Formula Meals: Veggie Burgers | Food Confidence

Formula Meals

Formula Meals: Veggie Burgers

As an integrative dietitian and empowerment coach with 20+ years of experience, my main goal is to help women age well, feel confident in their bodies, and create the healthy lifestyle they desire and deserve.
danielle omar

I’m all about simple recipes that are quick, delicious, and hard to mess up. That’s why most of my favorite recipes are formula meals – ones that don’t require an exact recipe, but rather a general formula that allows you to mix & match ingredients to make a meal!


I’ve created formulas for roasted vegetables, stir fries, power salads, and more – and next on my list is a family favorite: veggie burgers.

Whenever I’m eating out, if there’s a house-made veggie burger on the menu, I’m usually going to try it. I love the beet-based kind for that “meaty” flavor and color. This Houston’s copycat veggie burger is an obsession at my house! 

I know for some, making a homemade veggie burger can sound a little bit intimidating, but this formula for veggie burgers simplifies the whole process! Not only does having a formula make your life a little bit easier, but it also means endless possibilities. The sky is the limit as far as flavor, texture, and nutrients go!

Plus, veggie burgers freeze exceptionally well so this is a great option if you’re looking to batch cook on a Sunday afternoon. Just pull them out of the freezer on a crazy Tuesday evening for dinner. You can check out my storage tips here!

[Tweet “Tired of store-bought veggie burgers? Make your own! Here’s the formula: #formulameals”]

Here’s my veggie burger formula:

½ cup allium vegetables: Onions, garlic, and scallions are a crucial ingredient for a yummy veggie burger. They add a ton of flavor but they also offer a whole lot of nutritional benefits! These allium vegetables are full of antioxidants, help facilitate detoxification, support the body’s natural immune responses, and help decrease inflammation in the body. A great place to start is ½ cup chopped onion and 1 minced garlic clove.

2 cups diced veggies: Feel free to mix and match and use your favorite vegetables because pretty much anything goes here. Need some suggestions to get started? Grated carrots or beets, diced celery or bell peppers, minced spicy peppers, diced mushrooms, chopped kale or spinach, grilled corn, mashed butternut squash or sweet potatoes.

3-4 teaspoons spice Add up to 4 tsp of your favorite spices. After you add about a teaspoon of sea salt, I recommend combining at least 2-3 of your favorite spices, but you can add as many as you want. It totally depends on the flavor profile you’re going for! If you need a place to start, here are some suggestions: paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, curry powder, turmeric, etc. If your beans are cooked from dried instead of canned, add an extra ½ tsp of sea salt. 

1-2 tablespoons Olive oil: Use a few teaspoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to saute your onions, garlic, and veggies until soft. You’ll also need olive oil to saute the patties later. 

3-4 tablespoons sauce for flavor:  Sauces ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, sriracha sauce, teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire, buffalo sauce, balsamic vinegar, salsa, tomato sauce, etc. Start with 3 tablespoons and add a 4th if your mixture is on the dry side.

1, 15 oz. can of beans: Any beans will work here! Black beans are my favorite, but you can substitute any bean. Lentils, kidney beans and pinto beans work really well. Chickpeas can work, but tend to be a little bit dry so you might need to add a bit more sauce to the mixture.  Alternatively, you can make a fresh batch from dried beans vs using canned, just measure out 1 ½ cups of cooked beans.

1 cup dry, binder ingredient: Almost any dry ingredient will go here! Great options are quick oats, buckwheat, or bread crumbs. Prepared quinoa or rice will also work if you’re looking for a creative way to get rid of last night’s leftovers! Corn or almond meal also works really well if you’re avoiding gluten.

1/2 cup textured mix-in: Craving a little crunch in your veggie burger? My favorite way to add a little texture (and an extra punch of nutrients) is to add chopped nuts or seeds! Walnuts, pepitas and pine nuts tend to work really well. Other options include chopped olives, capers, or sundried tomatoes.

Toppings: Toppings can make all the difference! Add cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce, avocado, mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc. to take your veggie burger to the next level!

How to Cook Them:

  1. Heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil to a pan over medium heat. Saute the allium veggies and other veggies until softened and fragrant. This should only take a few minutes!
  2. Transfer the veggies to a food processor and pulse with the beans, dry and liquid seasonings until just combined. Don’t over mix! You still want the mixture to be a little bit chunky.
  3. Pulse in the dry binder and texture ingredients until just combined. Again, just be careful and don’t over mix!
  4. Form into balls using a quarter cup measuring cup to make uniform burgers and gently flatten them into patties.
  5. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat and fry the burgers for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are golden brown and completed heated through.

Looking for some Veggie Burger inspiration?

Buffalo Chickpea Quinoa Burgers with “Blue Cheese” Dressing

Beet Walnut Burger

Black Bean and Pumpkin Veggie Burgers

Edamame Ancient Grain Veggie Burgers (Vegan)

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