Have you met my favorite veggie burgers? If not, it’s about time! I have high standards for veggie burgers, and these put all the rest to shame. I have a feeling they’ll become your favorite veggie burgers, too.
These veggie burgers are hearty and satisfying, and feature an irresistible combination of flavors. They start with a base of quinoa, black beans and oats. Then we amp up the volume with sweet potatoes, fresh herbs, and some carefully chosen seasonings. They’re a little sweet and a little spicy, in the best of ways.
You may recognize this recipe as the “Sweet Potato and Black Bean Veggie Burgers” that have been hidden in the archives for quite some time. There’s a chance you’ve enjoyed these burgers in my cookbook, Love Real Food, sandwiched between buns with a crisp lime-cilantro cabbage slaw and guacamole (page 177).
Or maybe you’re seeing these burgers for the first time right now! If so, I’ll share why this veggie burger recipe is my favorite:
- These burgers are absolutely delicious. In fact, these are the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had. They’re better than any restaurant’s, and far better than store-bought frozen veggie burgers.
- These burgers retain their shape before, during and after cooking. Many veggie burgers are a chore to make or to eat, but these are totally fuss-free.
- You can cook these burgers in the oven, on the stove, or yes, even on the grill. They also freeze well, so you can make a full batch and enjoy them over time.
- These veggie burgers are perfect for serving to friends who follow special diets. These burgers are vegetarian, of course. They’re also conveniently vegan, gluten free, nut free, egg free and soy free.
Watch How to Make Veggie Burgers
Veggie Burger Cooking Options
You have three cooking options for these veggie burgers, and we’ll start with my favorite one.
I love baking these veggie burgers in the oven. It’s the easiest way to cook a bunch at once, and they turn out beautifully cooked through and golden on each side.
These burgers grill well, too! I’ve successfully grilled them on the grates without the burgers falling apart. (If you do run into any trouble, just chill the burgers for a bit before trying again.)
Lastly, you can cook these veggie burgers in a skillet on the stovetop. The stovetop isn’t my favorite method because it requires more babysitting than the oven, but it’s totally doable. These burgers are extra moist inside. Check the recipe notes for details.
Veggie Burger Ingredients
These veggie burgers are made with easy-to-find, healthy ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Sweet potatoes: For the best results, weigh your sweet potatoes at the store to ensure you’re starting with the right amount. Ideally, choose smaller sweet potatoes because they’ll cook a little quicker. We’re going to slice them down the middle and roast them until tender.
- Quinoa: We’ll start with raw (uncooked) quinoa, and you’ll find instructions on how to cook it within the recipe. Or, if you happen to have 1 1/2 cups leftover cooked quinoa, you can use that instead. Millet will work in place of quinoa, too (check the recipe notes for details).
- Black beans: Canned or home-cooked will work, as long as they are rinsed and well-drained. Though I have’t tried, I bet you could substitute an equal amount of pinto beans, chickpeas or white beans in a pinch.
- Red onion, cilantro, and garlic: If you’re sensitive to any of these flavors, don’t worry, they mellow during cooking and produce a delicious end result.
- Spices: Adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo) or smoked paprika lend some smoky grilled flavor. We’ll also add cumin, chili powder, and salt.
- Quick-cooking oats: Oats absorb excess moisture and offer a dose of whole grains. You can also use old-fashioned oats, pulsed briefly in a food processor or blender to break them up.
Veggie Burger Serving Suggestions
Serve these burgers as, well, burgers! Find some great buns, or use butter lettuce leaves for a low-carb, gluten free options. Add any of the following:
- Ripe, juicy sliced tomato
- Crisp lettuce or fresh sprouts
- Sliced cheese
- Onion, very thinly sliced
- Avocado or guacamole
- Ketchup and mustard
- Maybe even fried eggs
Side Dish Suggestions
These burgers would go nicely with my Simple Healthy Slaw or Gaby’s Cucumber Salad.
You could make extra quinoa while you’re at it (you’ll need a total of 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa for the burgers), and make my Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach and Quinoa Salad or Favorite Quinoa Salad.
Ideas for Leftovers
Keep these burgers on hand for quick, healthy meals. Leftover cooked patties store well in the freezer for several months.
Warm one up and serve it with a simple green salad, or a quesadilla, or any hodge-podge of ingredients you may have. However you serve them, these burgers will add some additional veggies, fiber and protein to your meal.
Please let me know how your veggie burgers turn out in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Favorite Veggie Burgers
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 burger patties 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
These sweet and spicy veggie burgers are both vegan and gluten free. You can bake them, grill them, or cook them on the stovetop! For best results when choosing the grill or stovetop method, prepare the burger mixture in advance and let it chill in the refrigerator (you can let it chill overnight or longer if you’d like). Recipe yields 8 patties.
- 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (2 medium or 3 small)
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander
- 1 cup water
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans)
- ½ cup chopped red onion (about ½ small red onion)
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce* or 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups quick-cooking oats** (use certified gluten-free oats if necessary)
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing (or avocado oil, if using stovetop method)
- 8 whole wheat hamburger buns (optional)
- Your favorite burger fixings: Avocado or guacamole, tomato, onion, lettuce, pickles, cheese, sprouts, ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, fried eggs…
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
- Roast the sweet potatoes: Slice the sweet potatoes down the center lengthwise. Place the sweet potatoes, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Roast until they yield to a gentle squeeze, 30 to 40 minutes or longer. Set aside for now. (If you’ll be baking the burgers, reserve the parchment-lined pan and leave the oven on.)
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the quinoa and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until all of the water is absorbed, 11 to 14 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let the quinoa steam for 10 minutes.
- Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin (it should pull off easily) and roughly chop the insides. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cooled sweet potatoes and quinoa, black beans, onion, cilantro, garlic, adobo sauce, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Use a potato masher, pastry cutter, large spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer to mix really well. It’s ok if the black beans get smashed in the process.
- Sprinkle the oats over the mixture and mix well with a large spoon until the mixture holds together when you shape a portion into a patty. If you won’t be making the burgers immediately, cover the mixture and refrigerate for later.
- When you’re ready to cook, shape the burgers: Use a measuring cup to measure out ½ cup of the mixture. Gently shape it into a patty about 3 ½ to 4 inches in diameter. Use your hands to gently flatten the burgers and smooth out any jagged edges. Repeat the process for each patty; you should end up with 8.
- If you’re baking the burgers (see recipe notes for alternate options), brush both sids of each patty generously with olive oil and place them on the lined baking sheet, leaving a few inches of space around each one. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the patties are deeply golden on the outside, about 35 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Serve burgers as desired. Leftover burgers keep well, refrigerated, for 4 days. Or, freeze them in a freezer bag for up to 3 months (thaw in the microwave for about 1 minute or in a 400 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until warmed all the way through).
Recipe adapted from the Cafe Flora Cookbook. Cafe Flora is a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in Seattle with an ever-changing seasonal menu—check it out if you’re nearby.
*Adobo sauce note: Buy canned or jarred chipotle peppers in adobo and use the sauce. You’ll usually find this ingredient in the international or Hispanic aisle of the grocery store. You can transfer leftover peppers and their sauce to a freezer bag, squeeze out any remaining air, and freeze for later use.
**Oats note: You can use old-fashioned oats instead, if you briefly blend them in a food processor or blender until broken into smaller pieces (not as fine as flour).
Stovetop cooking method: Heat 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or other high heat oil) in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, place several burgers in the pan, leaving enough room to flip them. Cook each patty until browned and heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet for each pan of burgers you fry, and dial down the heat as necessary to prevent burning.
Grilling method: Ideally, let the mixture chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before shaping the burgers and grilling. No need to coat the burgers in oil, which might burn on the grill. Shape the burgers as instructed in step 6, and cook on a grill over medium heat, turning once the undersides have turned golden and developed some grill marks. Repeat on the other side.
Make it gluten free: Use certified gluten-free oats and choose your accompaniments carefully. As an alternative to buns, try butter lettuce leaves!
Prepare in advance: Prepare the burger mixture and let it chill in the refrigerator (you can let it chill overnight or up to a couple of days if you’d like). Then assemble the burgers and cook as directed.
Serving suggestions: These veggie burgers don’t have to be served as traditional burgers. The patties are good on their own with toppings like guacamole and pico de gallo, or in a salad with Southwestern flavors. Try serving them with corn on the cob in the summer.
Recipe notes 8/18/20: The original version of this recipe called for ⅓ cup millet cooked with 1 cup water (yielding 1 cup cooked millet) and 1 cup old-fashioned oats, lightly ground in a food processor or blender until the flakes are broken up, but not as fine as flour.
I love these burgers! Sweet potato, quinoa, oats, black beans-could they be any healthier?!
I’m excited you enjoy them, Kris! I appreciate your review.
Yum!! I actually got a late start today and am eating one of the leftover veggie burgers (as a sandwhich on wheat toast, with a little purple cabbage on top and “nish nosh” (sweet mayo) dressing!) as brunch! Time saver tip: I microwaved the sweet potato, took much less time and tasted fine. I used leftover quinoa I had in the fridge (will add this into future meal planning!). For those who don’t like heavy spice, or have other eaters who don’t… I was glad I tasted the adobe sauce, whoa! My husband can’t handle spice. I put in half, and he loved them! Thanks so much for your recipes, am excited to keep trying more.
WOW! This is the best veggie burger recipe I’ve tried so far. These were a big hit with both my omnivore and vegetarian family members. They also taste just as good (if not better) reheated the next day. I also like to break mine up and roll it up in a wrap with some spinach, hummus, and fresh avocado. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us!
I’m glad you think so, Laura! I appreciate your review.
I already have some cooked quinoa in the freezer and wondering how much cooked quinoa to use?
Hi Aliya, 1 1/2 cups cooked. I hope you enjoy these!
Would brown rice or cous cous be a good substitute for quinoa?
Hi Tricia, See the note about millet in the notes.
I just made these and they were soooooo delicious!!! My whole family devoured them! Thank you for this amazing recipe!
You’re welcome, Tara! I appreciate your review.
I love the flavor of these burgers, and they are fantastic with the slaw and avocado (from your cookbook)! I thought I followed the recipe closely, and the burgers did hold their shape during cooking. But when they were in the bun and being eaten, chunks of the burger kept falling out of the bun, even when held horizontally. Do you have any suggestions for how to make them stay together better? I will definitely keep making this recipe.
Hi Deb, I’m sorry to hear that. Did you make them bigger or were they a bit on the thiner side?
If we are omitting cilantro, should we replace with parsley or just leave out herbs altogether? Thanks!
Hi MM! You could use parsley. Let me know what you think!
Just wanted to share that I followed your recipe, and it was a success!
I love the ingredients and they work so well together.
I made 8 burgers and served them freshly baked and cold, from the fridge, the next day. They were equally delicious!
Very easy to make. I had a lot of brown rice already made in the fridge which I used instead of quinoa. Worked great!
That’s great to hear, Kim! I appreciate your review.
I have found our new veggie burger staple! These are delicious and filling! The recipe I was using was good, but just wasn’t quite substantial enough. My husband loved them (and didn’t even notice that there was quinoa in them!) Thanks!
These are the most delicious burgers I have ever had. My sister and myself (who are both Vegetarian) made these tonight! Cannot believe how addicting and amazing they turned out. Love the fact that all the ingredients are all health conscious too. Super filling as well. Thanks for sharing your recipe Kate! We really enjoyed making them, and will be making other batches in the future!
I’m so happy you loved them, Emma! I appreciate you taking the time to review.
I just made these burgers with my sister! Firstly they are so fun to make because with all the healthy ingredients you just feel so good about it!! And then they are absolutely delicious!!!
We quadrupled the recipe so we could freeze a bunch. I can’t wait to be eating these for the rest of the month :D!
Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe Kate :)!
I made these tonight and am looking forward to the leftovers. So good – thanks!!
You’re welcome, Melissa! I appreciate your review.
SO good. I can see this being fantastic topped with hot sauce and a fried egg as a brunch entree. Will definitely make again!
Great to hear, Corrie!
Help! I’m desperately trying to find your original recipe for this! Specifically, the one with cornmeal, and no oats or quinoa. I used to make it quite a bit and my family loved it. However, for various reasons, I haven’t for a while. Now, the hard printed copy is missing and I don’t remember the measurements. We are allergic to quinoa, so unfortunately, this current version isn’t an option.
I believe I even commented on the original posting. Yeah, I’m the weirdo who just left the beans out (allergic to legumes) and subbed frozen corn and diced red bell peppers. But, we loved the smoky chipotle flavor of your recipe. I really hope you can help.
These were amazing!! Thank you for sharing!!
You’re welcome, Carmel! I appreciate your review.
This has been a go-to recipe for me for years. They go nicely with BBQ sauce due to the smoked paprika or chipotle sauce. I love keeping these chilled in the fridge so I can crisp them up fresh in the pan for a quick dinner. Thanks Kate!
You’re welcome, Kitty! I appreciate your review.
I LOVE this post. Very interesting info! Perfect just what I was looking. Nice PICS. I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe. Thank You !!!
David de Weerdt
Kate, at 61 years old, I am finally learning to cook. You are now my main guide. My wife and I are trying to go completely vegan, and I am Celiac. I made a hit with your veggie burgers! (extras are being packed for lunch now as my wife leaves for work). We are Canadian expats now living in Chile for work here.
I am looking here for the nutrient analysis I thought I had seen on one of your recipies. Can you point me in the right direction? I’m aiming not only to delight with the food i make, but to assure my wife and myself that we are getting all the nutrition we need. So far, with me making your food, my Lisa is 100% delighted! (veggie burgers, vegan mac and cheese, black bean salad, quinoa salad, simple cole slaw). I am going to work my way through all your recipes that adapt to the vegan (and GF) diet!
Thank you, Kate!
I love that my recipes are apart of your journey! Be sure to let me know what you think of other recipes as you try them, David.
Delicious. Have made these many times and they are always loved by my family. Thank you
That’s great to hear, Frances! I appreciate your review.
This is my go-to recipe for sharing with friends who also follow a whole-foods, plant based diet.
I’m finding I have a sensitivity to sweet potatoes. Could I use pumpkin or butternut squash, or are they not dense enough?
Is there another sweet potato alternative?
Thanks very much!
Hi Rachel, you could try butternut squash. I’m not sure if you will have similar results, without trying it myself.
So very very good, and really filling. Nice firm texture. Lacked chipolte sauce, so used barbecue sauce and a bit of liquid smoke.
Another use for leftovers is stuffed peppers. I pan seared a patty, chopped and tossed with flavoured mayo and a bit of salsa. Topped with cheese and breadcrumbs.
Will definitely make again.
Best vegan burger I have ever made! Thank you
You’re welcome, Sheryl! I appreciate your review.
I just made these tonight and even though the flavor was good, no matter what I tried they kept falling apart. Cold or not_ was the same. what could I use in the mixture to help it keep more form? an egg? I am not vegan or strict vegetarian. I just want to limit my meat intake.
I’m sorry to hear that. Did you measure your sweet potato? Did it seem like there was enough. You could try another egg to help.
Is there an alternative that can be used for the oats in this recipe? We have one with an oat allergy in our household.
Hi! You could try omitting them and adding a bit more quinoa or an egg. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure.
Made these last night from your cookbook! Excellent!
I’m glad you enjoyed them, Terri!
Made these for superbowl sunday and they were a hit with everyone. I made some chipotle mayo with the left over chipotles in adobo and it really set it off. Thanks for the awesome recipe, I will definitely be making these again!
Sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing, Amy.
Amazing! Recently I’ve tried to do as much veg based meals as possible. Followed the recipe, except added a little more garlic and added 1 tsp smoked paprika and 1 tsp chipotle sauce and I only get the old fashioned oats so I put it in my grinder and roughly grinded it. Only used 1 cup oats.. Everything pretty much exactly as the original recipe. So good!
Great to hear you loved it, Azrak! I appreciate your review.
I made these veggie burgers tonight and they are soooo delicious!! I did not hesitate making them because I’ve made other recipes that you’ve shared and they have all been outstanding!! Thanks for sharing your delicious and healthy recipes!! PS I left out cilantro because I’m not a fan and they are yummy without it.
I’m glad you love them, Debbie! I appreciate your review.