Veggie Burger Recipe, From Scratch

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cover of the book Veggie Burgers Every Which Way

Why does no one make veggie burgers from scratch? Why do we put up with frozen, packaged, rubbery patties, full of unrecognizable ingredients, that don't taste that great?

A year ago, I bought my girlfriend the cookbook Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lukas Volger, and have been enjoying unbelievably delicious freshly made veggie burger suppers ever since.

The book has recipes for thirty kinds of burgers, five varieties of buns, ten sides (salads and fries) and eleven condiments and toppings. There are intro chapters explaining the function of beans, rice, and bread crumbs in the recipes, with suggestions for wheat and gluten free burgers and egg substitutes.

Volger maintains a blog full of recipes, and has released a second cookbook: Vegetarian Entrees That Won't Leave You Hungry: Nourishing Main Course Recipes For Every Night of the Week. It's just as good as his other book.

Quinoa, Red Bean and Walnut Burgers

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly

Quinoa, Red Bean and Walnut Burger1 small potato (4 to 5 ounces), peeled and chopped into one inch pieces

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch scallions, including an inch of the green parts, thinly sliced

1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 cups cooked red beans

1/2 cup roughly chopped toasted walnuts

1/2 teaspoon salt

juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Bring 1 cup water to boil in a small saucepan and add the quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for ten to twelve minutes, until the water is absorbed. Let stand for five minutes.

2. Meanwhile, steam or boil the potato until tender. Mash with a fork.

3. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook just until fragrant, one to two minutes. Add the parsley and ginger and cook until fragrant, about thirty seconds.

4. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, cooked potato, parsley-scallion mixture, red beans, and walnuts with a potato masher or your hands. Add the salt and lemon juice. Shape into six patties. (Our patty yield has been higher than this - TJ)

5. In a large oven-safe skillet or nonstick saute pan, heat the remaining two tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the patties and spoon one tablespoon pomegranate sauce (see below) on top of each. Cook until the bottoms are browned, four to five minutes. Flip and cook the other sides until crisped  and slightly firmed, four to five minutes more.

Prep and cook time: 30 minutes. 

Pomegranate-Sesame Sauce (optional)(but recommended)(you might need to go to a European deli to the find pomegranate molasses)

1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

1 tablespoon molasses

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Combine the pomegranate molasses, soy sauce, molasses, and sesame oil in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, six to eight minutes. It will thicken as it cools. This sauce will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Prep and cook time: ten minutes, not including time to cool. 

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  • Comment Link Lindsay Monday, 19 September 2011 18:21 posted by Lindsay

    This is the one I've made the most and it's easy and delicious (don't let all those directions scare you). I've shared it with many people (mostly meat eaters), and it's always thoroughly enjoyed. I like to make the patties small, and put them on small buns (that way the flavours are not overwhelmed by bread), and it makes a lot and keeps well.

    Don't expect this to be a meat replacement. It's not. Expect it to be very healthy tasty food that you can eat often. It is.

    I also like to keep in mind no recipe is set in stone. Experiment. This one for example is a bean, a grain, a nut, fresh spices, and something to keep it together. From that structure, there's a lot of room to play around. Enjoy.

  • Comment Link Keir Cutler Tuesday, 20 September 2011 17:44 posted by Keir Cutler

    I just bought some store bought veggie burgers. Now I feel like an idiot!

  • Comment Link TJ Dawe Tuesday, 20 September 2011 21:30 posted by TJ Dawe

    Keir, I think you have a golden opportunity in front of you. Make the store bought ones and the burgers from this recipe on the same night. Blindfold yourself. See if you can taste the difference.

  • Comment Link Bergen Vermette Saturday, 26 November 2011 05:11 posted by Bergen Vermette

    I'm sitting in TJ's house right now eating one of these things. And ya know what, he's right, they're goddam de-licious!

  • Comment Link D. Zaster Tuesday, 14 August 2012 10:16 posted by D. Zaster

    Hi - I've been a bit of a veggie burger detective of late, copying recipes that look good, trying to find my own personal favorite. This one looks like it's worth a try.

    Here's the best-tasting veg burger I have found so far. The list of ingredients is on the long side, and it was somewhat mushy when cooked. I'll try it again, drier and firmer if possible:

    And this looks really good as a condiment. I have yet to make it. It's for meat, but may just be great on a plant-based burger:

    BTW, is one of my favorite food sites.

  • Comment Link TJ Dawe Tuesday, 14 August 2012 20:20 posted by TJ Dawe

    D - these sound and look incredible. thanks so much for these links.

    And I hope your veggie burger detective work leads you to Volger's recipe book in its entirety. My girlfriend and I have made maybe a dozen or so recipes from it so far, and have never been less than astounded by the results.

    A few favourites off the top of my head:

    Beet, red bean and brown rice burgers
    Sweet potato, kale and green lentil burgers
    Cashew nut and leak burgers
    Celery root burgers.

    God, so many more, too.

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