Summer is here and it’s time to enjoy the sunshine, spend time with our friends, and eat lots of delicious food. There will be potlucks, picnics, cookouts, and all kinds of summer parties going on. One of the best summer foods are veggie burgers. Sure, we love burgers year-round but there’s something about summer that makes casual, handheld food even better.
Of course, you don’t want just any veggie burgers and while you can buy really good ones, like these 15 Best Vegan Burgers on the Market, it’s also fun to make your own. There’s an art to making good veggie burgers that have lots of flavor, hold together, and satisfy all your burger cravings.
Through trial and error, I’ve gotten pretty good at making veggie burgers. I have lots of tips to share. Check out How to Make Flavorful Veggie Burgers, The Healthy Homemade Veggie Burger: Tips and Tricks to Keep It Clean and Healthy, 10 New Ideas for Making Delicious Veggie Burgers, and Tricks for Making Veggie Burgers That Won’t Fall Apart. Then read on for even more tips so you can make the best veggie burgers this summer.
1. Choose a Veggie Base
If you think you can only make veggie burgers with beans, think again. Veggie burgers can be made with pretty much any ingredients – beans, legumes, beets, eggplant, potatoes, tofu, seitan, TVP, broccoli, and mushrooms – just to name a few. Check out 10 Vegetables You Can Make Burgers With and Sandwich and Burger Fillings That are Soy and Processed-Ingredient Free for lots of suggestions and recipes.
Just look how delicious these Sprouted Lentil Rice Burgers, One-Ingredient Beet Sliders, Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers, Sweet Potato Burgers, and Shiitake Black Bean Burgers look. Cauliflower makes great burgers like these Cauliflower Veggie Burgers and these Cauliflower Bean Burgers with Horseradish Slaw. You’ll love these Grilled Black Bean and Pumpkin Burgers as well as these Garden Veggie Burgers. See even more in 10 Epic Burgers to Throw on the Grill.
2. Use Summer Produce
Summer brings us a bounty of fresh produce so, take advantage and use these veggies in your burgers. In summer, there is no shortage of zucchini, tomatoes, and greens. Other veggies in season include radishes, beets, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, and corn. You can also add celery, carrots, and onions to the mix.
Whatever veggies you use, lightly sauté or roast them before adding them to the burger mix to unlock their aromatic potential and add maximum flavor. Plus, the more your ingredients are cooked, the less you have to cook the burgers which means juicy and moist results.
For burgers featuring summer produce, try these Chickpea and Zucchini Burgers, Chickpea and Spinach Burger, Smoky Black Bean and Beet Burgers, Zucchini Mushroom Veggie Burgers, and Sweetcorn Sunrise Burgers. See more recipes in 25 Unique and Trendy Burgers.
3. Healthy Add-Ins
Whole grains are an excellent choice when it comes to veggie burgers. First, they act as a binder to hold the burger together. Second, they add a chewy texture to the inside of the burger while crisping up on the outside. Third, using whole grains adds nutrients. Try adding brown rice, quinoa, millet, barley, or oats. If your burger needs some added flour to hold it together, choose whole-grain flour like whole wheat or if you’re gluten-free, go for millet flour or chickpea flour. Try these Quinoa and Pinto Bean Cheese Burgers, Black Bean Quinoa Burgers, Chickpea Millet Burgers with Butternut Squash, and these Savory Mushroom and Rice Burgers.
Adding chopped nuts and seeds to a burger can add texture but they also raise the amount of protein and healthy fat making your burger even healthier. Nuts also help act as a binder. You’ll go nuts for these Nuts and Seeds Burgers, Quinoa, Lentil, and Walnut Protein Patties, and these Nuts, Seeds, and Stuff Burgers.
4. Add Flavor
Adding liquid to a burger mix may sound counter-intuitive when you’re trying to make a burger that will hold together but you also want your burger to be moist. The liquid is also another opportunity to add flavor. I like to add about 1/3 cup vegetable broth or vegan “chicken” or “beef” broth, depending on what kind of burger I am making, for maximum flavor. Other liquids that veggie burgers soak up beautifully are tamari, soy sauce, liquid aminos, balsamic vinegar, and vegan Worcestershire sauce. Don’t forget Buffalo and BBQ sauce like on these Buffalo Tempeh Burgers and BBQ Chickpea Burgers.
To me, this is one of the most important parts of making delicious veggie burgers. Not only should you make sure you add seasonings to your burger mix, but you should add a good amount. If your burger mix is going to make four to six patties, no one is going to taste the one teaspoon of each spice you add – raise that to a tablespoon!
Use a bunch of your favorite herbs and spices or a yummy spice blend. Give your burger a global taste with authentic spice blends or pay attention to veggie-spice/herb pairings. Mushrooms love thyme while oregano, basil, and garlic are perfect for Italian burgers. These Cilantro Chickpea Veggie Burgers, Herbed Edamame Chickpea Burgers, and these Black Bean and Basil Burgers use fresh herbs for maximum flavor. Try a little five-spice powder in your Asian burger or go Thai with a bit of lemongrass and Thai basil.
Go global with these Garam Masala Burgers, Lentil Curry Burgers, Sriracha Black Bean Burgers, Kimchi Mushroom Burgers, Vegetable Samosa Burgers, and Pizza Burger on Foccacia. See more global burgers in Around the World in 10 Amazing Burgers.
5. Make Sliders
When it’s hot and humid, the last thing you want is to feel weighed down by heavy food, even if it tastes amazing. Make sliders instead. Sliders are not only cute and fun but they are hot, hot, hot. When you make sliders, people can eat one if they are really trying to eat light or four if they’re really hungry. Sliders let you try different types of burgers or try a variety of toppings in one meal. If you’re having a summer party, sliders are the perfect thing to serve. Just use your favorite burger recipe and make smaller patties. Simple.
For amazing slider recipes, try these Mini Brown Rice Lentil Burgers with Harissa, Veggie Sliders with Cashew Mustard Cheese Sauce, Kidney Bean and Pumpkin Seed Sliders, and these Black Soybean Sliders with Chipotle Avocado Lime Sauce.
6. Lighten Up
If you’re trying to keep it light for summer, think about skipping the burger bun. Serve your burgers in lettuce or collard wraps, over a salad, or on a plate with healthy sides. If you want some type of bread, try putting your burger in a healthy pita or tortilla. If you want to avoid grains, you can make your own Grain-Free Wraps and Tortillas.
These Spicy Mexican Black Bean Burgers are served in tortillas as are these Smoky Falafel Burgers and these Red Lentil Burger Wraps. If you prefer pitas, try these yummy Chickpea Mushroom Pita Burgers. Forget bread and let mushrooms act as the bun as in these Raw Mushroom Burgers and these Portobello Mushroom Burgers.
7. Top It Off
Lettuce, tomatoes, and onions are great but how about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new and different on top of your veggie burger? There are endless options! Try different greens rather than lettuce. I love putting kale, spinach, and dark, leafy greens on my burgers. Add onions, raw or caramelized. Top your burger with healthy avocados or a bright pesto. Use nut cheese or cashew cheese for some healthy indulgence. Take your usual ketchup but add Cajun spice or 5-spice powder to it to give it a kick. Mix some horseradish into your vegan mayo or try my favorite condiment – vegan mayo mixed with ketchup and a little vegan Worcestershire sauce.
Burgers with toppings that are creative as well as delicious include these Spicy Lentil Quinoa Burgers with Avocado Dressing, Wild Rice Burgers with Grilled Avocado and Heriloom Tomato Salsa, Raw Portobello Hemp Cheese Burgers, Bean Burger with Herb Aioli, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Patties with a Butter Bean Tahini Sauce, and these Tempeh Burgers with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. For more ideas see 10 New and Different Ways to Top Your Burgers for imaginative ideas and recipes.
Summer is time for fun and that includes fun food. Take advantage of all the summer produce available and use these tips to make your best veggie burgers ever!
Lead Image Source: Cauliflower Veggie Burgers