Building a Better Veggie Burger: Tips, Tricks, and a Zucchini and Quinoa Burger Recipe

by Gena on August 9, 2012

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Veggie burgers. To vegans and vegetarians, they’re dietary mainstays. Even the least veg-friendly restaurant is likely to carry a veggie burger these days—maybe not a great one, but a solid option for vegan dining, regardless (always ask to make sure the veggie burger is vegan, but in my experience, they usually are). It’s easy to bring veggie burgers to summer cookouts, pool parties, and tailgate parties. They’re almost always crowd pleasers: longtime vegans and veg-curious diners will feel equally at home with them (it’s easy for me to share a good burger with friends who aren’t used to vegan food, which isn’t always true of my more unusual recipes). And in my experience, veggie burgers are an extra special hit with my guy friends.

For all of their popularity and versatility, veggie burgers aren’t always easy to make. The major challenge is texture and binding: how do you get veggies, grains, and legumes to hold together in a perfect patty shape without using eggs or meat? When I first started making veggie burgers, the flavors were usually lovely, but something always went wrong with texture. They were either too crumbly and dry or too mushy and soft. Oftentimes the texture was too uniform. And when I did happen to nail the right consistency, I’d taste the burger, only to find it was bland. There was a learning curve, to be sure.

This is why I’m happy to be sharing the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. Finding my way to a great vegan burger has been a long journey, and I’ve found that a few simple rules usually leads me to the best results. Nowadays, veggie burgers are a staple for me, in part because they’re so versatile (I can eat them on salads, in wraps, on a sprouted grain bun, etc.) and also because I can make a bunch at one time, freeze them, and use them for speedy meals later on. Just recently, I shared my quinoa burger with za’atar spice; today, I’m taking it one step further towards veggie heaven with a quinoa burger recipe stuffed with zucchini and chickpeas. Yum.

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All photos courtesy of Food52.

These burgers are moist, flavorful, seasonal, and delicious. They’re a little time intensive if you make everything (beans and quinoa) from scratch, but they’re a snap if you have premade quinoa and organic canned beans on hand. I guarantee that they’re likely to please even dubious omnis; while the texture isn’t quite “meaty,” the quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and beans lend a lot of heft to the recipe. Heft, and taste!

To get the recipe itself, and hear my top tips for veggie burger success, please head on over to Food 52 today, where my summer quinoa and zucchini burgers are on full display!! Enjoy the recipe, and see you from the other side of summer physics!

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xo

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Jami August 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm

THESE LOOK SO GOOD!!! And so seasonal!

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BakeryManis August 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Yay for being featured on Food 52. I love that site… and happy to see that they are including more veggie options. The photos are fantastic too! xo from oahu!

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Leanne Whitaker August 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm

This looks amazing, but I cannot get the link to come through for the recipe. :(

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Gena August 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Hmm, I just tried it with no difficulties. Where are you clicking?

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Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy August 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

wow that looks incredible! the texture looks just wonderful!

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Ashley August 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Oh my gosh! Look at that first photo!! I’m in love with it. Great lighting. Awesome burger tips as well. :) I think veggie burgers are a hard recipe to post because there are SO many variables that cause the burgers to fall apart. ie: the moisture content of the beans…how intensely you mash the beans…if you puree ingredients too long in the food processor…if you’re adding cooked quinoa/potatoes how wet/dry those are, etc. I always feel bad when people say they fell apart but it takes a little while to get the hang of making them, I think.

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Averie @ Averie Cooks August 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm

You always have the best veggie burgers – thanks for the great tips and the pretty pics. I want that pewter tray – perfect for serving (or pictures!) :)

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Eileen August 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Yay veggie burgers! I can’t wait to try this version–especially considering the onslaught of summer zucchini. :)

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Christa @ Edible Balance August 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm

LOVE veggie burgers! These look delicious! Sadly, most times when I go out for a veggie burger, the patties are not gluten free… I wish restaurants would get the connection!

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Janae @ Bring-Joy August 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Can you believe I’ve been vegan for 6+ years & I love developing recipes, yet I have yet to really tackle the veggie burger?

Love the wax paper on the burger, nice touch :). Thank you for the great tips.

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Lisa @ The Raw Serenity August 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm

This looks and sounds amazing!
Verge burgers really do take patience and practice.
I haven’t perfected it as yet so so I’ll be sure to go to food 52 .

Thanks for sharing xx

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Liz August 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Looks delish! Speaking of delicious, I finally tried one of the pressed juices at Sweetgreen that you helped create — wow, they are really good! I tried the purify (green) one today and loved it — I look forward to trying the other flavors.

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marlena torres August 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Your photos are gorgeous. I love the idea of za’atar in a burger!

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Richa August 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm

gorgeous photos and great tips! the burger patties look sturdy and so delicious!

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Meghan August 9, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I think these have officially awoken my veggie burger slumber.

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Alexia @ NamasteYoga August 10, 2012 at 2:32 am

great tips on veggie burgers. it often occurs to me that my burgers become to mushy or just not right in flavour although i seem to use similar ingredients every time! will have to follow some of your helpful advice! quinoa and pumpkin seeds for a meaty burger? i am sold :)

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Dennis Blair @ Fort Collins Personal Trainer August 10, 2012 at 4:42 am

I believed that only non vegs can have those beautiful looking and full of taste burgers but I am thoroughly impressed to see this veg burger.Thanks for sharing it.

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Tricia August 10, 2012 at 8:49 am

Haha, my family always hates it when I try to make veggie burgers– because I always make a huge mess! lol, but I love trying new veggie burgers out– thanks for the tips!

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Serena August 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Congrats on being featured of Food 52 :-)

I am going to try this recipe this weekend. I made a video explaining how to cook quinoa that you might enjoy.

Ciao

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Serena August 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Forgot to post the link…. sorry http://serenapalumbo.com/blog/?p=1070

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sarah@thesweetlife August 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Beautiful pictures and beautiful burgers. I love making homemade burgers, but often do find it difficult to make them perfect. They either fall apart on the stove, or don’t cook evenly. So thank you for this post. It’s wonderful.

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Gretchen August 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I just made these for lunch. They were delicious. I used 1 tsp of dry herbs and sunflower seeds rather than pumpkin seeds since that is what I had on hand. They worked out perfectly! The texture was awesome…tender, but not mushy.

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Kathryn August 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

I made these for dinner last night and they were absolutely amazing!! My husband, who is no stranger to vegan fare, said they were the best veggie burgers he’s ever had. I definitely agree! Thank you for sharing your creation!

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carrie August 11, 2012 at 11:57 am

Just want to thank you for another recipe that includes zucchini! We have a community garden plot (actually not far from National Cathedral and your neck of the woods :) ), and the zucchini have gone absolutely nuts this year. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas. Will be making the burgers this weekend. Yum!

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Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans August 12, 2012 at 7:06 am

I love the veggie burger tips! They’re one of my favorite things to make because they’re so versatile, but I was falling into a serious black bean burger rut. I’m excited to mix things up and try something bases!

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