veggie burgers
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Veggie Burgers

Veggie Burgers from



Veggie Burgers from

One of the dinner time staples for many of my friends are frozen veggie burgers. I informally polled some moms to ask them why they like and make them so much, and the most common answers I got were "my kids love them", "they're easy to prepare", and, most frequently, "they're healthy". That last answer, is almost true. Compared to so many other prepared foods you can buy at the grocery, frozen veggie burgers do seem really healthy (and some brands are certainly better than others). The problem is that many of them are packed with sodium, additives and fillers. They also can be pretty expensive, with the "healthier" brands coming out a well over a dollar per burger.

Veggie Burgers from

This veggie burger recipe is nutritious, really easy to make and it freezes beautifully, so you get all the convenience and great taste of store bought brands, only these are healthier and much cheaper. And on those nights when you're in a hurry (doesn't that seem like every night!), you'll be glad that you had a few of these in the freezer all ready to heat up, pop in buns and chow down with your gang!

Veggie Burgers from

Veggie Burgers from

Veggie Burgers  (Makes 4 Burgers or 8 Mini Burgers)

  • Prep Time: 20 mins,
  • Cook Time: 6 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
One of the dinner time staples for many of my friends are frozen veggie burgers. I informally polled some moms to ask them why they like and make them so much, and the most common answers I got were "my kids love them", "they're easy to prepare", and,...


  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup carrot, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon oil


  1. 1. Place the bulgar wheat and water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 13 minutes.
  2. 2. After the bulgur has cooked, place in a bowl and let cool.
  3. 3. Place the pinto beans in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  4. 4. Add the cooked bulgur, cheese, carrot, salt, garlic and onion powder to the beans in the food processor and pulse to combine.
  5. 5. Form into patties.
  6. 6. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and cook the burgers for 3 minutes on each side.
  7. 7. Serve with accompaniments.
  8. To Freeze: After forming patties and before cooking, place patties on a baking sheet in the freezer for 1 hour, then transfer to a zippered bag or other food-safe freezer container. Defrost in the refrigerator then follow recipe directions for cooking.

Accompaniments: Bread, Lettuce, Tomato, Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonnaise, Pickles

Veggie Burgers

Nutrition Information

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  1. Lina

    November 9, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Very nice but…. How do you keep them together? Yes they fall apart

    • C. McCord

      November 15, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Moisten your hands with water so the patties stick to themselves instead of to your hands. Also make sure the oil is really hot before cooking so the patties begin to cook immediately once they hit the pan.

  2. Jade

    May 23, 2016 at 8:24 am

    These were very good , but what kind of food processor do you use for the beans, mine is too weak and downst mix them enough?

  3. Connie

    July 22, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    I made these tonight and they were so yummy! My bulgur was a little watery, so I strained the water out, but even with the straining the patties had a hard time staying together. I just let them sit on the plate to cool down and sure enough, once they were cool they firmed up. My 2 y/o son loved them and even asked for seconds. I will definitely be making these again. Thank you!

  4. Laura

    July 15, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    These look great but was wondering what I can substitute for the bulgur to make a gluten free version.. Quinoa?

    • MathieMom

      July 24, 2015 at 9:16 am

      I had he same question, not because we need to eat gluten-free we just love quinoa!

      I’m curious what grains people have tried, because obviously you need some startch to hold the burger together.

  5. levitra

    February 17, 2015 at 7:27 am

    You’ve really impressed me with that answer!

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  8. anakociak

    March 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I’m so glad I found this recipe. My super picky eater toddler could eat this everyday!

  9. J

    September 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Looks so easy and healthy, I will try

  10. Jane

    September 15, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Any suggestions for a substitution for the beans? We have a legume allergy in our household. Thanks.

  11. Erica

    May 25, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Made these tonight- my 13 mo old loved them which makes me happy. My 3 year old didn’t eat it but he’s 3 and tomorrow he’ll probably think they’re delicious. I also really liked them. Mine fell apart but they were still really good and easy to make.

  12. English

    April 28, 2013 at 11:10 am

    These are awesome. I had the “falling apart” issue the first time I made them. Having made them a few times I am guessing either the beans were not pureed enough or the bulgar was a bit too dry (simmered to quickly?) Who knows. These are awesome. I also made the version suggested by other commenters substituting with black beans, quinoa, and cheddar (fake cheddar because it was all I had) and those *might* be better. Thanks so much for your creative recipes!

  13. Tanna Holbert

    February 25, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Made these today, Great flavor and baby girl loves them, but had a hard time with the burgers falling apart. I had to put a small amount of water in with pintos to puree. Food processor kept stopping up. Do you think that that is the reason for them falling apart? Because no one else seems to be having this issue.

    • Kinjal

      February 4, 2014 at 2:20 am

      The Absent Game Involving me and my husband we have owned a lot more MP3 pyealrs over time than I can count, such as Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few a long time I’ve settled down to one line of pyealrs .

  14. Jessica Hill

    January 29, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Hi, I am unable to find bulgar wheat in the stores near me. Is there anything I can substitute?! Thanks!

  15. Elena

    October 16, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Why is this recipe labeled “dairy free” (upper right corner icon) and include grated monterey jack cheese? I didnt read thru the other comments (too many) so I’m not sure if this was already discussed, but what’s an alternative ingredient to use in this case since I’m cutting dairy temporarily from my lil ones diet…? TIA Katherine :)

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  17. Theresa787

    February 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Catherine, thank you AGAIN. You are my go-to for toddler recipes. I made these tonight for my 24-month olds, and they loved it! Thank you for adding beans into my babies’ diet (and for making it so simple, from now on I’ll always keep pinto beans and bulgur wheat in the house for a quick meal). I will definitely be adding this into our menu rotation. Thank you again Catherine.

  18. SKnight

    August 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    My 12 year old loved these burgers but my 17 month old wasn’t thrilled with them. Instead of serving them as patties, I mixed the cooked ingredients with rice and formed little bite-sized balls for my toddler. She LOVED them. It’s all she wants to eat now, and that’s fine with me (for now).

  19. jchambers

    April 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I just want to thank you…SO MUCH for this recipe! I made it modified it per the ingredients I had on hand and #1 my husband loved them (and he is a carne!) my daugher loved them (1 year old) and I love it bc it is a great alternative to meat. I have different views on meat consumption and this is a great option for me and my family! :) Thanks SO much!

  20. Courtney

    October 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    They were a HUGE hit with my daughter. She didn’t even spit the carrots out!! Thank you so much!

  21. Tammy

    September 12, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    How can using canned beans be healthy? I tend to stay away from cans in general, with all the preservatives and sodium – but hate cooking beans from scratch, so buy really REALLY too expensive Trader Joes bean salad (steamed beans only). Am I being overly neurotic?

    • Connie

      July 22, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      I batch cook my dry beans in a pressure cooker. 30 minutes will cook a 1 lb. bag of beans. Then, I portion them out into one cup servings in quart sized freezer bags for quick defrosting and use.

    • Kelsey

      January 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      Look for canned beans without a lot of sodium, added salt. Or just don’t make veggie burgers 😉

    • Darshi

      December 8, 2010 at 1:04 am

      Have you tried using a pressure cooker to cook the beans in 1/2 the time. I use mine every day for one thing or the other. Love it!

  22. jeannine

    September 7, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I substituted so much I ended up making falafel instead. I used some leftover cooked brown rice chick peas and I kept the carrot, added fresh onion and garlic and cumin. No cheese and no egg. I also added flour to dry it out. I fried it in oil to cover.
    Do you think this could be baked in the shape of balls?
    Do you have a recipe or recommendation for dried chick peas, mine never cook quite right, also have you made falafel before, if so do you have a recipe?
    Thanks, I love your blog! I recommend it to all my friends. My son loved the Sweet beet cookies and the fruit leather! Also wonderful posts about school lunches!

  23. Greenwich Mommy

    September 6, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Made these yesterday for my 14 month old son who absolutely loved them.

    I followed the recipe with the exception of the cooking temp and time. I used a cast iron skillet on medium-low and cooked them about 4 minutes or so on each side. Perfection!

  24. Julie

    August 19, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Has anyone tried this with nondairy cheese, like Daiya?

    • jeannine

      September 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm

      i have been meaning to, I have recently tried Trader Joe’s soy american singles and they are pretty yummy, taste just like the real stuff. I have recently cut dairy from my diet and have not braved the no dairy cheeses yet.

      I recommend cashew sauces for great noodle dishes!

  25. Elizabeth

    August 17, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I just made these. As my daughter says, “Yummy Yummy”! I found that the thicker ones stayed together better. I like Shauna’s idea of adding an egg and rolling in breadcrumbs.
    So much better than the store versions.

  26. Shauna

    July 31, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Just made these with a few variations. Used black beans because I didn’t have pinto. Used white cheddar instead of MJ since I didn’t have MJ. Used half the amount of carrot because I got lazy, but threw in spinach leaves into the food processor mixture. Used an egg and bread crumbs to ensure they kept a firm texture in lunch boxes. Rolled in bread crumbs before frying. They stayed together very well and taste great! Thanks for the recipe. My husband who hates veggie burgers loves them. Wish the kid would actually try them. :(

    • Kelsey

      January 29, 2011 at 8:25 pm

      I feel your pain! My daughter hates all veggies or anything she suspects may have veggies in it. Thank you for sharing tho! I am going to make these tonight and only have black beans on hand. Wasn’t sure how they’d taste. Glad someone else tried it.

  27. angela

    July 17, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Finally tried these this week and they were a hyoooge hit! These mamas loved them and our hot teething mess of an 18-month-old shoveled them into his mouth with gusto. Yum!

  28. Paulina

    July 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I made this today with quinoa and just for the doubt of not sticking together I also put a wee bit of beaten egg into it.
    They turned out great, my husband was the only one who told me to put some burger seasoning next time, which is a good idea for those not so vegetarian people out there.

  29. Kelly K.

    July 6, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    When freezing these, how to you go about cooking them later? Right from frozen, or do you have to thaw them out the night before? Can you bake them, or is pan frying the best? Thanks!

    • catherine

      July 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm

      The best way is to thaw them out then pan fry on each side :)

  30. Dena

    July 6, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    These were delicious. I followed the recipe exactly (maybe the bulgur wasn’t exactly room temp?), but found that the burgers didn’t stay together when I cooked them. Like TS said above, they also required much longer cooking time. Any ideas? What kind of oil do you use? Thx

    • catherine

      July 6, 2010 at 1:49 pm

      Hm, was there any excess water from the bulgar? If there was, you would have had to drain it and then let it cool. My burgers were about an inch thick. how thick did you make them? You really just have to cook the burger until it warms through and creates a nice crust on the outside. I used vegetable oil too. I’m happy you enjoyed them though, let me know if this helps :)

      • Dena

        July 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        Will drain the bulgar–that might be the key. Tried different thicknesses. Guess it was the excess water. We still loved them. Thanks so much!

        • Susan

          July 8, 2010 at 7:01 pm

          I am having the same problem…they fall apart when cooking and the bottom sticks to the pan. Not sure if baking would work better? How long and at what temp would you bake them? Just trying different ideas. They tasted great, they just were very soft and fell apart. :(

        • catherine

          July 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm

          One trick for the patty to not stick to the pan is to have your pan under high heat and make sure the oil is very hot then sear the patties 3 minutes on each side. You can also put them in the oven as well if you would like. Let me know if they work out next time around, but i’m so happy you enjoyed them :)

  31. amber

    July 1, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Also wondering about GF/DF options…perhaps Kasha? I have some at my house, that I’ve been trying to find a good recipe to try – do you think it would work?

    amber :)

  32. Lisa

    July 1, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I made these today using quinoa (just kind of estimated how much though b/c I wasn’t sure howm uch cooked bulgur this recipe made). I really liked them myself & my 11 mo old twins gobbled it up, but I am wondering about sticking to the pan & consistency? Might be related to the quinoa but mine were pretty mushy inside & sticked to the pan majorly even though I used oil in the pan so I didn’t get much of the nice brown crust on the outside. Any tips?

    • catherine

      July 1, 2010 at 4:13 pm

      In cases like yours, you have to heat the pan with the oil till it is really hot and place the patties in the pan. They will not stick to the pan if you do this. Sear for a minute on each side and enjoy! :) hope this helps!

      • Lisa

        July 2, 2010 at 3:04 pm

        Thanks, will do tonight! And I meant stuck to the pan not sticked….ah! :)

  33. Kim

    June 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I too would be interested in a substitute for the bulgar as my son is GF and dairy free. Thanks!

    • catherine

      June 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      You can substitute the bulgar with quinoa and not use the cheese. Let me know how they turn out!

  34. TS

    June 30, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I just made these – it definitely took longer to cook – maybe because i added peas, they were a bit more watery? Did anyone else find them to fall apart a bit? otherwise, i am excited to give my son!

    • catherine

      June 30, 2010 at 3:30 pm

      Yes peas contain a lot of water, I think that would have been the problem with your burgers to come together. Let me know how he likes them! We love them!!

      • Bernadette

        September 25, 2010 at 11:07 am

        I made these according to the recipe and had horrible results. They were so hard to flip and took way longer than it said. I never really was sure if they were done since the cheese melted and they just seemed gooey. I cooked the bulgar with the amounts of water and bulgar the recipe called for but it was a little watery. I probably should’ve cooked it longer so I’m not sure if that is why they turned out so bad. The flavor was good but my son (2) wouldn’t eat them and my husband who eats anything didn’t really care for them. I’m really bummed because I was hoping to put this into my rotation since they are so healthy.

        • catherine

          September 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm

          How high was your fire when you were cooking them? If it was low, that may have been the problem for flipping. Also, did you strain your bulgar if it was watery?

  35. Missy

    June 29, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I would also be interested in a quinoa variation. I’m a vegetarian so quinoa is a very popular staple for me (and subsequently for everyone else in the house).

  36. Amy

    June 29, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I too was wondering about a sub for the bulgar, I wanted to use couscous, mostly because I have a lot of it in my pantry…

  37. Lisa

    June 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I was just going to ask if I could sub quinoa- very different consistency but I was disappointed that trader joe’s didnt carry bulgur and I’m pretty sure our mainstream store (Harris Teeter) doesn’t either…

    • Jaime

      September 20, 2010 at 10:44 am

      Lisa : Harris Teeter DOES carry :)

  38. Mikki

    June 29, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Do you think I could sub out barley for bulgar with good results?

  39. Brittney

    June 29, 2010 at 9:00 am

    such a great idea! to re heat you would just pan fry or bake like they tell you on the packaged veggie burgers right?
    btw, I found your site about a month ago, and like thousands of others, LOVE it. I visit it multiple times a day, and am so glad that I have a source to go to for healthy easy fun recipes! what would we do w/o the internet? I tell everyone to visit your site becasue it makes my life so fun and easy. I have a love/hate relationship with cooking for my girls (which I’m sure most do, but I feel that what goes into my girls bodies is too important to take the easy/processed, unhealthy way out, so I keep pushing myself to make sure good things go in!) and you make it a bit more easier to love!!

    • catherine

      June 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you so much! Yes you would just have to pan fry, you can bake as well but I think pan fry is the easiest.

  40. Amber

    June 29, 2010 at 9:00 am

    I’d love to try these but my son has a dairy allergy so cheese is out. I’m assuming they won’t bind well without it, any suggestions?

    • catherine

      June 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm

      You can take out the cheese, I don’t think it will effect the binding. The bulgar and beans really hold together well.

  41. Traci

    June 29, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Some grocery stores carry bulghar in the isle with rice.

  42. Lisa

    June 29, 2010 at 7:30 am

    This sounds great- do they sell bulgar wheat in most grocery stores & if so, where would I find it?

    • Carol

      May 16, 2011 at 9:34 am

      What does Bulgar wheat look like? Is it a wheat germ, bread crumb, or closer to a rice? Would Genuardis, Acme, or Shoprite carry it?