I've tried my fair share of vegan burger recipes over the last 4-5 years. I hope through my trial and error with some truly disastrous recipe attempts, I can help you avoid that heart-sinking moment when you realise your veggie burger is falling apart in the pan/grill and you end up using the mixture as more of a stuffing than a burger (we've done this a number of times - still tastes good, but looks gross)! I've shared the best of my tried-and-tested favourites here like my mean, lean, black bean burger and this amazing beetroot and quinoa burger - both of which definitely don't fall apart, and taste delicious!
But now I wanted a vegan burger recipe that holds well enough to cook on the BBQ. With some inspiration from Minimalist Baker I've adapted / amalgamated a few different recipes to make a really healthy burger that's just perfect for grilling - it holds its shape wonderfully and doesn't stick to the BBQ at all. Best of all, by grilling on the BBQ, you get to add these blackened char lines, which as well as helping it look legit, creates an outer crust and a smokey depth of flavour that barbecues are all about.
Not to mention, they taste amazing - they have a great firm texture, they're hearty, and they pack a flavour-punch with the addition of smokey spices, toasted walnuts, and barbecue sauce.
You could make these in advance if you're going to a summer barbecue, and because the recipe makes eight you can even freeze a few of them ready for a quick healthy dinner when you haven't got the time (or energy) to cook!
I made a "cheats" vegan burger sauce to go with the burgers - all that's required is mixing a few ingredients in a small bowl and you can dollop on top of your burgers for the ultimate finishing touch.
The Ultimate Grillable Vegan Burger Recipe
Ingredients (serves 8):
1.5 cups cooked quinoa*
1.5 cups raw walnut halves
1 Tbsp rapeseed oil
1 white onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp chilli powder / flakes
0.5 Tbsp cumin powder
0.5 tsp tumeric
2 x 400g tins of cooked black or mixed beans (drained and patted dry)
4 Tbsp BBQ sauce
Pinch of salt and lots of ground pepper, to taste
For the vegan burger sauce (serves 8):
4 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise
4 Tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tsp dijon mustard
0.5 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt and pepper
Start by toasting your walnuts - heat a frying pan over a medium heat and using no oil add the walnuts - shake and toss the pan from time to time to prevent burning and toast for 7-8 minutes until they smell fragrant and start to turn slightly darker. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, using the same pan, add the rapeseed oil over a medium heat and saute the onion for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes until the onion is softened.
Now the walnuts have cooled, add to a food processor along with the spices, and blitz until the texture of wet sand (see picture).
In a large mixing bowl, add the drained beans. It's important to pat them dry as we want to avoid added moisture making the burgers too wet. Use the back of a fork or a masher to smash the beans up.
Now add to the smashed beans the walnut-spice mix, sauteed onion/garlic, the cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, BBQ sauce, and salt and pepper, then use your hands to mix thoroughly until it becomes a consistency that you can mould into burger shapes. Use your hands to squeeze the mixture into eight burger patties.
Heat your barbecue or griddle pan until smoking hot, then place your burger patties on and grill for 4-5 minutes on each side. Don't be tempted to move them around during cooking as it's nice to get neat grill char lines across the burgers. While they're cooking, prepare your buns and toppings.
To make the burger sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, then dollop generously on top along with your favourite burger toppings!
*Note - this recipe calls for pre-cooked quinoa. Allow time for cooking if you don't have any to hand. The quinoa should be cooked but completely dry - press any moisture out through a sieve after cooking to ensure the burgers aren't too wet.
Nutrition (per burger with sauce and bun):
Protein: 15.4g (Women: 30.8% / Men: 28.0%)
Iron: 4.6mg (Women: 31.1% / Men: 52.9%)
Calories: 505 (Women: 25.3% / Men: 20.2%)
Sugars: 9.6g (Women: 10.7% / Men: 8.0%)
Total Fats: 21.5g (Women: 30.7% / Men: 22.6%)
Saturated Fat: 2.5g (Women: 12.5% / Men: 8.3%)
Salt: 1.1g (Women: 18.3% / Men: 18.3%)
Fibre: 10.2g (Women: 34.0% / Men: 34.0%)
See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.