Grilling Season: Vegetarian Burgers

Contains:  Legumes, egg, nightshades.  Is:  Vegetarian, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free.  

Vegetarian, burgers, meat-free, black bean, spinach, egg, recipe

Vegetarian patties made from black beans, spinach, seasonings, and egg. Topped with mustard, and ready for lettuce wrapping.

And yes, you can optionally top this with cheese if you wish.  Or faux cheese, if you don’t do dairy.   And/or onion and tomato.  I’m simply going to use Dijon mustard (since we are no where near tomato season here – and I forgot about the onion slivers…).  Since I raise my own chicken eggs, I’m not going vegan in this recipe.  (There’s a surplus of those things here!!!)

Shortly after the Jack in the Box hit on ground meat back in the 90s, I went to vegetarian/vegan ground beef patties.  While they claimed to taste like meat, this seriously would be stretching a point.  I did like the black bean burgers (a bit) and the mushroom burgers (a bit), but I was not fond of them pretending to taste like ground beef.  Neither did, for one.  TBH, I don’t need veggie burgers to try to taste like “meat”… they simply need to taste GOOD.  So many veggies taste great to begin with, right?   Nor, eventually when I got around to reading the package list (which is why I gave them up), the extensive list of ingredients on the packaging that said Fake Food loud and clear.

vegetarian, recipe, meat-free, burger, black bean, egg, spinach

Mix it!

Today I understand there are some meat substitute burgers that taste like beef – haven’t run into them yet, but they seem to get good reviews.  And they have less ingredients than those old Gardenburgers have, only one real questionable one, actually.

Okay, so it (the Impossible Burger) presumably tastes like real meat… but it still has TVP in it.  “Textured” vegetable protein.  Hmmm…?  We surely could do better than this!

The thing is, as noted, I don’t really need meat substitute products to taste LIKE beef or the animal du jour.  I just want them to taste GOOD, so I can serve them happily to my vegetarian friends, and enjoy them myself as well.  Tasting just like a beef burger is of little interest to me.  There are so many great taste sensations out in the world, so go for the gusto!

recipe, burger, vegetarian, black bean, egg, meat-free, spinach

Cook It!

I am leaving egg as a binder in this – I’m raising up hens and their eggs here, after all.  So, this isn’t vegan.  While I do have vegan friends, they all live far enough distantly, that I am not likely to be entertaining them here – and if I do, I’ll find a great Indian subcontinent recipe or three and make a great non-egg, non-burger recipe or more,  instead.

SO – my challenge:

  1. Vegetarian, no dairy but egg is acceptable. (Whatever one tops the burger with is on anyone.)
  2. Gluten-free, preferably grain-free as well.
  3. Tasty but no obligation to taste like meat.  In fact, that would be a defect.
  4. Moist, not dry.  And not that rubbery “gardenburger” texture.
  5. Won’t collapse and break apart either through the grill grates or on the way to the table.
  6. No faux food such as TVP or worse.

I’ll state right now that I will be using lettuce wraps (even without being semi-Paleo, I really and simply don’t like those heavy buns to begin with, and if nothing else, I’m glad Paleo came along to give me an excuse to decline them), and that I don’t own a bottle of ketchup, and have no plans in the immediate future to change that.  (If I get a bunch of folk over for burgers, yes, I’ll supply those folks that condiment as well as buns – but that’s not what’s arriving up right now.)

vegetarian, black bean, spinach, egg, recipe, meat-free, burger, veggie

The one without the mustard was a little too flat, and a little too wide. This one crumbled, the other two held together much better.

Yes, veggie burgers will take longer to prep up than the beef ones… but it is worth it to do them right.

Essentially, the spinach and the black beans weigh the same, but that’s the size packages of these two items come in, hereabouts.  So, effectively – 1:1 the spinach and the black beans!!!

Prep Time: 20 minutes.
Cook Time: About 10 minutes.
Rest Time: No.
Serves: 4-6.
Cuisine: American / Tex-Mex.
Leftovers:  Best to save patties prior to cooking – seal well and refrigerate, up to 3 days.


Vegetarian Burgers: Black Beans and Spinach

  • 1 bag of frozen chopped spinach (16 oz / 1 lb / 455 grams).  Thaw, and thoroughly squeeze out all the water using a fine sieve / cheese cloth over sieve / by the handful.
  • 1 can of black beans (15.5 oz / 140 grams), drained. (Reserve drainage)
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • OPTIONAL:  1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (taste first)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 2 tablespoons reserved black bean drainage
  • 1 egg

Mash the black beans coarsely using a masher, or pulse a few times in your food processor.

Add spinach and beans together, along with the seasonings, and taste.  Adjust as necessary.  Add back the two tablespoons of the black bean drainage (discard the rest).

Mix, taste again.

Beat in the egg and mix well.

Form patties, making sure they hold together well.  These may still not hold together as well as beef patties, but they should work.  Do not make over-large, or too flat – definitely a bit thicker than your standard store bought burger patty, but not out to an inch (2.5 cm) either.

Either in a skillet or on a prepped grill – use a healthy vegetable oil for the skillet – add each patty.

You won’t be able to use tongs to flip them, use a spatula.  In the skillet, cook about 5 minutes per side, medium high.  On the grill, on the hotter side, flip them at about 4 minutes.  Gently!  If you don’t think the texture of yours will hold up, I won’t tell if you use a sheet of foil under them.  Anyhow, let them get a little brown on both sides.

Serve hot on a bun, in or on a lettuce wrap – or by themselves.  Top with mustard or whatever thing you like to top your burgers with.

They don’t taste a thing like meat, but they’ve got a great Tex Mex flavor!  I’d eat these over most people’s beef burgers.  And they’re satiating.

Verdict:  They hit 5 out of 6 of my above-listed requirements, and if one is careful, #5 can be handled.

veggie burger, egg, spinach, black bean, meat-free, recipe, vegetarian

Happily linking to:  Full Plate Thursday, Fiesta Friday, What’s for Dinner – Sunday Link Up, Homestead Blog Hop,





About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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12 Responses to Grilling Season: Vegetarian Burgers

  1. Wow Diann! These have such simple ingredients but look so delicious! I will make these using a vegan egg sub (I’m thinking flax or gram flour) and if I had black beans prepped I’d make them right now! I get you on the lettuce over bun thing – I put everything in lettuce! 🙂 Thanks for bringing these over to the Fiesta and thanks so much for co-hosting.

  2. I agree, they don’t need to taste like meat, just taste good!

  3. Miz Helen says:

    This looks like a great Veggie Burger recipe, I just love a good Veggie Burger! Hope you are having a good week and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

  4. Sunshine says:

    Those look pretty yummy! I like the taste of spinach cooked.

    We are vegan, so I’d need to play around with that aspect. Maybe a little flax gel or xanthan gum would help if I try to make these vegan.

    We are also gf and it’s hard to find recipes that don’t bind with bread crumbs.

    I will keep your lettuce wrap idea in mind. I don’t enjoy buns unless they’re home made, and since my son is gf, I don’t make those anymore. But lettuce is surprisingly good for a sandwich.

    Thank you for the recipe.

    • Yes, you could definitely experiment with flax or xanthan gum. I haven’t worked with either, so no suggestions, alas. And I am happy not to eat the buns – I hope your son enjoys these breadless, gluten-less burgers. Oh, if everything goes to plan this afternoon in the kitchen, I’ll be posting another couple gluten-free recipes next week on Friday, one of which will definitely be vegan.

  5. Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party.

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