Veggie Burgers: Quinoa and Kidney Beans

Most people I know are omnivores so when they want something substantial to put in a bun they simply go for the classic meat burger.  I was brought up as a vegetarian and have never reconciled myself to the taste, and more particularly, the texture of meat.  So when I want to eat a substantial sandwich I turn to veggie burgers, and I don’t want ones that are meaty and chewy.  I want one that is flavorful, robust, and textured without being toothsome.  So I am on a quest to develop a repertoire of veggie burger recipes that I can make, freeze, and then grab for easy nutritious meals when I haven’t had time to cook from scratch.

This particular recipe can be baked or fried (sautéed) but will not hold together on the grill.  I will be experimenting with bread  crumbs which are a usual ingredient for their ability to soak up moisture and stiffen patties.  I didn’t want to have breadcrumbs in this particular recipe because I wanted to keep the proportion of beans to grains at a 2 to 1 ratio.  The results are satisfying, flavorful, and just the perfect quick meal I was hoping for.


4 cups cooked kidney beans

2 cups cooked quinoa

3 large carrots diced small

1 large onion diced small

3 ribs celery diced small

2 tbsp olive oil

1 bunch cilantro (chopped well)

1-2 pickled (or fresh) jalapenos (finely minced)

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp salt

Makes 10 to 12 patties


Have your kidney beans and quinoa prepared ahead of time.  Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan (on medium high heat) and add the carrots, onion, and celery.  Once they start lightly browning turn the heat down to med/low and stir frequently.  When the onions get soft and sticky they’re done.  (It should take about 25 minutes.)

In a food processor combine the kidney beans and quinoa and pulse several times.  You want the beans to maintain texture but you want enough of them to be crushed that the beans and quinoa stick together.  Put this in a large mixing bowl.  Add the caramelized vegetables, cilantro, jalapenos, cumin, and salt and mix really well.

Form into patties.  You can make them any size you like.  I made mine palm sized and kept them fairly thick.

To cook: heat a tbsp of oil (any you choose) in a sauté pan and sauté patties on both sides until they develop a crispy brown crust.

To serve: I don’t eat my veggie burgers with buns when I eat them at home.  I like to eat them with sliced avocado, some cheese melted on top, and some salsa.  These have a slight spiciness (depending on how many jalapenos you used) so if you like really spicy food you can use a super spicy salsa or a hot pepper sauce drizzled on top.  If you like your veggie burgers with a bun you can eat them with a bun as well with pickles, lettuce and tomato.


If I had sides to go along with this veggie burger, like steamed or roasted vegetables, I would use one patty per serving.  If it’s going to be your whole meal, I would use two patties per serving.

Recipe Notes: I use 2 jalapenos for mine because I don’t like really spicy food.  There is a wide variation in spiciness when it comes to jalapenos so be cautious.  I prefer them pickled because they have a little tangy taste to them.  Veggie burgers freeze well.  To freeze them: lay the formed patties on waxed paper on a baking sheet and freeze for several hours until they are hard, then put them in freezer bags.  For longer term freezing I recommend using a vacuum sealer.   Caramelizing vegetables takes time but in this recipe it adds an important dimension to the flavor so I don’t recommend skipping it.

This recipe is vegan: unless you melt cheese on it or top it with sour cream.

This recipe is gluten free: provided the quinoa you buy was not processed in a facility that also processes wheat and if you use fresh jalapenos instead of pickled ones.

7 thoughts on “Veggie Burgers: Quinoa and Kidney Beans

  1. Chelsea

    What an interesting and healthy recipe. An excellent source of protein as well. I’m trying them this weekend.

  2. michelle

    thank you so much for this great recipe! I used to love veggie burgers in college and now hate the frozen ones…..I make some with leftover soups and cornmeal, but they are more like corn burgers….I will be trying these soon! thanks again!

  3. stitchy1

    Chelsea- quinoa is supposed to be a great grain to use (is a complete source of protein and has a low glycemic index) but I didn’t like it on it’s own with vegetables. I made this recipe so I could take advantage of it without having to have a mouthful of it plain. If you end up making it- be sure to tell me what you think!
    Michelle- corn burgers don’t sound like a bad thing at all! But this veggie burger really hits the spot and it’s meant to offer a good burst of protein (a complete source, even without dairy) and I’m really happy with it. So just like I said to chelsea, if you do try them, please let me know what you think! They won’t be for everyone so it will be interesting to me to hear what others have to say or what changes they made to make them fit their own tastes better.

  4. Ann

    This recipe looks great. I’ll have to send it to my friend. She would appreciate it very much. Thanks for sharing. As always, so professional and informative.

  5. robin

    wow, those look incredible. as a vegetarian, just since 6/09, i salivate at anything that looks really savory. that meat craving dies hard, but i feel better since i ditched it. i maybe have to try to whip these up. beautiful photo, too. –robin

  6. Casa de Lulu

    Oh FYI…
    quinoa is NOT a grain- it’s actually considered part of the flower of the plant. It contains a large amount of saponin, which is a bitter powder-like substance that clings to the quinoa an the main reason behind rinsing it before you cook it.
    But still it’s a super-duper healthy thing to eat. Another grain you could use is amaranth. Both of them were used for centuries by the Maya and Incans in South America.

Comments are closed.