The Ultimate Veggie Burger

The Ultimate Veggie Burger ~ I’m not a fan of vegetarian food that pretends to be anything other than what it is.  I love veggies, and I don’t see why they should need to disguise themselves.  But I make a small exception in the case of veggie burgers.  The burger is the all American summer treat, and, to be honest, half of the fun is the bun and all the toppings.  Switching out a healthy meatless burger  just makes so much sense.  You can make a big batch of these and freeze them for easy healthy eating all summer long.

If you’re a reader of this blog you might know that I’ve been on a life long quest for the perfect veggie burger.  I thought I had found it it in my HAL’S SOYBUGER, which I learned to make when I worked one summer in a natural food restaurant in college, but the problem is that soy beans are very hard to find, and so, sadly, I’ve had to move on to a recipe that’s more convenient to use.

Veggie burgers can be made a million different ways, but take it from someone who routinely orders them whenever I can, they usually aren’t that good.   They can be mushy, tasteless, and almost always too thick. Sometimes you can barely distinguish them from the bun.  Sometimes, gasp, they’re even artificially colored to look more meat-like, or to give them grill marks.  Sometimes they’re made from engineered protein that’s supposed to imitate the taste and texture of meat.  Yuck.  No wonder they have a bad reputation.

The ultimate Veggie Burger recipe!

Veggie burger recipes are fun to play with because they’re not an exact science, and you can fiddle with the ingredients here and there, just as long as you get enough flavor, and a texture that more or less resembles a raw meat burger or meatloaf mix.  It should be moist and sticky, but not overly wet.  It should be smooth enough to form into a patty, but retain some texture.  Rices, grains, and beans make good starting points.  You can add finely chopped or shredded vegetables, and then it all gets bound together with a little beaten egg and bread crumbs.  Within that general framework there’s a lot of wiggle room.

The Ultimate Veggie Burger recipe is worth its weight in gold!

I used red rice for its amazing texture and flavor, black beans, some zucchini, mushroom, and bright bell peppers.  One of the secrets is not to over process the ingredients so that the burgers have a nice, nutty… ok, I’ll say it… ‘meaty’ texture.  The red rice and black beans give a pleasing rich deep color, and the veggies give it even more visual interest.

 A stack of veggie burgers

I used an ice cream scoop to portion out the mixture, and then pressed it flat in between pieces of waxed paper.  I used my tortilla press, but you can do it with your hand or a plate.  Use your fingers to form it into a perfect round if you need to.  I like them on the thin side.

The Ultimate Veggie Burger reciepe is made with lots of colorful healthy ingredients

The patties get chilled for an hour or so which helps them firm up and become easier to handle. You can make them a day ahead of time, too, which is nice.

Mixing up The Ultimate Veggie Burger!

The Ultimate Veggie Burger

Yield: makes 4 burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked red rice
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup rough chopped colorful bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup rough chopped portobello mushroom
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 small)
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (substitute soy sauce if vegetarian)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • sliced cheese, if desired

Instructions

  1. Put the rice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse the machine until the rice has broken down but still has some texture. Don't process into a paste, but break down the rice so there are no big pieces.
  2. Remove the rice to a bowl, and then put the black beans in and do the same thing. Measure out 1/2 cup of the processed beans and add to the bowl.
  3. Put the bell peppers and mushrooms into the processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add them to the bowl (I used 1/2 cup measured after processing)
  4. Add the shredded zucchini, bread crumbs, beaten egg, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Add lots of fresh cracked black pepper, and mix everything together until completely combined.
  5. At this point your mixture should resemble a meatloaf or meatball mixture: moist and sticky but not too wet. If it seems overly wet, add a bit more bread crumbs.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, take a fourth of the mixture and form it into a ball. Place on a square of waxed paper and cover with another square. Press down to flatten slightly and then flatten with a tortilla press or a plate, using gentle even pressure to press the burger into a round. Use your fingers to even it out.
  7. Stack the burgers on a plate, in their waxed paper, and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow them to firm up.
  8. Grease your pan with olive oil and cook the burgers for about 4 or 5 minutes on each side, until they are hot through and crisp on the outside. Be careful when flipping them because they are delicate. Homemade veggie burgers probably won't work on a grill because of their delicate texture, but you could try if you have a special pan.
  9. Add a slice of cheese at the end of the cooking time, if using.
  10. Serve right away in a bun with all your favorite fixin's!
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/the-ultimate-veggie-burger/

Deliciously satisfying, The Ultimate Veggie Burger will make you forget all about your favorite hamburger stand!

Tips for veggie burger success:

  • Use flavorful whole grains as your base.  The Wehani red rice I used has got a great rust color and wonderful flavor and texture.  It’s my new favorite rice around here.
  • Cook your beans from dried.  It’s not that much effort, and you can double or triple the recipe and freeze extra burgers for later.  Canned beans will make a mushy burger with a ‘canned’ taste.
  • Slightly under cook your rice and beans until they are just barely tender.  They should have a nutty bite to them.
  • Be gentle with them, they are delicate like a crab cake would be.  Transfer them from their paper onto the pan carefully, and flip them carefully.  Their delicate texture when raw is what makes them delicious after they are cooked.
  • Veggie burgers are on the thin side, so don’t overwhelm them with huge buns.
  • Treat veggie burgers just like you would a meat burger— use all your favorite burger toppings!
  • If you freeze them, first freeze them flat, in their waxed paper, then you can stack them in freezer baggies.
The Ultimate Veggie Burger recipe

Here’s a question, why haven’t the big fast food chains embraced the veggie burger?  It’s a huge mystery to me.  McDonald’s has 13 different beef burgers, 8 chicken burgers, a fish filet, and countless wraps, yet none of them are vegetarian.  It makes no sense.
By the way, that’s one of my Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles alongside the burger.

Enjoy your weekend!

DON’T FORGET TO PIN THIS ULTIMATE VEGGIE BURGER!

The Ultimate Veggie Burger ~ I'm not a fan of vegetarian food that pretends to be anything other than what it is. I love veggies, and I don't see why they should need to disguise themselves. But I make a small exception in the case of veggie burgers. The burger is the all American summer treat, and, to be honest, half of the fun is the bun and all the toppings. Switching out a healthy meatless burger just makes so much sense. You can make a big batch of these and freeze them for easy healthy eating all summer long.

43 Comments

  • Reply
    joanne
    August 26, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    I was searching for the ultimate veggie burger recipe, and found this recipe. I started making the recipe, and have a question about the black beans in the recipe. The recipe says to use 1 cup cooked black beans , I used canned rinsed black beans, but you say to use 1/2 cup of the black bean mixture once it has been chopped in the food processor. After measuring out the 1/2 cup, I still had leftover black bean mixture in the food processor. Are you saying not to use all of it, but just 1/2 cup of it? There isn’t too much left in my food processor of the black bean mixture, and I was wondering if there is a problem in using all of it , so as not to waste the remaining mixture ? Also can these veggie burgers be frozen ? If so, is it best to freeze them before cooking or after they’ve already been cooked? Thanks!

    arching for the ultimate veggie burger

    • Reply
      Kay Smith
      September 11, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      I would like to know the nutritional information on this veggie burger.

      • Reply
        Sue
        September 11, 2017 at 8:07 pm

        I’ll try to post that soon, Kay.

  • Reply
    Dani
    March 25, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I just made a huge batch of these (16 in total!) and they are delicious! Very comparable to the veggie burgers I used to get from my fave diner in Brooklyn when I lived there. Been really missing those and found this recipe after a whole lot of looking. This is the only veg burger recipe I’ve ever made (not a vegetarian, but trying to eat more plant based) and thankfully I found a keeper. I used brown rice which worked fine and threw in some edimame and pre-shredded carrots. So good!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 25, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      I’m thrilled Dani!

  • Reply
    Mary
    May 23, 2016 at 5:14 am

    These look great! I’ve got a couple of veggie burger recipes that work now, and I’ll add this one to the list :) When I lived in Dubai 16 years, you could get veggie burgers at McDonald’s – I don’t know why they aren’t offering them here! I think I heard that Wendy’s in the US is planning to put one on the menu…

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 23, 2016 at 7:12 am

      Oh wow, I’ve heard that there are or have been veggie burgers of various sorts in International McDonalds, it baffles me why we can’t have one!

  • Reply
    Melinda
    May 12, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Delicious recipe. Thank you. I’m vegan so I used 1/2 tbsp Flaxseed and 1/2 tbsp Garbanzo Bean powder mixed with 2.5 tbsp water to make the egg.

  • Reply
    Shirley
    January 15, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious!! And I am far from a vegetarian. I too love the fact that ir celebrates veggies not disguises them.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 15, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      I couldn’t have put it better, Shirley, I hate recipes that pretend to be ‘meat’!

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    September 27, 2015 at 10:54 am

    If you were making these to freeze, would you cook first then freeze? Or freeze flat and uncooked?

  • Reply
    60+ Recipes for a Killer Cookout | Eat Your Heart Out
    May 14, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    […] The Ultimate Veggie Burger – The View from Great Island […]

  • Reply
    25 Hearty Vegetarian Recipes
    April 29, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    […] Brie Grilled Cheese 6. Tofu Nuggets 7. Quinoa Corn Patties 8. White Bean and Kale Quesadillas 9. The Ultimate Veggie Burger 10. Creamy Potato Veggie Chowder 11. Spicy Pad Thai 12. Fresh Tomato and Cheddar Tart 13. […]

  • Reply
    nicole
    December 24, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Is there a substitute for the egg so it can be vegan?

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      I would just leave the egg out, Nicole.

  • Reply
    VeganMom
    August 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    This should be renamed The Ultimate Vegetarian Burger. Really. With just “Veggie” it implies that it’s vegan.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    June 19, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Do you think I could make this without a food processor?

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      June 19, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      Sure, I don’t see why not. You could chop everything finely and just mix it up. You might need a little extra binding because the food processor brings out the sticky starchiness of the rice, which helps keep the burgers together. Maybe a little bit more egg and bread crumbs. Give it a try!

  • Reply
    grace
    June 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    sometimes when i see a veggie burger as colorful and appetizing as this one, i’m convinced that, yes, i could be a vegetarian. then i catch a whiff of bacon and all bets are off. :)

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    June 18, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Love how colorful and healthy these burgers are!

  • Reply
    vanillasugarblog
    June 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    These look and sound so good!
    One of these days I have to finally make my own veggie burgers.
    I mean just the seasonings alone make it worth it.

  • Reply
    shannon weber
    June 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

    i did not have a recipe for a delicious veggie burger; i, like you, have wanted one, but nothing has hit the mark. until, evidently, TODAY. it’s like a frigging RAINBOW in there, Sue! Yum.

  • Reply
    Eileen
    June 17, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Homemade veggie burgers in the freezer are the best thing. I really need to whip up a batch of these!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    June 16, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    These are very innovative and what stunnin colours. I am tempted even though I am not vegetarian.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      June 17, 2013 at 3:39 am

      I’m not vegetarian either, but I prefer vegetables over meat for so many reasons. At least it’s good to have an alternative now and then!

  • Reply
    Hannah
    June 17, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Wow I’ve also been looking for the perfect veggie burger recipe! I can’t wait to try this!

  • Reply
    Milk and Honey
    June 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I’m with you all the way on this Sue. Veggie burgers can all-too-often be a stodgy excuse for a burger – leaving the eater feeling like a second-class citizen. I really love that you’ve made them so thin (and with a tortilla press – genius.)

  • Reply
    Abbe Odenwalder
    June 16, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    These sound great. I’m always looking for a veggie burger recipe just like I’m always looking for a chocolate chip cookie recipe. I always think I have the perfect one and then something comes along that sounds better!

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    June 16, 2013 at 6:04 am

    I love your quest for perfection and I think you’ve found it Sue. It’s hard isn’t it? Funnily enough The Viking loves his fake meat burgers but I too on occasion strive for a perfect veggie burger although I don’t think I’ve come close to this. I imagine the mushrooms really bring it together. Have you tried grating raw beetroot into the mix? I know you love your beets and they will add an incredible red colour to everything that even looks like blood!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      June 16, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      Eeek, what a thought! I do love beets, and they would definitely add texture, I’ll try that. My veggies were added raw, too, and I liked it better than the method of cooking them beforehand which most recipes use.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    June 15, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    The veggies look like little jewels in the burger, Sue! I wish this was my dinner. I love all these different rices, I just sent my husband to Whole Foods for black rice!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      June 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Thanks, Chris, I do think they’re better looking than your average veggie burger ;) I adore black rice—that would be a perfect choice for these.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    June 15, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    The perfect veggie burger is not easy to come by for all the reasons you mentioned. And good for you for re-vamping your own recipe due to hard to come by ingredients. This truly does look like the ultimate veggie burger and I love it b/c it’s PACKED with veggies! Which is the only way for me! Pinned!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      June 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks, Averie—Come to think of it, the red rice might be hard for some people to come by, but here in LA I noticed they have it at my regular grocery store.

  • Reply
    Sulpicia (III)
    June 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    These look amazing. The red rice is such a good idea!

  • Reply
    Maria
    June 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I was JUST cooking for a veggie burger recipe THIS morning! This sounds delicious, thanks for the recipe and tips!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      June 15, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      Oh I’m so glad! There are so many ways to go with them, but I really recommend trying the red rice, if you can find it.

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