Ultimate Veggie Burger

The ultimate veggie burger recipe made with a secret trick, garbanzo beans, cilantro, onions, lemon zest, eggs, and bread crumbs.

Ultimate Veggie Burger

This is my go-to veggie burger recipe, and there is a secret involved. Here's the deal. I've been making these veggie burgers for years. It's a great base recipe, and you can tweak the patties with different seasonings and toppings, based on what you have on hand. I posted them on 101 Cookbooks first in 2007, after including them in Super Natural Cooking.
Ultimate Veggie Burger Recipe

The Secret to a Great Veggie Burger

Here's the trick - no bun. I'm going to argue that when you put a bean or lentil patty on a bun, you run the risk of building a burger that is too dry and bready. The ratio is all out of whack, with not enough ooey-gooeyness to balance the bread and mashed beans. It wasn't until I sat down to write this recipe for the book that I had the revelation I needed: Turn the patty into the bun and stuff that with all sorts of good stuff. Problem solved. Ultimate Veggie Burger Recipe

Veggie Burger Recipe Variations

The other thing I've learned after making these for years, is that they're easily adaptable for any friends who avoid gluten. In place of the breadcrumbs called for in the recipe, replace with puffed quinoa cereal. Or puffed rice cereal. Or rolled oats. Or gluten-free bread crumbs. I bet cooked rice would even work.

Streamlining the Process

In the years since writing the original recipe, I've had a few revelations related to streamlining (the already simple) recipe. I'm updating the recipe below with those tweaks down below.Ultimate Veggie Burger Recipe

Filling Ideas for Your Next round of Veggie Burgers

  • Avocado Slices
  • Cipollini onions - sweet and just the right size
  • Sliced Roma tomatoes
  • A sprinkling of smoked paprika
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Salted yogurt

And if you’re looking for a side situation for these burgers, take a look at this coleslaw, or this macaroni salad. They’re also A-plus with a dollop of great, homemade guacamole slathered on top. These oven fries are always a big hit as well. And, on the sandwich front, I love these tofu burgers, and this chickpea salad sandwich.

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Ultimate Veggie Burger Recipe

4.5 from 20 votes

These make great do-ahead meals, and you can store shaped, ready-to-cook patties in the refrigerator for a week's worth of work lunches. I sometimes use sprouted chickpeas, and they are becoming more readily available. But if you can't find them, canned or cooked chickpeas will work great. Sprouting boosts their already fantastic nutritional value even more. Also, for any friends who avoid gluten, in place of the breadcrumbs called for in the recipe, replace with puffed quinoa cereal. And if you're grilling, you can cook these on a small griddle.

  • 2 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Grated zest of one large lemon
  • 1 cup micro sprouts, chopped (try broccoli, onion, or alfalfa sprouts), optional
  • 1 cup toasted whole-grain bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or clarified butter)
Make the Veggie Burgers
  1. If you are using sprouted garbanzos, steam them until just tender, about 10 minutes. Most of you will be using canned beans, so jump right in. Pulse the onions a few times in a food processor. Add the garbanzos, eggs, and salt. Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a very thick, slightly chunky hummus. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, zest, and sprouts. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a moist mixture that you can easily form into twelve 1 1/2-inch-thick patties, or six larger patties. I err on the moist side here, because it makes for a nicely textured burger. You can always add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if need be. Conversely, a bit of water or more egg can be used to moisten the batter.
Cook and Serve
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes. Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Carefully cut each patty in half, insert your favorite fillings, and enjoy immediately.
Prep Time
7 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
27 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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I picked up your book on Friday and haven’t put it down all weekend. Thank you for creating an honest book on natural cooking.


Hey Heidi, I made your Big tasty Quinoa bowl the other week and have been raving to everyone about it – I love quinoa but am still learning best ways to cook it, so this recipe was perfect.
I’m a vegan, but would love to try these burgers – do you think egg substitute would do or should I try something else?


I just picked up the cookbook last night. It’s beautiful. The recipes look great, but it offers so much more than that. Thanks for such a beautiful book!


i ran into borders yesterday (long beach, ca) and as i was browsing the food section i saw your cookbook and i had to buy it. it is great and i can’t wait to start cooking out of it. i love the design, size and layout. very easy to follow instructions and a good size to lug around. congratulations!


i will check out your book!


Bought this at the Powell’s books for cooks store in Portland Oregon, I got the last copy from the “featured” section. I sell specialty foods to restaurants (like several colors of quinoa for example) and it’s nice to see these foods treated as everyday nutritional goodness instead of “specialty.” Thank you!

Jen O.

Saw it today at my fave Vancouver bookstore, Duthie’s Books. It’s lovely,and I’ll be making the lentil soup with squash and tomatoes to try and combat our chilly spring rains.


Hi there! I’ll be buying it at Powells Books here in sunny (!) Portland, Oregon, where it is in stores in 4 locations and on Powells.com! I can’t wait!


I marched out at lunchtime and purchased your book. I am so excited, it is gorgeous and I can hardly wait to delve in to cook from it. The photos alone made for a nice lunch time companion. After first finding Cook 1.0 in the library, shortly after that buying my own and then using it to death, I am grateful you have continued the cookbook odyssey!


Veggie burgers are a staple in our house, so I’ll be looking forward to trying these soon!
Congrats on your cookbook and thanks for sharing your inspired recipes and photos (love-love-love them!!!) with all of us. They are truly works of art.

Sarah Mac

Congratulations on seeing your book out in the real world!!! How exciting!!!
I really like your veggie burger, what a great concept, and the picture looks incredible.
All the best,

Monika Korngut

I LOVE nest. I had forgotten I hadn’t been there in a while. Thanks for reminding me of it and congratulations once again. You don’t need me to tell you how great your book is, I am sure you must already know it.
thank you thank you


Congrats on the book release!


Your veggie burger was awesome!!


Just ordered my copy yesterday! I can’t wait to get my hands on it…
Congratulations, Heidi! You must be on top of the world.


Congratulations! You’re book is lovely. Thank you for sharing your creativity with us. I received the book via mail from Amazon last week and have tried several recipes. I love the crunchy white beans and the espresso banana muffins. Can’t wait to try more!


I made these veggie burgers for dinner tonight–huge hit. Served them with a big platter of avocado, roasted veggies, sprouts so folks could create their own masterpieces. Great recipe and clear instructions. Thanks!


Congratulations, Heidi! The book is beautiful.
This reminds me of a “rice burger” that is served in a popular fast food chain in Japan. The bun is made out of pressed together rice, with some sort of glaze if I remember correctly. Yummy. I must try this one as well. Thanks.


Hooray hooray hooray! It’s beautiful and I can’t wait to own it. Congratulations.

RookieMom Heather

That is pretty amazing, I saw your book too in a shop near me. I am not a vegetarian but some of my family members are and this veggie burger might be a great idea on July 4th. Thanks!


congrats on the book! I’m so looking forward to checking it out! best wishes to you!


sounds delicious – i just saw sprouted chickpeas yesterday – and funnily enough i just ate a yummy sandwich on whole grain w/ tandoori quorn i made (do you use quorn heidi?) w/ roma, avo and melted jack, mayo and cholula… mmm!
can’t wait to get your book heidi! and congrats!


Oh, that must be such a great feeling and something you take with you, no matter what. Congratulations on the book – looking forward to reading it, and more importantly, cooking from it!


Heidi– I was just on vacation in Colorado and saw your cookbook on sale at a shop in Boulder. Congrats!


First time here and oh my- that looks delicious. I love the photo and what a great idea to turn the patty into the bun. I can’t wait to try this, as well as look for your book.


This is really similar to falafel patties. Just bigger and burger shaped. The combimnation of garbonzo’s and cilantro – fried together is a winner. 🙂

Little wave

That’s so funny, because I bought your book at Nest last week… I was so excited to see it… and even picked up some Moroccan glasses while I was at it! I love that store. The book is gorgeous – well done!

Jennifer Jeffrey

Congratulations, it must be such a thrill to walk into a store and see your own book- kind of like looking at your new baby through the nursery window! Your veggie burger even made my meat-loving husband lick his chops!

Deborah Dowd

Heidi, I know how fun it is to see something you’ve worked SO hard on out in public for everyone to see…my poor husband still has to listen to my “go me!” cheers when I see one of my ad campaigns published! Congrats, and I can’t wait to get my hands on your book.


Congratulations on the book release Heidi!! Thats Wonderful!! I am going to find out about its availability here at our local Borders Bookshop. That burger looks like a spring garden, so pretty 🙂


Congratulations Heidi — after all the hard work I know you put into it, it’s got to be gratifying to see your brainchild on real store shelves. I know I’ll be looking out for it at my local bookstores!


If I could find a veggie burger here, like this one – I would be eating one every day – twice a day! Looks delcious. Congrats on your new book!


I’ve waited a long time for this, and can’t WAIT to cook something from it! Woo-hoo!


I just received your cookbook in the mail yesterday, and it was the HIGHLIGHT of my day. I made your wheatberry salad last night, and tonight I’m planning on making the spring vegetable minestrone. I absolutely love it, it is so beautiful… thanks for making healthy foods look so glamorous!


Oh! Congrats to you about your book. I know your blog has been keeping me drooling, er, reading for some time. I’m sure the book will do the same!


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