How to Make the Best Veggie Burger
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There's a new burger in town! Our Test Kitchen shares their very best veggie burger recipe.
Whether you’re a vegetarian or you’re trying to cut down on your meat consumption, meat-eaters and vegetarians alike praise veggie burger recipes. And to be honest, I’ve hopped on the trend, too. I’d be lying if I said that veggie burgers haven’t become my latest obsession, whether it’s trying new recipes or different plant-based burger brands. But as much as I love them, I kept running into the same issues; their texture was too mushy or the taste was just a little too bland.
That was before I tried this recipe. Let’s just say there’s a reason why this recipe is called the best veggie burger.
Taste of Home’s Associate Culinary Producer, Sarah Tramonte, has created a delicious new take on the classic veggie burger recipe to minimize mushiness while still dishing out smoky-savory flavor complete with cumin, smoked paprika, fennel seed and hints of sun-dried tomato. Drooling yet?
Tools You’ll Need
Food Processor: Don’t let the price intimidate you, the benefits of this Cuisinart food processor are worth the extra cash. Our Test Kitchen named this the best food processor as it has simple, easy-to-use controls. They were also impressed with how quickly and finely it chops food of all sizes.
Skillet: This durable and versatile skillet can be used for just about anything. From these tasty veggie burgers to whipping up quesadillas, your stove-top recipes are cooked to perfection in our skillet. The best part? Our 12.5″ skillet is non-stick, so no need to use up too much oil while cooking.
The Best Veggie Burger Recipe
Taste of Home
Key Ingredients in the Best Veggie Burger
Let’s talk about what ingredients—and more importantly, why these ingredients—make this the best veggie burger.
Chia Seeds & Oats
So many veggie burgers struggle with being mushy, but thanks to chia seeds and oats, this veggie burger recipe has some bite. These ingredients also bind the burger together, so you don’t have to worry about the patty crumbling in the bun as you eat it.
A food’s texture is so important, especially when we’re creating foods that taste like other foods (hello, cauliflower pizza crust!). In this case, walnuts help imitate the texture of meat in the veggie burger, and ensure you’re eating a firm patty reminiscent of meat.
Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Shallots
Something about burgers just makes your mouth water, and umami is typically what does the trick. In this veggie burger recipe, sun-dried tomatoes and shallots work together to create that savory taste that you shouldn’t have to miss just because it’s not meat.
When people eat a veggie burger, they’re often looking for something close to a regular burger in flavor. That’s where liquid smoke comes in handy, which imitates the smoky flavor of grilled meat. You can easily purchase liquid smoke on Amazon.
Barbecue Sauce Baste
Basting the veggie burgers with barbecue sauce also helps give them that grilled meat flavor, just like the liquid smoke. Plus, the barbecue sauce helps create the shine that a beef burger would have straight off the grill.
Now that you know why certain ingredients are important to the recipe, here’s the full list:
- 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoons oil from sun-dried tomatoes
- ¼ cup shredded carrot
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Optional: barbecue sauce, toasted hamburger buns, Sriracha mayo, lettuce, red onion and tomato
Step 1: Bake the Beans
Start off by preheating the oven to 325°F. Spread the black beans evenly on a parchment-lined rimmed baking pan and bake just until beans start to split open, about 6-8 minutes.
Test Kitchen tip: Sarah urges you to not skip this step. It’s what gives the burgers more bite and makes her veggie burger simply the best.
Step 2: Toast the Nuts and Spices
While the beans are cooking, set your skillet over medium heat and add walnuts, cumin, fennel and smoked paprika, stirring frequently until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool.
Test Kitchen tip: Keep an eye on the walnuts, they can go from browned to burnt in the blink of an eye!
Step 3: Bring on the Veggies
In the same skillet, heat up the oil from your sun-dried tomatoes over medium heat. Add the carrot, shallot and sun-dried tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or when the carrots become tender. Add the minced garlic and cook for about a minute longer. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Step 4: Break Out the Food Processor
Your patty mix is almost ready. Transfer the carrot mixture to a food processor and add the cooked beans and walnut mixture, plus the oats, chia seeds, soy sauce and garlic salt. Pulse until combined. Ta-da! Here’s the ‘meat’ of your best-ever veggie burger.
Shape into four 4-inch patties.
Step 5: Cook
In the same skillet over medium heat, cook the patties in olive oil until browned, 3-4 minutes on each side. If desired, baste with barbecue sauce and serve on buns with toppings of your choice. Yum.
Vegans, rejoice! This burger is vegetarian AND vegan. No dairy or egg products are used to make this savory veggie burger.
Shaping the Veggie Burgers
Some veggie burger mixtures are a pain to work with as you shape them into patties, whether they’re crumbly or too mushy. Not this recipe! The mixture is a bit firmer than playdough, so you won’t struggle to shape it with your hands.
Once you shape the patty, Sarah recommends you flatten the top with something like the bottom of a measuring cup, and then pop it straight into the skillet—no chilling time is necessary. You’re welcome to use a mold to shape the burgers, but you might not need it!
Meal Prep Instructions
If you’re looking to make these burgers ahead of time, simply assemble the uncooked veggie patties and store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. We like to use a piece of parchment paper to keep the patties from sticking together.
These veggie burgers typically last about a week in the fridge. When you’re craving a veggie burger, remove one from your fridge and into a hot pan.
You can also freeze this recipe for later.
Veggie Burger Topping Ideas
Now, here’s the fun part! You can customize your veggie burger with all sorts of fun toppings. Spread some homemade guacamole for a Tex-Mex veggie burger or spinach-basil pesto for an Italian twist. Check out our extensive burger toppings list for inspiration (there are plenty of vegetarian options in there!).
Test Kitchen tip: Sarah recommends topping this burger with a flavored aioli like garlic peppercorn. Or try slathering on a little mayo with melted gouda cheese and chopped red onion on a pretzel bun.
What to Make with Veggie Burgers
You can pair your veggie burgers with anything your heart desires. From homemade air-fryer potato chips to a tasty side salad to herbed grilled corn on the cob, you’ve got endless sides to try out. Sarah recommends sweet potato fries with chipotle mayo, corn salad, grilled veggies, watermelon with feta and mint or homemade sweet potato chips. Mmm!