5 Healthy And Delicious Vegan Burger Recipes To Try This BBQ Season

Illustrated by Cerise Zelenetz

Meat, who?

Memorial Day Weekend has come to a close, and with that, we’ve celebrated National Burger Day and the official kickoff to barbecue season. While some of you may have enjoyed a juicy burger or two during this past weekend’s festivities, others may have been left craving a meatless version that surpasses the cardboard-like flavors of most store-bought brands.

Determined to find the best of the best vegan burger recipes out there, that are not only healthy and packed with nutrients but also full of flavor, we tapped five experts, from burger chefs to plant-based eating gurus, for their favorite vegan recipes. No meat, no dairy, no eggs—and packed with all the good stuff, like protein, fiber, vitamins, and more.

If you’re looking for a meatless way—or simply, a healthier way—to become the star of the next backyard grill-off you attend, feast your eyes on the below recipes. We guarantee that vegans, vegetarians, and meat-lovers alike will be left full, energized, and satisfied.

Illustrated by Cerise Zelenetz

Vegan Burger from Black Tap
If you’re not already familiar with Black Tap, NYC’s favorite burger and milkshake haunt (and the originator of the epic goth bagel), we suggest you take a visit soon. While they’re known for their regular burgers, the menu also includes two meatless versions, including a deeee-licious vegan option. Chef and owner Joe Isidori shared his recipe with us; it’s made with a base of black beans and brown rice, so you can expect a healthy, protein-rich alternative to meat.

3 cups brown rice (cooked)
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp oregano
1 can black beans
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 medium red onion
5 oz jalapeno
2 Rudy's Vegan Buns (toasted and turned into breadcrumbs)

To make your own vegan burger patties a la Black Tap, first begin by cooking brown rice, using a proportion of two to one (water to brown rice), and season water with paprika, chili powder, and oregano. Cook the rice on low heat and covered until al dente, then letting it cool at room temperature. Next, rinse beans and set aside. After rice is cooled, mix together all remaining ingredients, folding in the breadcrumbs last. Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before making into patties.

Illustrated by Cerise Zelenetz

Ultimate Date Night Veggie Burger from Sakara Life
We love Sakara Life’s food ideas even more than we love their beauty chocolates. So we knew we had to tap founders Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle for their favorite plant-based veggie burger recipe—and this one does not disappoint. Not only is it delicious, it’s actually good for you! “This clean, plant-base burger is packed with plant protein from white beans, as well as skin-brightening, youth-promoting antioxidant carotenoids from sweet potato,” says DuBoise. “And, unlike most burgers, it also contains a helping of your daily greens in the form of spinach, which is a great source of fiber, a nutrient most people are deficient in, to support gut health.”

1 medium sweet potato, baked and peeled
16 oz cooked white beans (canned, drained, and rinsed)
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
2 tbsp tahini
3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup oat flour (ground from wild oats)
1 cup spinach, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp ginger, grated finely
1/2 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
Coconut oil for cooking

First, bake sweet potato at 400 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes, until tender. As it softens up, rinse white beans under warm water. Once the potato is done baking (leave the oven on!), discard the skins and mash into a mixing bowl with beans. Fold in the onion, and keep on mashing. Next, add all remaining ingredients and mash until the mixture is well combined. Once mixed, form large patties and cook with coconut oil on a skillet over high heat. Cook for about two minutes on each side, until they begin to brown. You can either repeat with remaining mixture or freeze to save for later in the week. DuBoise and Tingle suggest serving between gluten-free or sprouted grain buns, finishing off with all of your favorites: "Creamy avocado, sweet ketchup and mustard, lettuce, onion, sauerkraut—the choices are endless!"

Illustrated by Cerise Zelenetz

Mushroom Burgers With Asian Slaw from Sprouted Kitchen
Sara Forte, the brains behind healthy-eating, veggie-heavy blog Sprouted Kitchen, shared her wonderful Mushroom Burger with Asian Slaw recipe with us. We must say, it’s pretty damn delicious and packed with flavor. As Forte explains on her on her blog, when it comes to marinating veggies and tofu (unlike meat), you can place back into the marinade after cooking to soak up even more flavor. Yum!

Burger patty:
4 large portobello mushrooms
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 tbsp maple
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil
Squeeze of lemon or lime
Pinch of pepper

Asian slaw:
2 carrots
1 small English cucumber
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 avocado
Sriracha mayo *use vegan recipe if vegan
4 buns

First, wipe the mushrooms clean, removing stems. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium heat. In a shallow pan, mix together soy sauce/tamari, maple, oil, splash of citrus, and pepper, then add in the mushrooms, rubbing the marinade into all surfaces. Let them sit for five to 10 minutes to soak it up.

Next, using a julienne or vegetable peeler, shave the carrots and cucumber into thin or thick shreds respectively. Put them in a large mixing bowl with the red onion. Make a quick dressing by whisking together the tahini, soy sauce/tamari, sesame oil, and vinegar. Pour it over the vegetables and toss to coat. Add the chopped mint and cilantro, giving it all one more toss.

Grill the mushrooms for five minutes on each side, or until they’re soft throughout. Grill or warm the buns.

To assemble the burger, smash half of an avocado on the bottom of the bun, then top with grilled mushroom and a big scoop of Asian slaw. Spread a bit of sriracha mayo (using a vegan option if needed) on the top bun and enjoy.

Illustrated by Cerise Zelenetz

The Classic Burger from by CHLOE.
Being that by CHLOE. is one of our favorite places to frequent on our lunch hour, we just knew we had to tap their team for their favorite recipe. Corporate chef Manuel Trevino shared with us the recipe for the Classic Burger, a tempeh- and lentil-based patty with all the classic fixings. It’s pretty much the ultimate (smart) lunch indulgence, as it’s packed with healthy plant-based protein and fiber, assuring that you won’t get the 3pm slump hours later that you would from heavier meat options. “Our burgers at by CHLOE. are made with whole ingredients that are good for you and satisfying, without the saturated fat that you’d get from a beef burger,” says Trevino.

1 8-oz package tempeh
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can lentils, drained and rinsed
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp sea salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp safflower or other cold pressed vegetable oil

First, cook the tempeh by steaming it for 20 minutes, which will help remove some of the bitterness associated with tempeh. Cut the tempeh into smaller pieces (about four to six) and place in the basket of a steamer, cooking for 20 minutes covered.

In a medium-sized sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high setting. Add the onions, sautéing lightly until translucent and slightly browned. Add garlic, and cook for one minute. Transfer to a cookie sheet or large casserole to cool.

Once the onions and garlic have cooled, add them to a food processor along with tempeh, lentils, walnuts, flour, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Pulse slowly, so the nuts break up and the burger patty mix starts to come together. Next, place the mix into a bowl and work it together with your hands. Taste the mix and reseason with salt and pepper as needed.

To finish, cook the patty by heating safflower oil over medium to high heat, adding two to three patties to a pan, cooking three to four minutes per side or until the patty is slightly browned. To serve, spread your favorite condiments across both buns, topping with red onion, lettuce, and tomato.

Illustrated by Cerise Zelenetz

Green Power Burgers from Coconut and Berries
Emma Potts, the vegan chef extraordinaire behind plant-based food blog Coconut and Berries, shared her amazing Green Power Burgers recipe with us—one that she originally featured on Ricki Heller as a guest blogger. Created in the belief that veggie burgers should actually contain, well, veggies, the Green Power Burger was born. Created with an edamame and buckwheat base, these patties are grain-free and packed with protein.

2 cups cooked, shelled edamame (1/2 cups reserved)
1 1/2 cups cooked buckwheat (1/2 cup reserved)
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil
2 large handfuls of chopped kale
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked and drained
2 Tbsp lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
6 tbsp water
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp chia seeds

First, add one and a half cup of the edamame, one cup of the buckwheat, and the fresh herbs to a food processor and pulse until everything comes together, avoiding over-processing. Pulse in the kale and green onions.

Blend together remaining ingredients until you have a thick sauce. Add this sauce to the food processor and pulse another few times until everything has combined. Finally, pulse in the reserved edamame and buckwheat.

Remove the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Shape the mixture into six patties, place on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until firm and dry. You can also pan-fry the burgers with a little oil for approximately seven to 10 minutes on each side over low to medium heat.

Serve with your favorite burger fixings, such as a lettuce “bun” with raw aioli, sliced avocado, and sweet potato fries.