, or even overnight.
- Once you are ready to cook the patties, add in the panko breadcrumbs, and once again, gently incorporate those into the mixture (you want the breadcrumbs to stay as crisp and fresh as possible, so add them in no more than about 30 minutes before you want to cook the patties).
- To form the patties, take about a 6 ounce portion of the mixture and form into a ball, gently pressing between your palms or on a cutting board to form a patty about 4” wide and about 1/2” thick (they may seem a bit fragile, but once you form them and press them together, they will hold—just be gentle).
- To cook the patties, place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, drizzle in about 3-4 tablespoons of oil, and once the oil/pan it hot, add in about 4 patties (work in batches, if necessary); leave the patties undisturbed on that first side for about 5 minutes to allow a deep, brown, slightly charred “crust” to form; then, gently flip the patties over using a spatula and allow them to cook for another 5 minutes, adding the Jack cheese during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time (you can cover the pan to help the cheese to melt).
- Remove the patties from the pan and allow them to rest for about 4-5 minutes, as this will allow their inside to set and firm a bit more.
- To serve, add Lemon-Garlic Mayo to the toasted buns, add the veggie patty and top with favorite toppings.
Veggie Burger Tips & Tidbits:
- Give yourself some time: Because making veggie burgers at home definitely benefits from a little extra TLC, it's good to allow yourself some time and patience with this recipe. The ingredients need to be cooked up and prepped separately before being combined, and then you'll need to allow for at least 30 minutes of chill time for the mixture to bind well.
- Be gentle: When you're forming the patties they may seem a little delicate, and that's because they are; but if you gently press and shape them in the palm of your hand, they'll hold together well (especially once seared in the hot pan).
- Prep ahead for easy veggie burgers: My personal little tip with this recipe is to prep the mixture the day before. This will make the actual cooking/assembling of the veggie burgers a breeze the day of! Once you have that ready, you can cover it and keep it in the fridge, then shape the patties when ready to prepare.
- Freeze the patties for later: Because this recipe yields enough for 8 burgers, freezing any extra/unused patties is a great option. Just prepare the recipe up to the step when you shape the patties, then wrap each in plastic wrap, place in a ziplock, and freeze; then, when ready to enjoy, allow to thaw in the fridge for a day or two, and proceed with searing.
- Sear 'em up: Get your pan nice and hot, and drizzle in a little oil; then, lay the patties into the hot pan and do not disturb them for about 5 minutes so that a nice crust can form. Finally, flip then over and do the same for the other side.
- Delicious toppings: I provide a recipe for a super-duper delicious lemon-garlic mayo to spread on the buns, which add a lot of flavor! I also love sliced tomato, red onion, sprouts, lettuce, and cheese.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2013, and has been updated with even more love!