Best Ever Veggie Burger Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 30 min. Cook: 10 min.
There's a new burger in town! Our Test Kitchen shares their very best veggie burger recipe.

Updated: Jan. 30, 2024

Whether you’re a vegetarian, trying to cut down on meat consumption or just want to experiment with plant-based burger brands, meat-eaters and vegetarians alike praise veggie burger recipes. But the same issues keep popping up: their texture can be too mushy or the taste can turn out bland. That was before we developed the best veggie burger recipe with a smoky-savory flavor complete with cumin, smoked paprika, fennel seed and hints of sun-dried tomato.

Veggie Burger Ingredients

Let’s talk about what ingredients—and more importantly, why these ingredients—make this the best veggie burger recipe.

  • Chia seeds and 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.
  • Walnuts: A food’s texture is so important, especially when we’re creating healthy foods that mimic other foods. In this case, walnuts help imitate the texture of beef in the veggie burger, and ensure you’re eating a firm patty reminiscent of meat.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes and 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.
  • Liquid smoke: 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: 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.

Directions

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 to 8 minutes.

Test Kitchen Tip: Don’t skip this step. It’s what gives the burgers more bite.

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 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool.

Test Kitchen Tip: Keep an eye on the walnuts, they can go from browned to burned 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. 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 to 4 minutes on each side. If desired, baste with barbecue sauce and serve on buns with toppings of your choice.

Veggie Burger Topping Ideas

Customize your veggie burger with all sorts of fun toppings. We recommend 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. 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!).

How to Make Veggie Burgers Ahead

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 between patties to keep them from sticking together.

How long do veggie burgers last?

These veggie burgers typically last about a week in the fridge. When you’re craving a veggie burger, remove one from your fridge and place in a hot pan. Follow step 5 above.

Veggie Burger Recipe Tips

How do you shape the veggie burgers?

Some veggie burger mixtures are a pain to work with, whether they’re crumbly or too mushy, as you shape them into patties. Not this recipe! The mixture is a bit firmer than Play-Doh, so you won’t struggle to shape it with your hands.

Once you shape the patty, we recommend flattening 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!

What do you serve with veggie burgers?

You can pair your veggie burgers with anything your heart desires. From homemade air-fryer potato chips or a tasty side salad to herbed grilled corn on the cob, you’ve got endless sides to try out. We recommend sweet potato fries with chipotle mayo, corn salad, grilled veggies, watermelon with feta and mint or homemade sweet potato chips. Mmm!

Watch how to Make Best Ever Veggie Burger

Best Ever Veggie Burger

Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 10 min
Yield 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon oil from sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Optional: Barbecue sauce, toasted hamburger buns, Sriracha mayo, lettuce, red onion and tomato

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spread beans evenly on a parchment-lined rimmed baking pan. Bake until beans start to split open, 6-8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large dry nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook and stir walnuts, cumin, fennel and smoked paprika until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and cool. In the same skillet, heat oil from sun-dried tomatoes over medium heat. Add carrot, shallot and sun-dried tomatoes; cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat; cool slightly.
  3. Transfer carrot mixture to a food processor. Add beans, walnut mixture, oats, chia seeds, soy sauce and garlic salt. Pulse until combined. Shape into four 4-in. patties.
  4. In the same skillet over medium heat, cook 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.

Nutrition Facts

1 burger: 357 calories, 28g fat (3g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 479mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 7g fiber), 9g protein.

It was so hard finding a veggie burger that tasted good, didn't fall apart on the grill and was easy to make so I decided to create my own. —Sarah Tramonte, Taste of Home Associate Culinary Producer