How to Make Veggie Burgers Without a Recipe

08/28/2014 at 12:16 PM ET

How To Make a Veggie Burger
Courtesy Food 52

Here is a list of things that a veggie burger should not be:

– frozen and packaged in a box
– made from things like TEXTURED VEGETABLE PROTEIN and seventeen of its other indecipherable friends
– bland
– something that you try to convince people tastes just like meat!

No, a veggie burger is just a really nice way to serve a vegetarian a bunch of beans — so they can grow big and strong — snuggled inside a soft bun. Or atop a salad. A veggie burger is a way to play with whatever spices are making you excited this week, add in some scraps from your fridge, and then form it all into something that can sit in the middle of your plate when you’ve tired of eating quinoa salad or grilled tofu or, say, cereal eaten from the box for dinner. They freeze well, and are therefore a way to protect your future self from dinner monotony. They will breathe new life into the five quarts of chickpeas you’ve dutifully been eating through all week.

Veggie burgers are easy to make. You need a sturdy base — I like beans and some sort of grain, like cooked brown rice — plus binders and seasoning. I use eggs as a binder, but if you’re vegan, you can just omit it — according to Gena, a replacement isn’t usually necessary.

How to Make Veggie Burgers
Courtesy Food 52

Here’s how I make my veggie burgers — they are not always perfect, but they are far and away better than what you’ll find in the freezer aisle, and are excellent both baked and pan-fried.

Here’s how to make any veggie burger, without a recipe:

1. Gather your ingredients. I usually rely on a can of beans — but you can measure out 2 cups of cooked-from-scratch beans if you have them. For every 2 cups, you’ll want one egg (or not, if you’re vegan), and ½ cup of breadcrumbs or oats, which are hiding from the photo above.

I also like to use about half a cup of cooked grains, like sturdy brown rice or farro. Then go crazy with the other stuff: I always include a bunch of chopped alliums (here, a large shallot) and spices (smoked paprika and cumin). I added tahini and sesame seeds, too — but you can use walnuts, or other nut butters, or sturdy herbs like oregano and rosemary (more delicate ones, like parsley, get lost).

How to Make a Veggie Burger
Courtesy Food 52

2. In a food processor, pulse your beans, alliums, and spices until they make a coarse mixture — you want to get your alliums in small pieces and start breaking down your beans before you add your liquids and binders.

How to Make Veggie Burgers
Courtesy Food 52

3. Add your egg if you’re using it, plus other “wet” ingredients — like tahini — and pulse a few times. If you’re using cooked grains or seeds, both of which I did here, pulse them in just until they’re integrated into the mixture — you don’t want your rice to get gummy.

This is also where I should have included half a cup of breadcrumbs. I didn’t, then tried unsuccessfully to fry my first burger, which crumbled. Our test kitchen manager Allison saved the day, calming me down and mixing in some crumbs, which turned my patties from “just holding together at the seams” to “stable and fry-able.” You can use breadcrumbs and ground-up oats interchangeably, but I prefer the former.

How to make Veggie Burgers
Courtesy Food 52

4. Form your burgers into patties — one can of beans will get you four to five burgers, depending on size — and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Keep in mind the size of your buns when you’re forming them, so the burgers don’t dwarf their vessels, or hide inside of them.

See how much more wet and fragile these burgers on the baking sheet look than the sturdy burgers in the pan below? That’s the power of breadcrumbs. (As in all things, please do as I say, not as I do.)

Note: If you’re going to pan-fry your burgers, fry off a tiny little test patty — this will help you to be sure that your burgers won’t crumble, and will give you a better sense of their flavor, without having to eat raw eggs (or alliums).

How to Make Veggie Burgers
Courtesy Food 52

5. Fry or bake your burgers. I like to pan-fry, because it will consistently give you a better flavor and better texture (thank you, Maillard reaction!), and there’s less risk of drying them out. If they’re delicate, though, baking can be a better bet, because you won’t risk them breaking when you flip ’em.

If you choose to fry, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and get yourself a good layer of olive oil in there — you want more than a “thin coating.” Fry them until the bottoms are brown and you’re confident in your ability to flip, about 5 minutes. The other side should take just as long.

If you choose to bake, do so in a 350° F oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

How to Make Veggie Burgers
Courtesy Food 52

6. Serve them up with great fanfare! I like fried burgers on an untoasted bun; the squish and crisp contrast nicely. Add whatever condiments you like, but I suggest something nontraditional like spiced labneh (what I used here), or even pesto, or aioli. Ketchup will work for, say, a smoky black bean burger, but if your patty is nontraditional, your condiments should be allowed the same liberties. Lettuce, as always, is a good choice. Tomatoes, when in season. Pickled red onions. Lay it all on there.

And then, if your veggie burger happens to look like a fish filet sandwich, make lots of jokes about it before taking your first bite. And then your second. And then your third and fourth and so on, in rapid succession, until your plate is just crumbs and swipes of condiments and joy.

—Marian Bull

This article was originally published on Food52, a site that brings cooks together to share recipes, ideas and support.

Want more stories like this?

Sign up for our newsletter and other special offers:

sign me up

Thank you for signing up!

Share this story:

Your reaction:

The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
Skip to content


The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

Posted on

On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

Powered by VIP
Add A Comment reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 18 comments

Tony Belancer on

Construction Website Design

Carola Nocon on

Rico Barnthouse on

Tona Verdin on

Lyndon Mancell on

12/23/2016 I’m pleased with the way that covers this sort of issue. Usually on point, sometimes contentious, always thoughtful as well as thought-provoking.

Lawanda Murnock on

muslim marriage events

Bradley Rubloff on

This is the best search system in the planet

Darryl Quinnan on

Very good blog post . I absolutely appreciate this site . Keep it up!

Clair Rattana on

bond back cleaning on

Aw, this was an exceptional good post. It must have taken you great efforts to create this article… Appreciate!

ducted heating on

This writing gives a clear idea for the new visitors how to blog. Well done!

evaporative cooling on

Aw, this was an exceptional great post. It must have taken you great efforts to create this article… Appreciate!

panasonic air conitioning on

Aw, this was an exceptional great article. It must have taken you great efforts to create this article… Appreciate!

Anonymous on

Quality content is the critical part for the visitors coming to your website. that’s exactly what this page is providing.

Snowman plumber on

I’ve learn a few excellent stuff here. Definitely great bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you place to create this type of great informative website.

Snowman ducted heating Melbourne on

Love every bit of your post. Thanks again.

Snowman air conditioning installation on

Hi, I saw you visited my website So i came to “return the favor”.I’m trying to find things to put in my website!I suppose its ok to use some of yours if you don’t mind.

Snowman evaporative cooler installation on

Quality content is the crucial part for the visitors coming to your website. that’s exactly what this page is providing.

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters