Veggie Burger Number 1

August 28th, 2008

veggie burger number 1

Remember all the carved-out zucchini left over from my recipe for Orzo Stuffed Zucchini? I set it aside and created this yummy, hearty, healthy sandwich: Veggie Burger Number 1.

In my family we love zucchini in every form, and we make many different vegetarian patties for our sandwiches and burgers, but we had never tried making a burger out of zucchini. One day my husband said “Why can’t we have a zucchini patty?” He really inspired me and with the recipe I share here, it came out well constructed and super juicy.

One of the reasons most people don’t like veggie burgers is that they are often hard as a rock, glued together with faked meats made of over-processed proteins. I stay away from the fake stuff and use real beans and lentils! Potatoes also help bind a patty — no egg required! — while zucchini keeps them moist and delicious.

When we visited Portland, Oregon a few months ago, we ate at an amazing restaurant known for using locally sourced produce, The Farm Café. One night we showed up at The Farm all famished at 11 pm. I am usually suspicious of veggie burgers but their description sounded great on the menu. After walking across town all day and hitting a couple concerts in the neighborhood that night, I needed something solid! They call it The Farmhouse Veggie-Burger and it’s made with eggplants, onions, cheese, & spices. “Veggie burger” is a food that could be made of so many different things. These ingredients made the sandwich moist and delicious and spicy all at once. I filed away the memory to try and reproduce.

My mother is the expert on turning almost any vegetable or lentil into a delicious patty. The woman has magic touch when it comes to food. Taking inspiration from The Farm, my mom, and wanting to make something new and of course delicious for my zucchini-loving, dear husband, I ended up at Veggie Burger Number 1. This should be the first of many patty or burger recipes I share, and it’s a great place to start. Since the night I made these, I’ve tried replacing the zucchini with roasted eggplants and that came out great, too!

About the beans: I make variations of these beans for our regular bean & cheese quesadillas. They are spicy & delicious! You can tone down the spice if you’re not a fan of spicy food, but note then I cannot guarantee the taste ;)

It’s Labor Day in the States this weekend, a long weekend most Americans use for one last summer party. Pour a beer or drink of your choice, put a chair out in the lawn (if it’s not raining), make a delicious vegetarian burger, and enjoy the weekend outdoors!


I used:
1 can of plain black beans, rinsed and drained or dried beans, soaked & pressure cooked
approximately 1.5 cups of finely chopped zucchini — all the remaining carvings from my Orzo Stuffed Zucchini
1 medium potato, boiled & chopped
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
1 big garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika
fine bread crumbs of your choice (I had some home-made)
salt to taste
olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon of a Mexican hot sauce, I used the Frontera Habanero Hot Sauce from the Yucatan, or try 1/2 of a finely chopped jalapeño if in season
your favorite sandwich bread, grilled tomato, and cilantro garlic chutney for serving, and cheese if you prefer
My method:
1. Sauté the onion in 1 teaspoon of oil, till translucent and golden brown.
2. Add the garlic and zucchini, and cook till slightly soft.
3. Add the beans, all the spices including the hot sauce or jalapeño, and let it cook down on medium heat. Zucchini releases a lot of water, cook most of it off.
4. When everything is a bit tender and well cooked, mash it down.
5. Take it off the heat and mash in the boiled potato.
6. Let the combination cool for a few minutes, then form medium-sized patties by hand. If your patties don’t hold together well enough, add some bread crumbs to the mixture and try again.
7. Dip the patties in the bread crumbs to cover them all around. The breadcrumbs will stick because of the potato starch, so you never really need eggs.
8. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium high, & cook 2-4 patties (whatever you fit based on the size of your pan) till they are golden brown on each side.
9. Put them on a paper towel for a minute or two, to absorb any excess oil.
10. Serve on bread of your choice, with extras like lettuce & cheese or a fresh salad.

19 Responses to “Veggie Burger Number 1”

  1. Mythili says:

    I love the mug in one of your photos… and oh my the burgers look wicked!!

  2. Bring on the vegie burgers. We do something similar in Greek cooking except they are a smaller version and they almost always have feta cheese in them. Love the whole concept behind these (and why would you buy those “fake meat” burgers…yuk!)

  3. heidi says:

    These look fantastic ! Even the non-vegetarian in me wants to give this one a shot. Nice photos, Mo. As always….

  4. Matin says:

    I love veggie burgers but have never tried to make them at home, your recipe looks great:-)X M

  5. tulipchain says:

    Yowsa! That looks delicious!!

  6. your photos are so refreshing. Love all the sunshine there, its been pouring cats n dogs here for the past week. Veggie burgers … 2 thumbs up ! its been ages since i had one, and actually never tried them with zucchini. I’m sure they would make them moist inside. Have to give them a try now, or i would rather just have to make some for me :p

  7. jd says:

    That veggie burger looks incredible!And I love that it’s vegan, too! (Especially since I’ve had a really hard time finding yummy looking veg burgers without eggs…)Anyway, I’m glad to have found your blog – all of your pics are gorgeous!PS Yay for Portland! Isn’t it fantastic?

  8. Gorgeous pictures! I can’t wait to try the burgers out; thank you for the recipe!

  9. anudivya says:

    These look amazing! First time on ur blog, lovely pics and very cool recipes.

  10. Katie says:

    What a delightful recipe! And lovely, colourful photos as always.

  11. MPG says:

    Thank you all for your lovely comments and all the new readers for stumbling by :)jd – Yes, Portland rocks!

  12. Megan says:

    I followed your link from a topic on Serious Eats. This looks and sounds wonderful! I’ve experimented with homemade veggie burgers but haven’t come up with anything I really like. I’ve bookmarked your recipe and will definitely try these.

  13. Sophie says:

    Your veggie burgers look amazing! What a tasty recipe. The pictures are so delicious, too :)! We’d like to invite you to participate in our September apple and peach recipe contest (the recipe can be sweet or savory). All competitors will be eligible to win one of three prizes :)! Please email me,, if you’re interested. Feel free to check out our blog for more details: :),SophieKI Chief Blogger

  14. ziabaki says:

    Wow, what I want to know, where does everybody go to food photography school to learn to take pictures like that!! Holy Mole! Beautiful blog and love your posts, thank you. I love veggies burgers. Here is the link to one of my chickpea burgers I really love. me know any tips you can share with me.PeaceDana Zia

  15. Michelle says:

    Oh my gosh… I LOVE THEM!!!! Thank you!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Just made your veggies burgers, yummy! The best veggie burger recipe I've tried yet. Thank you!

  17. Joanna says:

    OMG! I'm so excited to make this- my mom accidently double planted zucchini (cucumbers mislabeled at the store grrh lol), and I'm in zucchini crisis mode! Seriously, the garden is spitting put 5 a day and it's only July!

  18. Susan says:

    I've made these several times now, and every time, they're a little different since I tend to substitute or add different veggies depending on what needs to be used up. The key mainstays have been zucchini, black beans, bread crumbs, and all the recommended spices. Great recipe with lots of flexibility. Thanks for sharing!