What is a perfect veggie burger? That depends on how you like it: there are fans of burgers that are bean-based, nut-based, vegetable-packed and made with grains. Not every veggie-burger-lover loves every veggie-burger. (Try saying that 10 times fast.) Some people want it to resemble meat, some like them nutty, and some focus on grill-ability.
For each kind of veggie burger enthusiast, we rounded up the best recipes on the internet. Making your own veggie burger is not only really easy but it’s a great way to make sure your burger is chock full of real food. We added in a few supermarket options as well, although it’s worth keeping in mind they will almost always be more processed and use at least a few ingredients you wouldn’t find in a home kitchen. Make sure to check out the ingredient list! Now choose your style, and get cookin’!
The most meat-like, non-meat burger
Although his veggie burgers attract both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, New York City chef Brooks Headley isn’t trying to make a meat replacement at his vegetarian outpost, Superiority Burger. Instead, he layers flavor by treating the vegetables as he would meat: long roasting carrots, deglazing with vinegar to catch all the flavorful bits. The result is a flavorful veggie burger with nice texture from a mix of carrots, walnuts, chickpeas and quinoa. Thanks to Headley’s cookbook, Superiority Burger Cookbook, you can try the method out yourself.
It’d be hard to find a supermarket patty that could compete with this, but there are a few products on the shelf, like Dr. Prager’s, which contain a similar mix of real, recognizable vegetables and legumes without any strange powders or fillers.
The beet, not meat, veggie burger
For Ana of The Awesome Green, a good veggie burger needs to have smoky flavor and a succulent and chewy texture. Her beet burger recipe meets all those requirements. She roasts her beets first, to give them a smoky, rich flavor, then combines the veg with quinoa, breadcrumbs and seasoning to give it the proper texture. Don’t love beets? Try out her technique with sweet potatoes.
There are several beet-based supermarket patties available from companies like Strong Roots or Dr. Prager’s.
The bean burger to showcase your favorite condiments
Veggie burger expert Lukas Volger’s carrot and white bean burger is a beloved classic. This one-pan wonder is easy to make and can accommodate substitutions to make it a good refrigerator-cleanout burger as well. Volger says it’s a good one because “it’s a burger that aims to express veggies, rather than mimic meat” and “its flavor profile is somehow neutral enough to complement whatever your favorite burger toppings are.”
The grill-able, freezeable, anything goes veggie burger
Just because veggie burgers are delicious, doesn’t mean they are grill-able. Most have a fragile texture that’s better suited for baking or sautéing. But if you’re a backyard barbecue champ, Dana from Minimalist Baker perfected a veggie burger recipe that is both delicious, and grill-able. She uses a combination of mashed black beans, walnuts, spices and barbecue sauce to create a patty that’s totally grill-able, plus they have about 14 grams of protein each, so even meat-eaters can’t complain. Want it even easier? Cook them, then freeze, and you can have a veggie burger anytime you want it.
A veggie burger for the but fanatic
Some swear that nuts belong in veggie burgers since they add more protein and texture. If this is you, then we suggest Vegan Richa’s walnut and lentil burger, a hearty combination of lentils, rice and walnuts, along with warming spices like cumin and garam masala. Her avocado ranch sauce takes this veggie burger over the top.
A veggie burger for the cauliflower obsessed
Cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza, cauliflower tots: can’t get enough cauliflower? Then try out Lindsay from Pinch of Yum’s spicy cauliflower burgers, made with quinoa, cauliflower and pepper jack cheese for a rich burger that has just the right texture. And don’t sleep on the chipotle mayo, friends — as Lindsay says, it makes the burger.
Looking for a premade, supermarket version? Look for Hilary’s or Dr. Prager’s.
The grain god/goddess veggie burger
For some, the only way to get the ideal veggie burger texture is to add in the chewy bite of cooked grains. In fact, quinoa or brown rice is commonly found in most veggie burger mixes. But the folks over at Oh My Veggies created this mostly grain burger, using freekah, a roasted durum wheat, to give their burger mix that chewy taste. Topping the burger with caramelized onions cooked in harissa, as well as a smoked garlic mayonnaise, adds in tons of rich flavor.
There are several oat, rice or quinoa-based patties available in the grocery freezer aisle, including Hilary’s, Sunshine and Strong Roots.
The toss-in-all-the-scraps veggie burger
Want a burger that’s both delicious and reduces your food waste? Then start saving that juice pulp, because Joni of Food by Jonister has a veggie burger recipe that puts the pulp into the mix. Juice pulp is full of nutritious fiber, and makes for a “juicy” burger. Don’t have a juicer? Use grated vegetables like beets and carrots instead.
The person who wants to cut back on, but not give up, meat
If you haven’t gone quite veggie, but are looking to cut back on meat, the blended burger is perfect for you. Swap finely chopped mushrooms for 25 to 50% of the total amount of meat. Use whichever type of mushroom you like, and any kind of ground meat. Not only will the burgers be more flavorful (and moist!), they’re also better for the environment.
For those of you in a hurry and looking to buy a blended burger at the store, there are several blended burgers available at the supermarket from some large brands. They can be found in the meat case and freezer aisle right next to their 100% meat counterparts.