The beet burger

The Beet Burger

My favorite thing about this beet burger is that's it's bright red. It also happens to be pretty delicious, but the color is really awesome.


The Beet Burger

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I think this recipe wins the award for me getting the most crap about a dish. Turns out that if you bring a delicious homemade vegetarian burger to a BBQ, people will make fun of you.

I mean it was relentless! People ate them and agreed that they were interesting and tasty, but then they proceeded to mock me for the rest of the night.

Which is fine by me. Next time I’m just going to mix up a batch of these and just eat them in my house by myself. That’s somehow better right?

Anyway, the point is that if you can find a forgiving BBQ or just want a change, these burgers are pretty darn good.

Beet Burgers

10-12 burgers
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The beet burger
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My favorite thing about this beet burger is that’s it’s bright red. It also happens to be pretty delicious, but the color is really awesome.

Adapted from a Kitchn Recipe.


1 Cup cooked brown rice (1/2 Cup dry)
1 onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced with seeds removed
3 large red beets, diced small
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar (I left this out because I didn't have any, but I think it would work well)
3 Tablespoons parsley, minced
1 Teaspoon coriander
2 Teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 Cup - 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Normal burger stuff like buns, cheese (provolone or Gruyere work nicely), toppings.


1) Get a pot of water boiling and add 1/2 Cup of brown rice along with a pinch of salt.  Boil until rice is slightly overcooked but not mushy, about 35-40 minutes.  Strain the rice when done.

2) Peel and dice the beets into 1/4 inch cubes.  Seed the poblano pepper and dice small along with the onion.  Mince the garlic.

3) In a large pot, add a Tablespoon of oil and put it over medium high heat.  Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

4) Add the beets to the onion mixture, cover, and cook until the beets are soft over medium heat.  They should be done in 15-20 minutes.  Stir in the cider vinegar near the end.

5) Combine the beet mixture with the rice and drained beans and mush everything together.  Add the spices and taste for salt and pepper.

6) Cook the burgers by shaping them into patties and adding them to a very hot oiled skillet.  They should sizzle.  Flip them after a few minutes.  Add cheese once you flip it.  If you cover the pan with a lid (or plate) the cheese will melt faster.

7) Serve with a toasted bun and whatever toppings you want!

The Beets Mixture

One of the problems that some veggies burgers have is that they can be a bit mushy. These guys definitely don’t have that problem. The rice, beans, and beets give a really great texture to the burger that almost gives it kind of a meaty feel and a really nice deep flavor.

beets and onions
Basic stuff.

The beet base for these burgers is really easy. The hardest part is just chopping up all the stuff. Be especially aware of what you’re wearing when you’re dicing the beets. HINT: Wearing white is a recipe for disaster.

Dice up the poblano peppers (take the seeds out), onions, and beets into pretty small cubes. I diced them into about 1/4 inch cubes.

chopped stuff
Good chopping practice!

Next, add a Tablespoon or so of olive oil to a large pot and put it over medium-high heat. Then add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook them until the onions are translucent which should take about 4 minutes. Then stir in the beets, cover the dish and cook until the beets are soft. Stir the dish every few minutes until it’s done just to make sure nothing burns. It’ll probably take about 15-20 minutes for the beets to cook.

Stir in the cider vinegar near the end and set the bright red mixture aside.

While you’re working on the beet mix, get a large pot of water boiling separately and add a good pinch of salt to it along with 1/2 Cup of rice. Boil the brown rice until it’s a bit beyond cooked. It’ll make it easier to mush and form later.

It’s not important how much water you use when boiling the rice in this case. Just cook it until it’s the right consistency and then drain it using a strainer.

rice cooked
Rice is a burger works nicely.

Combine the rice with the black beans (I just used canned) and mush them together a little bit.

beans and rice
In a bowl!

Then add all of the beet mixture along with the spices.

The original recipe called for a few Tablespoons of flour to help thicken the mixture, but mine was pretty wet when I was done and so I added a bit more flour. The burger mix should be shapeable obviously so just add flour in small increments and try forming a patty out of it. It’ll be pretty delicate (or at least mine was) but it should stick loosely together.

This was what my final mix looked like. Don’t forget to taste it and add some salt, pepper, or any of the other spices if it seems under-seasoned.

beet mixture
All mixed up!

Cooking the Burgers

While it’s nice to fire up a grill and cook these guys, they are actually really hard to cook on the grill. I was able to do it by spraying the grill with some non-stick spray and grilling them on high heat for just a few minutes a side. It was pretty touch and go though.

I think the real way to cook these guys is in a heavy pan. You don’t need anything special. Just your largest skillet should do the trick. Add a tiny amount of oil to it and crank up the heat to high. Then form your burgers and add them straight to the pan. They should sizzle!

Cook them for a few minutes a side until they are nice and browned on the outside. Obviously these are cooked already so you just want to give them some texture. Mine cooked beautifully in a pan and it was a lot easier than the grill.

cooking burgers
You can try the grill if you’re advanced.

If you’re using cheese (probably should) then just add it when you flip the burger. If you cover the pan the cheese will get really melted.

Then add a burger to a toasted bun and chow down!

Bright red!

I thought these were awesome and ate a few of them. The beet mixture keeps great in the fridge for a week or so. It would be totally acceptable to have some on hand and cook up a burger when the mood struck you.

Of course, you wouldn’t want to tell anybody about it because they would ridicule you.

Whatever though. I don’t mind suffering through a few snide comments if it means I get to eat this burger. It might not be for everybody, but there’s no doubt that I’d choose this over a normal veggie burger and probably on many occasions over a real burger.

If you refuse to at least try something like this then the joke’s on you suckers!

33 Responses to “The Beet Burger” Leave a comment

  1. Earlier this summer I took this awesome beet & potato salad (with a mustard vinaigrette dressing) to a BBQ and all of my friends made fun of me. But then the ones that actually ate it loved it, and before the next BBQ one of those same mocking friends of mine requested that I bring the beet salad again.

    At the risk of becoming the beet girl, I'll be bringing these burgers to our next BBQ. Can't wait to try them. Thanks!

  2. That is super interesting. I have a couple of beets lying around and I had no idea what to do with them. This looks like the perfect solution. Thanks.

  3. Heads up, these were great burgers. Nick did an amazing job (with the burger and the teasing) but you have to eat them carefully or else you might end up with a pink-red beet burger stain. By far though the best moment was when a rather drunk guest said: I don't see what the big deal is about a beef burger…

  4. Let me guess, you're not a real man because you chose to eat a vegetable? That's usually what men say to male vegetarians. My boyfriend counters by pointing out how fat the joker is, but that's pretty mean. I don't know, that's just rude, I'd be really impressed and grateful if you brought this to my BBQ.

  5. Oh how I know that comments! I´m a vegetarien for all my life and people ALWAYS make fun of my food. And all that even if they all happy that I´m not giving them crab about them eating meat. pah! When they try my vegi stuff , they love it and want me to make it for them again and still mock me. I´m sick of it to, but try to be the better person.

  6. I think I'm in love with you. I haven't made these yet but I'm going to the Farmer's Market tomorrow and I already know that I'll be getting whatever I need to make these.

    I tend to be underwhelmed with the veggie burgers but none of them contained beets which are one of my favorite foods.

  7. I made these tonight. They tasted really great. Just a few quick tips:

    1. If you cut the beets too small, you end up with something more akin to Beet Sloppy Joes. It was still good, but I wish I had but the beets a little bit bigger, as per Nick's instructions here.

    2. Don't add any more spice to it than the recipe calls for. I added some chipotle peppers to it, because I thought the smoky flavor might be good, but it was a mistake, and took away from the flavor altogether.

    3. I'm really looking forward to the leftovers for this- seems like it's going to save really well, and there are lots of good options for it.

  8. This is the best veggie burger I've ever made. My husband is always very skeptical of me when I cook things like "kale chips" and "zucchini pasta" but even he gave this two HUGE thumbs up.

  9. My husband made this tonight and actually did them on the grill! The trick is to put foil underneath so that they don't sink through the gaps. We topped them with Daiya cheese (vegan) and steamed spinach. Just awesome!

  10. These sound so good – Can you freeze the patties? I want to make them but i live alone and can't eat 6 burgers, just wondering if you can wrap them up and freeze and take them out as you need them.?

  11. These taste amazing, are healthy, cheap, and freeze perfectly for a veggie burger whenever I want one! I love em. Thanks for the great recipe!

  12. I made these this week to go along with some regular burgers I was cooking for a small crowd. I spread a nice layer of goat cheese on the toasted bun and topped it all off with arugula. It was very tasty and I’ll be happy to eat the extra patties I froze for another day. But I found myself wondering what the point was. I’d be just as happy eating this mix as a salad without the bun (as I did for lunch yesterday with some leftovers). You could argue that it gives vegetarians an option to grill, but you can’t grill these, they were much too tender and fragile (though they cooked really well in the frying pan). I guess that for me, the bun didn’t add anything.

  13. I’m really excited to finally try these! Any idea what other sorts of toppings might suit them well (besides cheese)? Pickles? Avocado? Sprouts? Ketchup & mustard?

    1. So I wanted to follow-up with my experiences. I was determined to grill these guys since I’m on the hunt to find a good vegan burger to bring to cook-outs. The method that worked best for us was to spray aluminum foil with cooking spray and put that over the grill. As long as you form the patties well and make them kind of thin, they will grill just fine. I used arrowroot powder along with flour as a thickener, since I ended up needing a LOT.

      1. Thinking a cast iron pan on the grill would work well. Has anyone tried canned beets instead of fresh for a quick (and cleaner) method?

  14. So… when does the lemon juice go in? Along with the cider vinegar? I’ve got a lemon here all juiced up and nowhere to go!

    1. Sorry for the late reply Allison. You just mix it in with the other burger ingredients. Doesn’t matter on the order. Good luck!

  15. I’m thinking these might be great for our dinner night at the cabin this summer. Do you think I could just make the recipe and freeze it in a big container before forming it into burgers? Then just thaw it out for a few days before dinner night, form it, and cook it?

    1. Hey Heather,

      I absolutely think this would work. I also think you could actually form the patties and freeze them individually. In general, I think they would freeze great.

      Good luck!

  16. I made these the other day and they were wonderful!!

    We used applewood smoked gruyere which gave a wonderful smoky flavor that would benefit any veggie burger, imo. I also made a garlic aioli which does subtract from the healthy aspect of the meal, but was so tasty lightly smeared on a toasted wheat bun, I couldn’t pass it up.

    I’d definitely make this recipe again, and will probably bring it to the next BBQ we go to!

    1. Also, I coated the patties in a little cornmeal right before grilling them to give a little extra crunch.

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