Practically Perfect Veggie Burger

After much trial and error, I want to share with you, a delicious veggie burger recipe.  By adding one fresh beet, health, flavor and color are well dispensed.  Tempeh is another must; it adds wonderful texture, as well as flavor.  Never have burgers disappeared so fast over one weekend.  These burgers were served over tri-color farfalla with a mushroom gravy.  What looks like mashed potatoes, to the right, is actually an easy recipe that I concocted about two years ago: steamed cauliflower mashed with chopped scallions and truffle oil.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.



1 medium beet or two small beets: wash, peel, dice or slice

4 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained

1/2 cup Coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound cremini, button or baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

Pinch kosher salt (or to your taste)

Pinch black pepper (or to your taste)

2 Pinches chili flakes (or to your taste)

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained

3/4 cup toasted (unsalted) cashews

1/3 cup panko

2 ounces Queso blanco cheese, crumbled or grated (about 1/2 cup)

2 large eggs

2 Tablespoons Kraft mayonnaise

2 scallions, sliced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus 1 more squeezed

3/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

4 ounces tempeh, crumbled

1/2 cup cooked brown rice



1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

2.  In a medium to large bowl, put the oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes, 1 squeezed garlic clove and mix together.  Set aside

3. Slice tofu into 1/4-inch-thick slabs and pat dry with paper towel. Then put into the bowl with oil and seasoning.

4. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment and with a slotted spoon, remove the tofu and place on one side of the baking sheet.

5. Clean mushrooms, then slice them and put into the bowl with oil.

6.With a slotted spoon, remove mushrooms and put them on the other half of the baking sheet.


Going into the oven.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


7. Toss the beans in the bowl of oil and seasonings, then with slotted spoon, remove the beans and put on one side of the second rimmed baking sheet.

8. Put the sliced or diced beet into the bowl of seasoned oil, then remove the beets and put on the other half of the rimmed baking sheet.


Going into the oven.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


9. Put both baking sheets into the oven. Roast the beans and beets until the beans start splitting. By this time, the beets should be tender. This should take about 15 minutes. Roast  the baking sheet with mushrooms and tofu until the tofu is golden.  This should take about 25 minutes. Remove sheets from oven: 1 after 15 minutes, the other after 25 minutes; then let everything cool.

10. Meanwhile, put nuts in food processor.  Pulse until coarsely ground. Next add the beans and beets and pulse.  Next the mushrooms and tofu and pulse.  At any time, when the food processor is filled, and contents have been pulsed, take a spatula and scrape all contents into a large mixing bowl.

11. Next, add to food processor the panko, cheese, eggs, mayonnaise, scallion, 4 garlic cloves, paprika, chili flakes. Pulse until ingredients are just combined. Pulse in the tempeh and rice but do not over-process. You want small chunks, not a smooth mixture. You do NOT want a smooth paste, because you want the burgers to have texture to chew down on.


One of many batches in food processor.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


Another batch getting pulsed.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


This recipe doesn’t work without a food processor.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


Nearly done.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


12. After everything has been pulsed, scrape it all into that large mixing bowl and chill in fridge, overnight.  The burgers will cook better the next day, if you have chilled them overnight.


Be sure to mix everything together very well.  Do not use electric beaters for this step of the recipe.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


13. When you are ready to make the burgers, divide mixture into 6 equal portions which yields large burgers.  I’ve made these many times and now prefer a slightly smaller size.  You decide the size you want and form each portion into a patty about 1 inch thick. Return to the fridge until just before grilling. They cook better when they start out cold.  I have never baked the burgers, but am betting they would be very good; also tasty, if grilled.

14. Cook the burgers in a skillet, over a high flame, until they are charred on both sides.  Then lower the flame and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, over low heat.  You want these burgers to be crispy on the outside.


Before chilling overnight in fridge, the mixture should look like this, or close to it.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


Cooking the burgers – you want them to be crispy on the outside.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


15 That’s it!  Use your imagination and serve these veggie burgers any way you want.  In a bun or without.  With ketchup or with your own sauce.  For one meal, I made a mushroom gravy.  On another day, I made a yogurt garlic sauce, and served the burgers with fresh sliced tomatoes and avocados.  I haven’t tried a mustard sauce, but am thinking about doing that.


Out of the pan and onto the table.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


You could add a bun, onion rings, ketchup, etc.  Your choice.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


A delicious dinner: burgers, farfalle, mushroom gravy. mashed cauliflower with truffle oil and a crunchy garden salad.  Not to mention a delicious Shiraz.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


Definitely worth snacking on.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.


We’re drinking another Henschke (Australia) Shiraz, which went well with the burgers.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.



From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!



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