Last weekend I went on a quest to make a grillable veggie burger. Creating a tasty and grillable veggie burger has been an illusive target ever since I started making my own veggie burger patties a few years ago. Although I’ve made some tasty patties, the mixture is so soft I wouldn’t even think of putting them on the BBQ. Even frying can be tricky sometimes, so I usually bake my veggie burgers.
With a lot of trial and error, and a bit of help from the folks at Minimalist Baker, I’ve come up with my own GRILLABLE VEGGIE BURGER!!!! Cap locks are justified here just to communicate how excited I was when my veggie burgers came off the BBQ, cooked perfectly with their quintessential grill marks.
When the grilling season is at it’s peak, most veggie eaters will be used to chomping on a flavourless soy patty from the frozen foods aisle, which is the only option I’ve found that stands up on the grill. While I’ll admit pre-made veggie burgers are getting better, they usually have some type of filler or additive that I’m not a fan of. Veggie eaters can rejoice now at having their very own gourmet patties to throw on the grill, alongside their meaty friends.
Veggie Burger Hacks
I’ve learnt a few hacks over the years to help create a “meaty” rather than soggy veggie burger patty. Bonus: you can apply them to any veggie burger recipe.
- Resist the urge to puree everything together (my biggest challenge). This automatically creates a soggy texture that’s hard to remediate – no matter how much bread crumbs you add. Instead use a potato musher to break-up things like beans or yams/sweet potato. Dice or grate any other vegetable additions.
- Add cooked rice or quinoa to provide texture and structure. If using quinoa, slightly undercook it to give a more toothsome texture.
- Slowly add liquid binders, like an egg or BBQ sauce, stopping when the burger reaches the desired texture. Adding a whole egg or a lot of sauce at once might make the burgers too wet.
- Keep your ingredient list simple and add extra flavouring with spices. Getting carried away with too many vegetables will make the burgers more fragile and difficult to stick together.
- Chill the patties before cooking to help set.
The five main elements in my grillable veggie burgers are:
- Black rice (or brown rice, but black adds a meat-like colour)
- Pinto beans (black beans are another option)
- Ground oats, walnut and spice mixture
- Fried onions
- Homemade Rhubarb BBQ sauce (or your favourite BBQ sauce)
Although I’m definitely not a stickler for following recipe directions, I would recommend following the general proportions I used in my recipe. After that you can play around with the types of spices you use, and experiment with different combinations of beans, nuts, and grains. The beauty of a veggie burger compared to a meat burger is all the flavours you can play with. I think that’s why you see people ordering veggie burgers with bacon on top – the veggie burger flavour sometimes tops it’s meat counterpart.
One thing to note is that I used dried pinto beans, but one large can of beans or two small cans should yield roughly the same amount. One cup of dry pinto beans, prepared according to instructions on package, yields about two cups of cooked beans.
Well I think that’s about all the veggie burger wisdom I have left to give. Now it’s time to fire up the BBQ and try these grillable veggie burgers for yourself! If you try them, let me know how they worked out in the comments.
Happy weekend and happy grilling!
Grillable Veggie Burgers (Vegan)
- 1 cup cooked black or brown rice
- 2 cups cooked pinto or black beans (or 1 x 540ml can of unsalted beans)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
- fresh cracked pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, roughly mash beans and salt with a potato masher. Add the cooked rice to the bowl.
- Toast cumin, coriander, and mustard seeds in a small frying pan until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add toasted spices and cayenne powder to food processor. (Option: grind spices with mortar and pestle to ensure they a powder before adding to processor).
- Toast walnuts until golden and fragrant. Add toasted walnuts, oats, and garlic clove to spices in the food processor. Process mixture until a coarse meal forms, like breadcrumbs. Add to the large bowl.
- Saute onion with oil over medium-low heat until onion starts to turn golden brown. Add onion to large bowl.
- Finish by adding BBQ sauce and cracked pepper to the large bowl. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, work all the ingredients together. It should form a stiff, dough-like consistency. Add an extra tablespoon of BBQ sauce if your mixture seems dry (it shouldn't be necessary though).
- Form 6 patties (each patty is about 1/2 a cup - measuring optional). Make sure to pat patties firmly together so they don't fall apart. Arrange patties on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Allow burger patties to firm for at least 15 minutes in the freezer. If you don't intend to cook all patties at once, let the remainders freeze completely then transfer to an airtight container to store in the freezer (stored patties should be cooked from frozen).
Preheat BBQ to about 450°F. Brush oil on top of the burger patties. Place oiled side of the burger on grill, then brush the other side of the burger with oil. Allow burgers to cook 5-6 minutes. Once nicely charred flip the burgers.
- Brush BBQ sauce onto the burgers and allow to cook a further 5-6 minutes. Toast your favourite burger buns on the grill in the last few minutes of grilling. Serve with your favourite burger toppings and enjoy!
- No BBQ? No problem. Preheat oven to 375°F convection or regular bake. Brush both sides of the burger with a bit of oil, place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake burgers for 15-20 minutes, flipping in the middle.Or simply fry the burgers over medium-low heat, flipping once a nice crust forms on the bottom (5-7 minutes).