Fire Up The Grill And Grab The Best Plant
Taste of Home
Many of us are looking for ways to trim meat from our diet. For many dishes, its simple: trying eggplant Parmesan instead of its chicken-based cousin, topping our pizza with heaps of veggies or making hearty bean-filled chili. Things get a bit trickier when it comes to classics like a juicy flame-grilled burger. Finding the right substitute for a classic beef burger is challenging. Which plant-based burger really satisfies?
We know you dont want to spend every burger night sampling veggie-based options. Thats why our Test Kitchen snagged every plant-based burger they could find and hosted the biggest veggie-friendly barbecue.
Psst! Learn how to create umami flavor in plant-based foods.
How To Make Vegan Burger Patties
This recipe comes together in just a few minutes! Then youll have thick, meaty, super healthy veggie and bean burgers that are 100% plant-based!
Start by sautéing the onions and garlic. In the meantime, soak the flax seeds and the sunflower mince. Place the oats in a blender or food processor and blend them into flour. Also, drain and rinse the beans, then mash them either with a fork or in a food processor. Then mix in all other ingredients until a moldable mixture forms. Finally, form into patties and place them on a plate.
You can fry or grill or probably also bake your vegan burger patties, however, I personally found them a bit dry when baked. So if youd rather prefer to bake them, I suggest brushing them with enough oil or extra barbecue sauce to be sure they stay moist.
While they cook, you can also prepare the simple vegan burger sauce by stirring together vegan mayonnaise, ketchup, and Sriracha. Once the patties are done cooking, serve with the burger sauce and your favorite toppings on buns. I topped my burgers with additional Homemade BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and onions. However, also coconut bacon, dairy-free cheese, mustard, pickles, relish, etc. make great burger toppings!
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is a true fall comfort dish its creamy sauce, tender green beans and crunchy onion topping will have everyone coming back for seconds. We substituted a few vegan ingredients, such as unsweetened almond milk and vegan sour cream, for an equally comforting side dish that all can enjoy. Assemble the entire casserole in a large oven-proof skillet for easy cooking and minimal cleanup.
Get the Recipe: Vegan Green Bean Casserole
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What We Looked For In A Great Plant
Taste of Home
In this search for the best plant-based burger, our Test Kitchen kept a bunch of criteria in mind. They wanted a veggie burger that was delicious, satisfying and perfect for the grill. These are what our pros judged on:
- Flavor: How did the burger taste? Is it similar to a beef patty? If not, what other flavors are prominent? Is it enjoyable? Filling?
- Texture: Was the texture pleasant? Meat-like?
- Appearance: Does the patty look like beef? Did it grill nicely? Does it look like something you want to pile high with toppings and dive into?
Want to learn more about how our Test Kitchen chooses their favorite products? Check out our testing methods.
Amys Black Bean Veggie Burger
This one was nice, but sort of run of the mill. It had too many competing flavors for me. If you like a spicy burger, with clear chunks of mushroom, black bean and corn, you might prefer it. The flavors are pleasant, but definitely more assertive than a regular burger would be.
Takeaway: Amys is known for recipes with this flavor profile, and they do it well. This burger had a looser, chunkier texture than the other two Amys that I tested. Id consider it more of a vegetable fritter.
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Engine 2 Pinto Habanero Burger
This burger picked up points in the looks department. For me it was the most appealing visually, even in its frozen state. I liked that I could see different ingredients clearly, even some fresh herbs! I like that it tells me whats in it right in the name, and it looked the most like something I would make myself from scratch.
Takeaway: it was disappointing. After I grilled this one up, added a slab of nice Swiss cheese, thinly sliced red onion, ripe tomato, and lettuce on a brioche bun, the burger itself was squishy and fell apart with each bite.
Gardein Ultimate Beefless Burger
While Beyond, Impossible, Trader Joes, and Sweet Earth are all trying to mimic and blend in with all the other meats in the meat section, Gardein Ultimate Beefless Burger is different. They offer frozen patties that come in a zipped package that you can find in the veggie section of a grocery store, even though they look like they belong in the real meat section with their colleagues.
Gardein is really very close in giving that burger experience, complete with the juiciness, color, texture, flavor, and smell. The main complaint I have is that they can get mushy if you dont thaw and cook them properly. This takes away from an important characteristic, which is the bounciness that you can find in Beyond and Impossible.
Its important to note that the main complaint Ive heard and read from other people is that these patties can give people stomach aches. So proceed with caution and check for any allergens, like gluten.
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Vegan Black Bean And Sweet Potato Soup
This hearty vegan soup conjures up the flavors of Spain in a bowl. The smoked paprika gives it a deep savory taste that anyone will enjoy. We like water as the base of this soup because it lets the flavors of the vegetables shine through. While it’s optional, the drizzle of sherry vinegar at the end adds a brightness that takes this dish to the next level.
Get the Recipe: Vegan Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup
The Worlds Most Versatile Veggie Burger Recipe
After seeing how useful the Perfect Smoothie Formula and the Ultimate Energy Bar Formula were, my sister Christine and I set out to see what other foods could benefit from a good formula-izing. Thats a real word.
In case you havent seen our other formulas, the idea is simple: instead of creating just one recipe, to make just one smoothie or one energy bar , we come up with a template that can be used to create virtually limitless variations, leaving room for your ideas in the process.
Smoothies and energy bars were natural choices for formulas. These are foods we eat all the time, so we need endless variations. But what else would lend itself well to a formula?
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Vegan Black Bean Burgers
This veggie burger recipe is both vegetarian and vegan but it has bread in the mix so it isn’t gluten-free. Combine mashed beans, bread, chopped onions, and seasoning to make patties. Because the patties aren’t dense, these are best when pan-fried or baked.
Serve with hamburger rolls, vegetables, and pickled onions. Ready in 20 minutes.
Quinoa And White Bean Burger
Image Source: Quinoa and White Bean Burger
These patties are loaded with protein and fiber as well as other beneficial nutrients, and they are very filling. As far as veggie burgers go this Quinoa and White Bean Burger from is fairly easy. And, if you dont feel like having it on a bun, by all means top your veggie burger on a bed of fresh leafy greens with a squeeze of lemon, some avocado, salt, and pepperso good just like that!
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Best Veggie Burger Recipe Tips
- Use rice thats hot off the stove. The rice has to be sticky in order to bind these patties together. As a result, your rice must be freshly cooked, as leftover rice dries out in the fridge.
- Brush them with vegan Worcestershire sauce after cooking. These veggie burgers arent intended to imitate a beef burger by any means, but they do have a wonderful meaty texture and flavor. To add even more flavor and to make them slightly juicy, brush them with vegan Worcestershire sauce when they come off the grill.
- Get ahead. You have a few options for prepping this veggie burger recipe ahead of time. The patties can be made up to a day in advance and stored on baking sheets in the fridge until ready to grill. You can also grill them in advance and store them in the fridge for 3 to 4 days they reheat surprisingly well! If you have leftovers, freeze them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Quinoa Kale Veggie Burgers
These Quinoa Kale Veggie Burgers are super easy to make. A combination of fresh herbs, like garlic and fresh cilantro, and a blend of spices with tangy barbecue sauce ensure that these crispy burgers never fall short on flavor. How you cook them on the grill, on the stovetop, or in the oven, is up to you and all three ways work great.
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Smoky Tempeh Black Bean Burger Recipe
The next time someone asks, Where do plant-based eaters get their protein?, serve them this Smoky Tempeh Black Bean Burger from Full of Plants.
Chock-full of plant-based protein, these burger patties combine black beans, peanut or almond butter, and tempeh for a total of 20.1 grams of protein.
In addition, youll get a healthy dose of veggies and anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting spices mixed in and included in the homemade garlic sauce.
Note: The recipe calls for coconut bacon. To make your own, you can follow this recipe by Connoisseurus Veg.
Boost your health: To make this recipe oil-free, you can pan-fry your burger patties in a little water or vegetable broth. Or bake them in the oven.
Healthy Homemade Vegan Burger Patties
These homemade vegan burgers have a thick and meaty texture, taste incredibly delicious, and are also so much healthier than traditional burgers. Theyre loaded with protein, fiber, nutrients, vitamins, have no cholesterol, and very little fat, making them the perfect vegan alternative when you crave a true American burger but in a healthier way. You really dont need any meat or fat to make a delicious burger patty that can be served with crispy French fries, colorful salads, or any sides you like for a perfect summertime dish!
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Love And Lemons Best Darn Veggie Burger Recipe
A lot of conventional hamburgers and even store-bought veggie burgers use oil or egg to hold all the ingredients together, but this recipe for Love and Lemons Best Darn Veggie Burger proves you can do without either.
Short-grain brown rice, flaxseeds, mushrooms, panko breadcrumbs, and walnuts make up this patty, giving you a plant-based boost of protein and omega-3s.
You wont even need a grill to get a smoky, flavorful burger from sauteing the mushrooms with potent, disease-fighting alliums, including garlic and shallot, along with smoked paprika and sriracha.
Boost your health: Go nut-free by leaving out the walnuts or replacing them with sunflower seeds. And for a gluten-free patty, make sure your breadcrumbs are certified gluten-free. For best results, bake or grill the veggie burgers to avoid using oil.
Other Vegan Burger Necessities
Vegan Burger Seasoning: We always top our burgers with a little of our copycat Red Robin seasoning. HIGHLY recommend!
Vegan Burger Buns: Always check the ingredients when buying burger buns, as some contain milk and/or eggs. We find youre usually safe with store brands, but still check to make sure. If youre into making your own homemade buns, check out this vegan hamburger bun recipe from Marys Test Kitchen . Or go wild and make our homemade soft pretzel buns!
Was there a vegan burger question you have that we didnt answer in this post? Have a tip to add? Let us know in the comments so we can make this a more complete resource for future visitors!
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Chickpea Mushroom Pita Burgers
If you need a burger for your barbecue thats going to be a crowd-pleaser, then try these Chickpea Mushroom Pita Burgers. Made from chickpeas, mushrooms, and basmati rice, theyre flavorful, warm, and smoky. Crisp on the outside, but soft on the inside, these burgers are delicious served in a soft pita with spicy vegan mayonnaise, creamy avocado, and any veggies.
Best Grill Flavor : Boca All American Veggie Burgers
Taste of Home
When it comes to veggie burgers, everyone recognizes Boca. Its the original! And Boca All American Veggie Burgers remain a great option for vegetarians looking for flame-grilled flavor.
Bocas classic veggie burger has a touch of built-in barbecue flavor thanks to liquid smoke. This is great if youre craving a burger but dont have time to fire up the grill. These patties browned up nicely and had a great umami flavornot necessarily meaty but savory, the way mushrooms can be. Topped with a slice of cheese and some fried onions, these burgers are a great option for veggie-lovers looking for a quick barbecue fix.
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Trader Joes Protein Patties
The Trader Joes plant-based protein patties are very similar to Beyond Meat burger patties. In fact, I have a strong hunch that these patties are the less perfect Beyond Meat patties that are handed off to Trader Joes. So thats also why they earn the 4th place spot because theyre similar, but just not there in terms of believability. They taste great and have that smoky flavor still, but they just dont cook as realistically as Beyond and Impossible. They also burn more easily instead of crisping up and they dont have that bouncy texture you get with the other two patties. Not to mention, it looks a lot more like a plant-based beet patty than a real meat burger.
A quick disclaimer: Ive read some reviews that Trader Joes plant-based protein patties are almost uneatable. While I didnt have this experience, its possible their patties dont go through any robust approving system , so it could be a real toss-up on the quality that you get. So just be warned and prepared!
With all that said though, this patty is the cheapest out of the three main mock meats , so its still a great alternative for people who want to reduce their meat intake and crave a meaty burger. Especially with all the accouterments, you probably wont be able to tell the difference!
Vegan Sunflower Seed Tuna Salad
This vegan take on a deli classic uses soaked sunflower seeds two ways: both in place of the tuna and mayonnaise. With bright flavors of lemon and fresh herbs and a little crunch from fresh celery and shallots, you won’t miss the fish in this satisfying salad.
Get the Recipe: Vegan Sunflower Seed Tuna Salad
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Mini Brown Rice Lentil Burgers With Harissa
If youre craving a hearty and well-seasoned vegan burger, these Mini Brown Rice Lentil Burgers With Harissa are the ones for you! Made with brown rice and lentils, this is a protein-rich patty that you can rest assured will not fall apart. Topped with spicy Harissa sauce, this burger has some serious Moroccan flair.
Back Up: What Are Veggie Burgers Made Of
There are two main types of plant-based burgers: veggie burgers, which have been around forever, and non-meat burgers, which are newer to the market and simulate meat. Both are vegetarian and most often vegan, but there can be major differences in their ingredient lists and nutrition. The distinction between veggie and non-meat burgers is important, Gans says, because some are not made with just veggies. Some of them, if you read the ingredients list, dont have a single vegetable.
Veggie burgers are made primarily of vegetables like beans, greens, and mushrooms, plus grains and extras like onion, corn, and beets. Some are styled after meat, but most seem to do their own thingyou get the familiar shape of a burger, but not the familiar meaty flavor or texture. Non-meat burgers, on the other hand, mimic beef very closely and tend to have much more protein than their veggie counterparts, with levels directly comparable to meat. The trade-off is that they contain few actual vegetablestheyre made with soy, pea protein, wheat, and other grains and processed legumes.
Another important element in non-meat burgers is fillers, which youll find in just about any brand. There are going to be ingredients that people might not recognize, but that doesnt mean theyre bad for you, Gans notes. Fillers are used for consistency, texture, and binding, making the overall eating experience much more pleasant.
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So Where Does Beyond Beat Impossible
It comes down to the taste and texture. Beyond meat is much more flavorful and also resembles more of the bounciness of meat. Impossible, while super tasty and realistic as well, it just falls a little short of what Beyond is bringing to the table. I found the patty to be a little crispier and drier than I wanted, and the flavor was a little too gamey because they use heme, an iron compound found in actual meat that gives it a slightly metallic taste. I also found the bits of fat in there to be too large and distracting from the patty.