A labor day barbecue is an American staple, but unfortunately we often exclusively associate barbeque with meat. Though the traditional barbecue mostly involves beef burgers and hot dogs, there are plenty of alternatives for our vegan friends. Veggie burgers are rising in popularity, and there’s no better way to do it than home-cooked. This vegan veggie burger is a delightfully delicious beef alternative to slap on your labor-day grill.
- 1 cup cooked brown rice*
- 1 cup raw walnuts (or sub bread crumbs)
- 1/2 Tbsp avocado oil (plus more for cooking)
- 1/2 medium white onion (finely diced // 1/2 onion yields ~3/4 cup)
- 1 Tbsp each chili powder blend, cumin powder, and smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper (plus more for coating burgers)
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar (or sub organic brown or muscovado sugar)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans* (well rinsed, drained and patted dry)
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (if gluten-free, use gluten-free bread crumbs)
- 3-4 Tbsp vegan BBQ sauce
- If your brown rice isn’t cooked yet, start there by following this method for the best results. Otherwise, move onto the next step.
- Heat skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add raw walnuts and toast for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden brown. Let cool and move onto the next step.
- In the meantime, heat the same skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and onion. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until onion is fragrant, soft, and translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Once walnuts are cooled, add to blender or food processor with chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and coconut sugar and blend until a fine meal (see photo) is achieved. Set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add drained, dried black beans and mash well with a fork, leaving only a few whole beans (see photo).
- Next add cooked rice, spice-walnut mixture, sautéed onion, panko bread crumbs, BBQ sauce, and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes, or until a moldable dough forms. If dry, add extra 1-2 Tbsp (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) BBQ sauce. If too wet, add more panko bread crumbs. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- For larger burgers, divide into 5 patties (1/2 cup in size // amount as original recipe is written), or form 10 smaller burgers (1/4 cup in size // amount as original recipe is written). To help form the patties, line your 1/2 or 1/4 measuring cup with plastic wrap and pack with burger mixture. Press down to pack firmly, then lift out by the plastic wrap’s edge, and slightly flatten with hands to form a 3/4-inch thick patty. Set on a baking sheet or plate for grilling.
- If grilling, heat the grill at this time and brush the grill surface with oil to ease cooking. Otherwise, heat the same skillet you used earlier to medium heat.
- Once skillet is hot, add just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of your skillet, then add your burgers – only as many as will comfortably fit in the pan. Otherwise, add burgers to the grill and close lid.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes or until well browned on the underside, then flip gently. They aren’t as firm as meat burgers, but will definitely hold their shape. Reduce heat if cooking/browning too quickly. Cook for 3-4 minutes on other side.
- Remove burgers from heat to let cool slightly, and prepare any other toppings/sides at this time (such as grilling/toasting your buns).
- Serve burgers as is, or on toasted buns with desired toppings. Leftovers keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. See notes for freezing/reheating instructions.