2 Awesome Homemade Vegetarian Burgers Even a Carnivore Will Crave

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[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Vegans and vegetarians often get the short end of the stick when it comes to backyard grilling season. Sure, there are a couple of decent frozen veggie burger brands, but let's face it: Frozen pre-packaged food is never going to be as good as fresh, homemade food prepared with quality ingredients. Here are two recipes for burger patties that aren't just my favorite vegetarian and vegan burgers, they're two of my favorite recipes, period.

Really Awesome Black Bean Burgers

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If there's one vegetarian burger patty that'll convince you of how delicious they can be, my Really Awesome Black Bean Burger is the one. I've received more positive feedback and fan letters about this one than any other burger recipe I've ever done, including those made with beef. It's just that tasty.

The trick is to start with cooked black beans that you've dehydrated with a short spell in the oven. The dehydrated beans attain a meaty texture and intense flavor that prevents the burgers from developing the mushiness of other bean-based burger recipes. Chipotle and poblano chilies, onions, and garlic add flavor, cashews deliver a bit of crunch, and a touch of mayonnaise and crumbled feta cheese add richness and moisture. That said, it's the technique that's key here, and the flavors can be adapted to nearly anything you'd like.

Get the recipe for Really Awesome Black Bean Burgers here. »

Vegan Burgers That Don't Suck

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What's the secret to making 100% vegan burgers that don't turn to mush between the bun and boast a complex, satisfying flavor? I start by cooking several different vegetables down to reduce their water content and intensify their flavors—leeks, celery, garlic, and roasted mushrooms. Next, I fold in some eggplant that I've roasted until completely soft in order to help keep the burgers nice and moist as they cook. Pearled barley, chopped garbanzo beans, and cashew nuts add texture. Finally, a shot of marmite and soy sauce bring some umami punch to the mix.

Get the recipe for Homemade Vegan Burgers That Don't Suck here. »