Veggie Burgers Can Be Better Than Meat Burgers (Seriously)

April 27, 2011   35 Comments

Snack Girl has been looking for a packaged veggie burger to endorse as a great snack. And, she hasn't found one :(

Lentil Chipotle Burger Recipe

The ones I have tried have been either tasteless, too full of sodium or cheese, or just blech! I happen to love REAL hamburgers so the bar is very high when it comes to this particular food.

The concept, veggies and beans formed into a burger shape, is SUCH a good one. This way you have a portable, cooked, healthy snack that is easy to eat. It makes it easy to turn down all those burgers that you pass on your day (how many times did I drive by a burger yesterday?).

Solution? Isa Chandra Moskowitz and her new cookbook, "Appetite for Reduction". This book rocks! It features VEGAN recipes that are low in fat and they are just awesome.

Vegan, in case you don't know, means that ALL animal products are excluded from the recipes. I'm not just talking about meat, but also dairy and eggs are not eaten by vegans. They won't even touch the lowly anchovy!

You would think that all vegan cookbooks would be low in fat and sugar, but they aren't. Vegans still use oils and sugar, and while their recipes may be healthier than most, they still can pack a bunch of calories.

That is why "Appetite for Reduction" is so special. Isa paid attention to the calorie content of the food she created and her recipes are only 200-400 calories per serving. She includes all the nutrition facts for every recipe (but she left out the Weight Watchers Points, oh well).

The veggie burger below is 130 calories, and, honestly, I liked it better than a hamburger. The only part I didn't like was all the time it took me to make it (probably about 45 minutes).

Next time, I will double the recipe so that I can freeze some for later use.

These were too spicy for my kids, but I absolutely love them for an afternoon snack or lunch. They can be eaten at room temperature.

Isa has a great website - check her out at Post Punk Kitchen to learn about more vegan low-fat recipes.

Please share your favorite veggie burger brand or recipe.


Chipotle Lentil Burgers Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

From the book Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright (c) 2010. Da Capo Press Cookbooks

(makes 6 burgers)

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1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small red onion, cut into medium dice
1/2 pound zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped (stems and leaves)
1 (15 ounce) can cooked lentils, drained and rinsed (1 1/4 cups)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chipotles, seeds removed, with adobe sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons red vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika


First, we're going to saute some veggies. Preheat a large, heave-bottomed nonstick pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-hugh heat. Saute the onion for about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, garlic, cilantro, and a pinch of salt, and saute for 7 to 10 minutes, until the zucchini is soft.

Transfer the zucchini mixture to a food processor. Add all the other ingredients except for 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Did you hear me? Reserve 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs! Pulse until mostly smooth, but there should still be a little texture. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Preheat the pan (the same one you already used to saute in is fine) over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs to the burger mixture and use a fork to thoroughly combine.

Divide the burger mixture into six equal pieces. An easy way to do this is divide it in half, then divide each half into three basically equal portions. You can do that right in the mixing bowl if it's large enough.

Spray the pan with non stick cooking spray. Form the burger portions into patties and cook for about 12 minutes, flipping the burgers often, until they are nicely browned on both sides. Use cooking spray as necessary. Do three at a time for best results.

They taste great served immediately but they're also excellent at room temperature, so don't be afraid to stuff one into a sandwich and take it for lunch.

Nutrition Facts

130 calories, 1.5 g fat, 23 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, 7 g fiber, 510 mg sodium, 3 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 35 )

I've never found a veggie burger that I liked... if this is spicy than it might be pretty good. If you want a lean burger, just buy grass-feed beef. It's absolutely delicious!

I've tried about 25 recipes from this book as part of a cookbook club and loved them all! It's my absolute favorite cookbook. The recipes are healthy, nutritious, low-cal, and, most important, delicious! These burgers are actually on my list to try--haven't made them yet. You can read my review of the recipes I made here:…

@Jennifer - thanks so much for sharing this! Awesome to see you try all these healthy recipes - wow!

Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala veggie burgers are my favorite! and Earthfare's Almond Grain burgers are a close second.

I enjoy Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers. They are chock full of veggies and pretty tasty.

I'm shocked that you haven't heard of Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers!! I found them at Costco of all places. I got the california veggie burgers which if you read the ingredients - they are all "real" food items - and mainly veggies!!

Check out the website - and check out the product, they are pretty good!…

I love Isa's cookbook! She has the tastiest oil-free dressings in it. It has fueled my shopping list since I bought it a few months ago!

my favorite veggie burgers are here:

The recipe makes a ton and you can freeze them. I just fire up the Foreman grill and enjoy!

Ditto for Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers... They taste great... I just don't like their prices.. a bit too steep!

These sound great! Any suggestions on a replacement for the chipotles/adobo sauce? I'm wondering if omitting them would make the burgers too dry. I'd like to adjust the heat for my 5-year old. Of course, Mommy gets a batch WITH the chipotles!

Personally, I love Gardenburger's Veggie Medley and Black Bean burgers... and I had thought they were pretty healthy... don't tell me they are loaded with sodium or something... I will have to go check the label.

I found my fav burger recipe in a southbeach diet book that has turkey and wild rice and lowfat cheese, they're soo good and healthy

This recipe looks great! I found that my favorite Veggie Burger is the Morningstar Grillers California Turk'y! It is must more flavorful than a lot of the other veggie burgers.

I also like the Trader Joe's and Dr. Praegers veggie burgers. The recipe looks good but too much work - I am a lazy vegeterian! When I do feel energetic I make my own black bean veggie burgers. They don't take long to make and I love black beans.I can put them on the grill or pan fry them. The recipe makes about 5 so I always have extra for later - maybe next time I will freeze some.

@laxmom16: I like the homemade black bean veggie burger idea! I wonder if this recipe would work just as well w/ black beans v. lentils?!

My favorite store bought veggie burgers are Sunshine burgers: they are one of the few that are gluten fre AND soy free! I love them! They taste amazing!

You MUST try the new Gardein burgers? They are amazing and taste and smell like real meat burgers but are totally vegan. They are the favorite veggie burger by far in our house.

I was looking at the beautiful picture of the veggie burger, and my first thought was "haven't these people discovered Mult-Grain Sandwich Thins?" Just discovered them last summer - think that's about when they made their first appearance in the supermarket. Such a successful idea that now there are several imitators! Great for Weight Watchers, with only 1 gram of fat, 5 grams of fiber, and 100 calories. Before WW, I preferred them for burgers and hot dogs because I don't like the taste or thickness of regular buns. With WW, such a blessing for a bread-aholic! Half a sandwich thin toasted for a snack with a spoonful of no-sugar-added apple butter is delicious and satisfying :-)

the Dr. Praeger's Veggie Burgers looks great, except Canola oil's one of the ingredients. I'm a little leary of canola oil right now though i guess little amount won't be too awful...? x___x

Wow these sound delicious! I like the idea of adding cilantro.

Another version you should try;

These are made out of black beans and they are so good. The best part is that there are no nasty additives that you get from the frozen store bought stuff.

Good post!

The BEST veggie burger I've ever had was a black bean and millet burger topped with red onion and a hint of both vegenaise and vegan barbecue sauce. Absolutely delicious!

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