Nourishing, and delicious with a bit of a kick, Black Bean Walnut Burgers with Saucy Sweet Onions are make ahead ready, freezer friendly, GRILLABLE and easy to pull together. This bean burger recipe is vegetarian, vegan and easily gluten free. [ see VIDEO on recipe card ]
~ This post was updated May 2021 with updated recipe to include grilling these scrumptious burgers. The recipe remains unchanged. ~
Homemade Veggie Burgers
Easy to pull together and perfect for meal prep, these hearty vegan black bean veggie burgers are full of wholesome ingredients and with ones you can pronounce.
Homemade veggie burgers are the ultimate comfort food.
Not the kind you can buy in the store. But the ones you make at home, prepared and frozen ahead of when you need. Pull em’ out of the freezer a few hours or the morning before you need them, and wallah! Toast the buns, fix the toppings and whip up some fabulous homemade oven fries and dinner is done!
How do you Make Veggie Burgers Stick Together?
Some veggie burger recipes utilize eggs to hold the burgers together. However, since these burgers are egg free and vegan, I use naturally sticky ingredients to hold this vegan black bean veggie burger together while also providing texture and flavor. Ingredients like:
- Black Beans – sticky by nature
- Short Grain Brown Rice – starchy and texture rich, short grain is a must in this recipe
- Tomato Paste – a umami ingredient – it adds flavor and helps make the burger stick together
- Rolled Oats – help act as a binder
Other flavor builder ingredients such as chipotle pepper and adobo sauce, Worcestershire, mustard and liquid smoke provide just enough moisture to help bind all the ingredients together.
What’s in a Vegan Veggie Burger?
Depending on the recipe, many homemade vegan veggie burgers start with a base of beans. Beans are sticky by nature, and fiber and protein rich, so they make an excellent base for veggie burgers.
For this black bean burger, I include flavor builders such as chipotle peppers, vegan Worcestershire, mustard, tomato paste, and liquid smoke. Then there’s sautéed onions, and garlic salt that add to the mouthwatering flavor profile.
For texture and to help these burgers “stick” together, I include ingredients like black beans, rolled oats, brown rice and walnuts. Is your mouth watering?
How to Make the Best Black Bean Burgers
While the ingredient list appears long, these black bean walnut burgers are simple to pull together and with pantry staples. The food processor does most of the work! In summary, here’s how to make these scrumptious veggie burgers (see recipe card for details):
- First, dry toast the walnuts in a pan.
- Second, sauté the onions that’ll be used in the patties.
- Third, toss the ingredients are in a food processor, then mix those ingredients with some of the whole ingredients. Use your hands to mix/mash them all together.
- Fourth, shape, chill then cook the patties in a skillet or grill.
Whip up those boozy saucy sweet onions while the burgers are resting. These are optional, but highly recommended!
If you love veggie burgers, then try my Cajun Chickpea Burgers!
How to Store Black Bean Walnut Burgers
Refrigerator: Store raw or cooked patties in the fridge for up to three days.
Freezer: The patties can either be frozen raw or after cooking for the ultimate convenience. For frozen patties, simply thaw in the fridge overnight and either reheat in a warm oven or cook/grill as directed.
About those Saucy Sweet Onions
These onions are totally mouthwatering. A must make if time permits! The recipe calls for bourbon, however the onions can be made boozy or not, subbing veggie broth if needed.
Bourbon plays off the sweet of the onions and the tangy subtle bite of balsamic vinegar without being overpowering. And it’s fabulous in the BBQish caramelized onions; a natural fit.
This burger holds up well to any condiments you can throw at it. Try some variations to see what makes your toes curl!
- As the Recipe Goes: Mayo or a quick aioli (mayo mixed with minced garlic and lemon juice) with mashed avocado, saucy sweet onions and sweet/spicy pickled peppers is classic for this burger.
- Go old School: Simply dress with mayo and/or mustard and top with lettuce and tomato.
- BBQ Burger: Slather with a bit of mayo or mustard, add Swiss cheese just before pulling off the grill or pan and drizzle a bit of homemade smoky bourbon BBQ sauce over the top for some amazing BBQ burgers!
A Few Recipe Notes
- Brown Rice: These vegan black bean burgers call for short grain brown rice. I do not recommend subbing this ingredient as it’s sticky and texture rich making it an important component to the success of these burgers. I cook extra when making other recipes then freeze the leftovers for a future batch of these black bean walnut burgers.
- Make Ahead: This recipe is freezer friendly before or after cooking the patties. Simply freeze on a parchment lined sheet pan. Once frozen, stack the patties between parchment paper and store in a freezer bag or container for up to several months.
- Saucy Onions: A must for flavor, but optional. Make them boozy or not by subbing veggie broth for the bourbon.
- Chill the Veggie Burgers: Resting the burgers in the fridge does take a bit of pre planning, but is essential to hydrate the oats and help hold the burgers together. It also marries the flavors. Don’t skip it!
- GRILLABLE: These burgers are grillable! Hooray! Handle with care for delicious results!
Boring but important! Take a look at the recipe notes if you’re new to making egg-free veggie burgers.
What to Eat with Veggie Burgers
- Crispy Oven Fries
- Smoky BBQ Baked Beans
- Broccoli Slaw
- Sweet Pea and Radish Salad
- Potato Salad
- Carrot Raisin Salad with Creamy Honey Lemon Dressing
- Spring Macaroni Pasta Salad
Black Bean Walnut Burgers with Saucy Sweet Onions
For the Patties:
- 1/2 C (60g) Walnuts shelled
- 1/2 C (50g) Rolled Oats not quick cook or instant
- 2 Tbs Tomato Paste
- 1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce*
- 1 tsp Adobo Sauce 2 for extra spicy, gluten free if needed
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 3/4 tsp Garlic Salt
- 2 tsp Yellow Mustard
- 1 tsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce regular or gluten free (Tamari may be used instead)
- 1/4 tsp Liquid Smoke gluten free if needed
- 2 1/3 C (420g) Cooked Black Beans drained & rinsed (2 cans or homemade), divided
- 1/2 C (100g) Cooked Short Grain Brown Rice divided (be sure to use short grain, it makes a difference – not instant)
- 1 tsp Vegetable Oil coconut or olive oil + more for cooking the patties
- 1 C (100g) Yellow Onion diced
For the Saucy Sweet Onions:
- 3 Tbs Vegetable Oil I like coconut or olive
- 3 (745g) Large Sweet Onions like Walla Walla or Vidalia sliced into thin 1/2 moons
- 1/3 C (75g) Bourbon* or sub veggie broth
- 1 1/2 Tbs Maple Syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
Optional, but Suggested Toppings:
- Mashed Avocado with a pinch of salt
- Pickled Sweet & Spicy Peppers
- Pickled Banana Peppers
For the Patties:
- In a nonstick pan, dry-toast the walnuts on medium heat, tossing and flipping them for about four minutes. Remove from heat and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the oats, tomato paste, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, sea and garlic salt, mustard, worchestershire sauce, and liquid smoke. Process until pasty. A few chunks are fine. Add 1/2 the black beans, and 1/2 the rice. Pulse until the mixture comes together, scraping down as needed. Set aside.
- Heat the coconut oil in a pan on medium. When shimmering, add the diced onion and cook on medium for about three minutes. A bit of charring is okay. Remove from heat and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 of the black beans and rice to the mixing bowl. Into the large mixing bowl, add the processed bean/spice mixture. Using your hands, mix thoroughly squeezing and pushing the mixture together.
- Use a 1/2 cup (130g) scoop (this yields 6 patties – the last patty is slightly smaller) or 1/3 cup (82g) scoop (this yields 8 patties) to portion the patties. Roll them into a ball. Using the back of a metal measuring cup, press each ball into a patty using gentle pressure about 1/4"- 1/2" (.6 – 1.2 cm) thick.
- Place the patties flat on a parchment lined sheet pan in refrigerator for at least one hour. To Freeze (optional): slide the pan in the freezer for one hour then stack the patties between pieces of parchment paper and into a freezer bag for longer storage. Now is a good time to get the boozy onions going (see below).
- Preheat the oven to 200F (95C) and line a sheet-pan with parchment paper. Place the pan in the oven. This will keep the patties warm after they’re cooked.
- In the Skillet: Add two to three Tbs of coconut oil to a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Heat until shimmering. Add three patties. Be sure to give them plenty of room. Cook for 3 1/2 – 4 minutes on each side, being careful when flipping the patty. Slide the patty on the parchment lined sheet pan in the oven. Sprinkle with sea salt. Finish cooking the remaining patties adding more oil as needed.OROn the Gas Grill: Clean grill and oil with vegetable oil (like canola or olive oil). Heat gas grill on highest setting. Brush both sides of the veggie burger with oil and gently transfer to the grilling grates or a grill pan (use a grill pan if the grates of your grill are thin). Cook for about four to five minutes on each side, taking care when flipping the burgers. Adjust heat as needed so that the burgers don't burn.
- To keep warm, transfer the patties to the preheated oven.
For the Onions
- In a large pan, add the coconut oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook on medium-low for about 35-40 minutes, to caramelize them, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary so they don't burn. When done they'll be golden and very soft.
- Turn off heat, remove from heat (we do not want alcohol near an open flame) and stir in the bourbon (or veggie broth), maple syrup, vinegar and mustard. Stir. Bring to a simmer on medium low for about two minutes, to simmer off the liquids. Remove from heat and put a lid on the pan until ready to serve.
- After cooking the burgers, store them in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to three weeks. When freezing the patties, freeze first on a parchment lined sheet pan. Once frozen, stack patties between parchment squares and place in a freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat at 400F (200C) for about 15 minutes.