“Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun.”

Almost everyone remembers McDonald’s classic jingle. But burgers have come a long way since the Golden Arches launched this famous slogan. And veggie burgers have come the longest way of all, evolving from frozen, pre-packaged oddities to delicious, proto-artisan delights.

Today’s veggie burgers are made with quinoa, farro, garbanzo beans and more. Instead of clogging the arteries, veggie burgers deliver protein, fiber and amino acids. In other words, goodbye special sauce, hello healthy heart. Fire up the grill…it’s burger season!

The United Nations declared 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa,” and the South American superfood (pronounced keen-wah) has shown no sign of slowing down, sprouting up on restaurant menus around the world. Quinoa is an ancient, grain-like seed. It contains all nine amino acids and is packed with protein, fiber and iron. Quinoa is versatile and can be used in everything from salads to burgers. With sweet potato as a binder and meaty, Portobello mushroom for depth of flavor, this veggie burger is healthy, hearty and robust.

Quinoa Burger
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(Image via Alex Lau | Bon Appetit)
Quinoa Burger
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(Image via Alex Lau | Bon Appetit)
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
    Ingredients
    • 1 Sweet Potato roasted
    • 6 tbsps Extra-Virgin Olive Oil divided
    • Salt to taste
    • Pepper to taste
    • 1 Portobello Mushroom Cap pulsed
    • 1/2 Zucchini
    • 1 Shallot finely chopped
    • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes crushed
    • 1 cup Quinoa cooked
    • 3/4 cup Breadcrumbs dried
    • 1 1/2 tsps Lemon Juice
    • 4 English Muffins split and toasted
    • Guacamole for serving (optional)
    • Tomato Chutney for serving (optional)
    • Sprouts for serving (optional)
    Servings: servings
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    Ingredients
    • 1 Sweet Potato roasted
    • 6 tbsps Extra-Virgin Olive Oil divided
    • Salt to taste
    • Pepper to taste
    • 1 Portobello Mushroom Cap pulsed
    • 1/2 Zucchini
    • 1 Shallot finely chopped
    • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes crushed
    • 1 cup Quinoa cooked
    • 3/4 cup Breadcrumbs dried
    • 1 1/2 tsps Lemon Juice
    • 4 English Muffins split and toasted
    • Guacamole for serving (optional)
    • Tomato Chutney for serving (optional)
    • Sprouts for serving (optional)
    Servings: servings
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      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prick sweet potato all over with a fork, rub with one tablespoon olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook sweet potato for 30 to 45 minutes, or until tender. Cool. Remove and discard skin. Mash sweet potato with a fork and set aside.
      2. Remove stem from Portobello mushroom. Pulse the mushroom cap in a blender or food processor. Meanwhile, coarsely grate zucchini on the large holes of a grater. Gather up grated zucchini in a paper towel and squeeze out any excess liquid.
      3. Heat one tablespoon oil in a skillet over low heat. Add shallot and red pepper flakes and cook for two minutes, stirring often. Add mushroom and zucchini. Cook for about two minutes, or until vegetables begin to release their liquid. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Mix in quinoa and season with salt and pepper.
      4. Add breadcrumbs, lemon juice and ¼ cup reserved mashed sweet potato to quinoa mixture. Mix well. If mixture is too loose, add more sweet potato to bind.
      5. Divide mixture into four portions and form into patties. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet and cook patties until golden brown, about two to three minutes per side.
      6. Build burgers on toasted English muffins (or rolls).
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      “It’s soggy.” Ask your vegetarian and vegan friends how their veggie burger is, and that is often the response you get. Veggie burgers are notorious for being soggy and falling apart, as the water in the vegetables makes it difficult for the burger to hold its shape. How do you get around this dilemma? You create a veggie burger using eggplant. Eggplant is soft, yet firm enough to hold its shape and prop up an assortment of tasty toppings. Like the best angus patty, an eggplant burger won’t fall apart after one bite. Your vegetarian and vegan friends will thank you.

      Easy Eggplant Burger
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      Easy Eggplant Burger
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      Servings
      6servings
      Servings
      6servings
        Ingredients
        • 1 Eggplant cut into one-inch pieces
        • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
        • 2/3 cup Oatmeal
        • 2/3 cup Breadcrumbs
        • 2 Eggs
        • 1/2 Onion finely chopped
        • 1 Garlic Clove minced
        • Salt to taste
        • Pepper to taste
        • 1/4 cup Parsley chopped
        • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
        • Burger Trimmings optional
        Servings: servings
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        Ingredients
        • 1 Eggplant cut into one-inch pieces
        • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
        • 2/3 cup Oatmeal
        • 2/3 cup Breadcrumbs
        • 2 Eggs
        • 1/2 Onion finely chopped
        • 1 Garlic Clove minced
        • Salt to taste
        • Pepper to taste
        • 1/4 cup Parsley chopped
        • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
        • Burger Trimmings optional
        Servings: servings
        Units:
          Instructions
          1. Peel eggplant and cut into one-inch pieces. Place eggplant on a paper towel and squeeze out any excess water.
          2. In a large bowl, mix eggplant with cheese, breadcrumbs, oatmeal, eggs, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. If needed, adjust the amount of breadcrumbs so patties will hold together firmly.
          3. Form eggplant mixture into patties. Coat patties with remaining breadcrumbs. Flipping once, fry veggie burgers in a skillet until golden brown, about two to three minutes per side.
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          When it comes to creating a memorable veggie burger, it’s easy to get stuck in a culinary rut. While beauty is in the mouth of the beholder, there’s more to a veggie burger option than an oversized mushroom, tofu and a couple of slices of Halloumi. Toasted cashews give a veggie burger a rich, “meaty” feel, and when combined with curry and red lentils, you have something far more exotic than the run-of-the-mill veggie burgers found on the frozen food aisle. Top it off with a fun condiment like this cucumber-mint raita, and you’re in for a real treat.

          Curried Cashew Burgers
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          Curried Cashew Burgers
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          Servings
          6servings
          Servings
          6servings
            Ingredients
            • 1 cup Carrots peeled and diced
            • 1/2 cup Red Lentils rinsed
            • 3/4 cup Raw Cashews
            • 3/4 tsp Salt
            • 1 cup Onion chopped
            • 1 Clove Garlic minced
            • 3/4 cup Breadcrumbs
            • 2 tsps Curry Powder
            • 6 Whole-Wheat Pita Breads
            • Lettuce for garnish
            • Sliced Cucumber for garnish
            • Cucumber-Mint Raita for topping
            Servings: servings
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            Ingredients
            • 1 cup Carrots peeled and diced
            • 1/2 cup Red Lentils rinsed
            • 3/4 cup Raw Cashews
            • 3/4 tsp Salt
            • 1 cup Onion chopped
            • 1 Clove Garlic minced
            • 3/4 cup Breadcrumbs
            • 2 tsps Curry Powder
            • 6 Whole-Wheat Pita Breads
            • Lettuce for garnish
            • Sliced Cucumber for garnish
            • Cucumber-Mint Raita for topping
            Servings: servings
            Units:
              Instructions
              1. In a medium saucepan, combine two cups of water, carrots, lentils and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and simmer until lentils are tender, about 12 to 14 minutes. Drain in a colander and let cool for 20 minutes.
              2. Toast cashews over medium-low heat, stirring frequently for two to four minutes or until golden and fragrant. Let cool.
              3. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, five to eight minutes. Add garlic, curry powder, and two tablespoons of water and cook for an additional minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool.
              4. Pulse the cashews in a food processor or blender. Add lentils and onion mixture and pulse. The mixture should be cohesive, but still textured. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in breadcrumbs and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
              5. Form the mixture into one-inch thick patties (it should make about six). Cook patties in a large skillet over medium heat until golden brown, roughly four minutes per side. Serve burgers in whole-wheat pitas with lettuce, cucumber, mayo or cucumber-mint raita, if desired.
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              While almost everyone loves a juicy, angus burger, it’s not always the healthiest option on the menu. These three veggie burgers are every bit as mouth-watering as their beef cousins, and a whole lot healthier, too. When it comes to creating unique burger recipes for the season…think outside the grill lines.

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