Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen

I don't typically click over to articles that people post on Facebook, Twitter etc. but every now and then a title catches my eye. It was a piece in New York Magazine recently called The Day I Started Lying to Ruth - written by a cancer doctor husband who lost his wife to cancer. We know a few close people struggling with the disease themselves and when I read things like this, I'm both sad and shocked that there are countless people fighting this fight. It may not be mine personally, but it is always someone's mother or child or parent and it's gut wrenching. The article was thoughtfully written, he draws you into his story. There is a line in the beginning that made me think, and not even about cancer or illness like the article leads. "It was a warm night for early June, the beginning of the winter in Argentina. People crowded the sidewalks, returning from work, stopping for dinner. All the everyday stuff that fills our lives, neither adding particular meaning or taking it away." And I thought about what most of my days are composed of - it isn't really a routine, but something similar to one. Not everyday can be filled with moments like dream travel, getting married, job promotions, the birth of a child, or achieving some huge goal and the like... but is everything between not adding or taking away meaning? I know he was speaking in general terms, but it just made me think of the in-between and how I actually truly value that time when I give it due credit. Hugh and I stayed up late hanging some things in the baby room last night  (I am a recent fan of these wall appliques, I'll post a picture on IG when the room is slightly more finished). I'd consider it an "in-between" evening, nothing particularly special happening, but I will remember us trying so hard to make a special room for the wee ones arrival. Hugh was using a level to place the stickers and my non-crafty self was making a mobile out of a lucky dream catcher I was gifted. The in-between of the big stuff is still good stuff, you just have to pay closer attention, make note of it. In reading the article, his story was marked by all sorts of "normal" moments, the details that make the whole piece interesting really. I don't want to forget that next time I feel in a rut. The in-between has it's own subtle remark.

I have a little extra time this week and wanted to put together some freezer meals for when the babe is here and I don't have time nor want to cook. I ripped out this recipe for a quinoa burger out of the local paper and figured it'd be worth a shot. I'm aware veggie burger recipes are not hard to come by, which is why I think they interest me, like a chocolate chip cookie, always being changed just a little bit to be different or better. I threw this one on a bun with avocado and cheese and a generous slather of mustard. Ask me in a few weeks and it will likely be back on a big mound of salad with an egg on top while I am trying to get back into my pre-baby clothes. Either way, a general veggie burger recipe is always nice to have on hand.

Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen


Adapted from The Los Angeles Times from Cafe Pasqual, New Mexico

These are not veggie burgers to be grilled - they are delicate and moist and could not handle a flip on grates. I make a note at the end of the recipe, but they are best pan seared or baked. They would be adorable small and on mini sliders. 

Nutritional yeast can be found at health food stores or online. It is a vegan alternative to a somewhat cheesy flavor. It offers depth of flavor here, but you could certainly make these without it. These are a very basically seasoned burger which I like - add flavor in sauces, spread, slaw, cheese etc. as you wish. 

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/3 cups broth or water
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large shallot or 1/2 a yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce, tamari or Braggs aminos
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup coarse ground oats or breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. flaxmeal
  • 2/3 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
  • sea salt and pepper

avocado, cheese, mustard, greens and buns of choice for serving

Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen

Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer. Bring the quinoa and broth or water to a boil in a pot. Turn it to a gentle simmer and cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked, about 13 minutes. Stir, leave the lid ajar and set aside to cool. 

While the quinoa cooks, grate the zucchini. Spread it on a kitchen towel and ring out the extra moisture. 

In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot or onion and sauté for 3 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, generous pinches of salt and pepper and sauté another 5 minutes until cooked down and much of the liquid has been cooked out. Stir in the oregano, cayenne and soy sauce and turn the heat off to cool. 

Transfer the quinoa to a bowl, add the nutritional yeast, oats or breadcrumbs and flaxmeal. Once the vegetables are cool, add them to the bowl as well and stir everything to mix. Mash in the cooked sweet potato and another pinch of salt and pepper and stir everything to mix. If it looks super dry, add another drizzle of oil or more mashed yam, but if it is *too* wet, they won't stay together. I know we are making veggie burgers, but you want it to be the same sort of thickness or texture or ground beef or turkey, not wet. 

Heat a layer of oil in a large skillet (I find non-stick works best for delicate things like this). Make patties about 1 1/2'' thick, and cook until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Alternatively, you may form your patties, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle a little oil on top and bake them at 375' for 20 minutes. Put your cheese on one side after you flip the patty. Prepare your buns with mashed avocado, spread, greens or whatever you wish and serve warm. 

* I overdid it on the yam and mine were very soft throughout. I find that when I do this with veggie burgers, baking helps dry them out better so they stay together better between a bun. If you're eating it plain and you want a crispy crust, pan works great, for something in a sandwich, I prefer to bake them for a sturdier result. You're preference on texture. 

Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen

Reader Comments (35)

I set that article aside to read. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. It seems I'm always aching to write down the everyday. I fail to do it because I forget to stop and take note of it. Recently while hanging out with some dear friends I was struck when my friend (Julie) said something about me that she knew. It was so mundane and not worth noting that one would only know that about me by walking alongside my life. Anyway the point is, in life and in friendships, the mundane, the routines, the quirks - those are really what make up our days and what mark the time. They are worth noting and worth stoping for a moment to appreciate. To breath it in and savor.
Thank you for this reminder.
It's almost baby time! I'm thinking about you guys constantly.

May 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

This looks so delicious. One can never have too many veggie burger recipes. This one looks like a keeper!

May 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Naked Fig

Veggie burgers have improved so much from what they used to be, the ones with mushrooms are especially delicious. I feel like when people compare them to meat burgers they are often disappointed but if you think of them as delicious vegetable patties they are fantastic in their own right.

Next time I have my vegetarian friends over for a summer evening I'll impress them with these burgers. Thanks!

May 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAngel Reyes

Vegan!!! Aminos & nootch! Be still my heart. Xo

May 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermichelle

I collect veggie burger recipes, always hoping to find THE one! This looks like the texture might be nice and light from the quinoa.

Those look delish! The spices / flavors sound amazing, I'll have to try this soon. Vegan grilling is the best. :)

These look freaking killer. So packed with goodness!

So lovely! These look fabulous.

May 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

At what step would you recommend freezing?

May 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessie

this looks so tasty!

May 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAbigail

I'm also a huge fan of searching all possible variations of common recipes and examining what makes them different (or, in most cases, self-proclaimedly 'better'!). I'd also seen the NYM article floating around my social media and am popping over now to read it. Thanks for sharing.

May 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAla

Oh Sara, I could not agree more that the "in-between" times are as important. All of the small moments are what make up our lives, so we must value them as much as we do the big events because that's where true joy and contentment lies, no?! Thank you for always bringing up such thoughtful ideas for us to ponder. And this quinoa burger, nice one! I actually prefer baking something like this because they can all be cooked in one fail swoop. Am going away for the weekend so I might just make these for my flight and so my husband is stocked at home. :)

Sounds good! Stocking the freezer is a great idea. It really helped us when our little one was born at the end of last year. Don't worry too much about the baby weight, if you're nursing it really does come off on its own. You're not supposed to diet to lose weight until about 3 months postpartum so your milk supply can get established, but if you eat when you're hungry, reach for healthy stuff, and try to fit in some walking most days of the week (with or without babywearing), you'll be fine : ) .

May 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAm

Wow I have been planning on making veggie burgers! These sound perfect!

May 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterami@naivecookcooks

Is the 3/4 cup measurement for the quinoa before or after cooking? Thanks!

May 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHilary

your thoughts on the in-between time reminded me of this, thought you might appreciate it:

May 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

I said something similar to my boyfriend not long ago about the 'in between' times. They're some of my favourite relationship-moments really - not the big flashy celebrations but just everyday life. I hope you're feeling well as you head into these final days. Thinking of you both.

May 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

is the yeast very necessary? it doesn't sound like the recipe needs anything to rise... is it for flavor??

May 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJess

I've been seeing a ton of quinoa recipes lately, but this one looks the best. Thanks for sharing! I will have to give them a try this weekend.

@Jess - nutritional yeast is not for rising, it is just flavor and has some vitamins and minerals to it. It is orange-ish in color and gives a cheesy flavor. It's a popular ingredient for vegan cooking and helps give these a little more pizaaz. You could make them without it, but is a neat ingredient to try. Also good to sprinkle on popcorn ;)

May 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterSara

Wow, it's got a gangsta lean...I will have to try. Thank you and happy nesting.

May 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterthefolia

I I was a little hesitant to make these tonight, because nobody who commented actually said they had tried them. But I went ahead anyway and I wasn't disappointed. These were absolutely delicious and very easy to prepare. Your instructions were perfect. I sautéed them in olive oil, but next time I would try baking them in the oven because I think that might make them a little crunchier. I ate one and my husband ate two and I'd really like to go back and eat another one. I used to 1/2 cup measuring cup to form the patties and it made exactly six. One of my daughter gave me your book for Mother's Day. That is how I found out about your website. So far I haven't made anything out of the book, but I did make the kale and citrus salad for Mother's Day and now I've made these delicious little sliders. Thank you for posting such great recipes.

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPamela Schmidt

Wow. Photos are awesome and this recipe looks phenom. Thanks for sharing! I've been wanting to make a quinoa burger for some time. And sweet potato is my favorite ingredient to use in veggie burgers. -- Lizzie

May 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLizzie

Looks real good! And healthy too. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

May 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPerk Idea

Thats a very nice recipe, very uncommon

I can't ever seem to keep my veggie burgers together! They always fall apart after they are heated and I try to take it out of the pan! Thanks for sharing I'm going to give this recipe a try!


June 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlyssa

These burgers are great! I tried them yesterday and they were a big success. they hold together extremely well and the flavors were perfect. Thanks!

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia

Looks delicious!

First, congratulations for your baby boy!
These burgers were so good, I didn't have yam and I wanted to try them so I used a regular potato and it was great. I can imagine yam may give it some extra flavour but we really enjoyed them. Thanks and blessings!

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAdriana

Oh my goodness! These were just fantastic! My boyfriend and I just had them for dinner; I made two patties for each of them and served them with some sour cream that I filled with chives and scallions. I made a couple of changes based on what I had around from the CSA and farmer's market. I used button mushrooms, and a carrot in lieu of the zucchini (not quite zucchini season in Chicago), and fish sauce instead of nutritional yeast for depth of flavor. Also threw in some garlic and cooked the quinoa with some spices and a green onion. Point being, these are super adaptable to what you have lying around. They were so delicious, and I'm excited to make use of the patties I've stashed away in the freezer. What a winning recipe!

Congratulations on your new baby!

June 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Jane

Just made these. Had a patty over a bed of spinach with avocado for dinner... perfection. The only thing I changed was that I used chia seeds instead of flax, and the house I'm cooking in didn't have soy sauce so I substituted with a pinch of garlic powder, balsamic vinegar, and ginger powder. The burgers have just the right amount of spicy kick- super subtle. Also, I tried cooking one on the skillet and it was too soft, like you said. Baked the rest of them. Perfect! Thank you for another great recipe

June 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaige

These burgers are amazing! I've made them 3 times so I figured I should post. Also, I've added a little balsamic in there, to deglaze the mushrooms and once I used balsamic roasted mushrooms I had already made. Really adds a little bit of extra flavor! Thanks for this recipe :)

June 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterElena

wow, that article. i couldnt finish it. it brought a ton of mindfulness to my day. thank you for sharing both, i'll be looking forward to making these soon! love the make ahead option. xx

January 8, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteralexandra

I prepared them today and they were perfect! Loved it!

January 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

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