The best vegan burger loaded with flavor and suitable for the grill or stovetop. Hearty and satisfying with a delicious texture.
This vegan burger recipe is seriously the best ever.
My mother and her non-vegan partner were here for a visit while we were testing these burgers on the grill and he was raving about them.
He said they were the best burgers he’s had, and this was from a card carrying carnivore my friends! He was also raving about our vegan nacho cheese, basically he was a happy dude with the food offerings around these parts.
Anyway I have to agree, these vegan burgers are amazing.
They are meaty, but don’t worry you would never mistake them for actual meat. But they are nice and fat, super hearty and filling, with a mix of spices that creates that wonderful BBQ flavor.
We did also baste them with vegan BBQ sauce, so there’s that. But I don’t think that’s cheating.
How To Make Vegan Burgers
You will find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. This is a summary of the process to go along with the process photos.
- Add walnuts to the food processor and process until crumbly. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add chickpeas, soy sauce and tomato paste to the food processor and process until well mixed. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the chopped walnuts.
- Add vegan mayonnaise, hoisin sauce, dijon mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, ground black pepper, smoked paprika and liquid smoke to the mixing bowl.
- Add cooked couscous and vital wheat gluten.
- Stir until slightly mixed and then get in there with your hands and form it into a big ball and knead it 20-30 times so that the vital wheat gluten can activate.
- Divide the burger mix into four sections and form each section into a burger shape. You can form them into a burger shape with your hands or by patting it down into a round cutter to make a flat round patty shape.
- Heat olive oil in a pan and when hot, add the burgers. Brush on vegan BBQ sauce as they cook.
Fry or Grill
We tested them in the pan and on the grill and both ways are super fabulous.
So whatever suits!
If you’re frying them in the pan then fry them in olive oil – and baste them with a bit of vegan BBQ sauce – and they come out wonderfully.
If you’re grilling them on the barbecue then make sure your grill is oiled a little. This ensures that the grill doesn’t stick to your burgers.
As long as you’ve done that, you can get a perfect grilled vegan burger. And you definitely still want to put on some vegan BBQ sauce.
The Perfect Texture
The texture of these burgers comes from walnuts, chickpeas, couscous and some vital wheat gluten to hold it all together.
I decided to use couscous because it’s so easy to make and cooking the couscous doesn’t add any extra time to making these burgers. While you’re preparing your other ingredients, you just have your couscous soaking in some hot water and then it’s ready!
Whereas if you use something like brown rice or quinoa you are going to have to spend some time cooking it first.
However, if you want to try this vegan burger with brown rice or quinoa you could give it a go. I have not tested it like that though so can’t be sure of the results.
How To Make Couscous
The best way I’ve found to make couscous is just to put equal amounts of couscous and boiling water in a bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave for a few minutes. Then fluff with a fork. Done!
What About Gluten Free?
I don’t know how this vegan burger recipe could be adapted to gluten free, it wasn’t my focus with this recipe as I wanted to use vital wheat gluten because of the great texture it creates.
If you want to experiment then a version with quinoa rather than couscous and gluten-free all purpose flour is probably what I would try as a first go, but just know I haven’t tested it like that and it would be a total experiment.
For other burger recipes that could more easily adapt to gluten-free check out our vegan black bean burgers and vegan chickpea burgers.
If you want to serve your burger with some fries then our baked potato fries are a winner.
A side salad like a vegan Greek salad or vegan chickpea salad would also go great, as would our vegan coleslaw.
We’ve topped our burger with some vegan thousand island dressing but other great options are vegan aioli or vegan yum yum sauce.
It’s also wonderful topped with vegan nacho cheese or vegan queso.
Storing and Freezing
Leftovers keep very well in the fridge and can be enjoyed over the next 3-4 days. You can reheat them in the frying pan or in the microwave.
You can freeze them cooked or uncooked for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat, or just cook them directly from frozen.
More Vegan Burger Recipes
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and rating below!
- 1 cup Walnuts (100g)
- 1 cup Chickpeas (164g) canned, drained well
- 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 Tablespoon Vegan Mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Hoisin Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 cup Cooked Couscous (157g) Packed cup
- ½ cup Vital Wheat Gluten (75g)
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan BBQ Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Hamburger Buns
- Sliced Tomato
- Sliced Pickles
- Sliced Avocado
- Sliced Red Onion
- Vegan Thousand Island Dressing Optional
- Add the walnuts to the food processor and process until crumbly. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add the chickpeas to the food processor with the soy sauce and tomato paste. Process until well mixed in. You might have to stop a couple of times to scrape down the sides and start it up again before it will start to mix properly. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the crushed walnuts.
- Add the vegan mayonnaise, hoisin sauce, dijon mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, ground black pepper, smoked paprika and liquid smoke to the mixing bowl .
- Add in the cooked couscous and the vital wheat gluten and stir until slightly mixed. Then get in there with your hands and form it into a big ball and knead it about 20-30 times so that the wheat gluten can activate properly. You don't have to worry about the wheat gluten being over-kneaded and causing them to be too tough because there is not a lot of wheat gluten used, so over-kneading is not too much of a worry here.
- Divide into four sections and then either form each section into a burger shape with your hands or pat it down into a round cutter to make a nice flat patty shape.
- Add the olive oil to a frying pan and then add in the burgers, brushing vegan BBQ sauce onto the tops of the burgers. Fry for 5 minutes on medium high heat and then flip them and brush BBQ sauce onto the other side. For best results don't flip the burgers more than this, burgers hold up best when flipped as little as possible, so ensure the pan isn't so hot that they burn.
- If you're cooking on the grill then make sure the grill is lightly oiled so the burgers won't stick. Brush the burgers with BBQ sauce and then grill on one side for 5 minutes and then the other for 5 minutes. The timing can be a little different on the grill so you can also just play it by ear. They're ready when they are nicely browned on both sides.
- Serve on hamburger buns with lettuce, sliced tomato, pickles, avocado, red onion and vegan thousand island dressing.
- Couscous. The couscous should be packed into the cup very well, 157g is the standard cup measure for a cup of cooked couscous and this is for a very packed cup. So pack it into the cup, press it down with a spoon and then pack in some more. Or simply weigh it out on a food scale.
- Olive oil. If you’re frying the burgers in a pan then use 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. However, if you’re doing them on the grill then just make sure the grill is lightly greased so it won’t stick to your burgers.
- Storing: Leftovers keep very well in the fridge and can be enjoyed over the next 3-4 days. You can reheat them in the frying pan or in the microwave.
- Freezing: You can freeze them cooked or uncooked for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat, or just cook them directly from frozen.
- Nutritional information is for burger patties only (including olive oil for frying and BBQ sauce for basting) and excludes hamburger buns and everything else that the burgers are served with.
I followed the recipe precisely and these turned out really well. My partner is a former meat-eater turned vegan and I’m a life-long vegetarian who’s never eaten meat and is completely put off by ‘fake meat’ so I’m always keen to find burger recipes that will please us both and hold together well! I really like that this is primarily made of nuts and legumes but the vital wheat gluten adds just the right amount of firmness. We got 6 burgers out of this batch so have 4 in the freezer to enjoy at a later date. I’m already planning to make these for our first camping trip of next Spring – I think they’ll be even better cooked on a grill. Thanks for a recipe that is every bit as good as it looks!
Alison Andrews says
So happy you enjoyed it Sarah!