It’s seems as though we’re in the heyday of veggie burgers. Whether you like a classic hippie veggie burger with whole grains and legumes or if you’re looking for a meaty vegan burger, there are so many options!
While I personally love a homemade black bean burger, I have to say the surge of meat-like alternatives such as Beyond Meat have really expanded the foodie horizons and provide alternatives for plant-based eaters at pubs, fast food establishments, and restaurants that historically weren’t very veggie friendly. Not to mention that most grocery stores carry a variety of options that are suited to just about all palates (vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike!).
When I’m putting together fixings for my burgers I usually like to go all out. I love loading up my burg with nutritious toppings and a variety of flavours and textures. Below I’ve shared some of my tips for upping your veggie burger game!
Load up your burger with veggies & fruits!
If you’ve been to any of my talks or workshops, you’d know I’m always looking for ways to add more vegetables and fruits to my meals. Veggie burgers are no exception! Of course, there are the tried and true toppings like thinly sliced onions, tomatoes and lettuce. However, I’m a huge fan of adding arugula, spinach or baby kale, micro greens or sprouts, pickled red onions, sautéed mushrooms, avocado, or grilled peaches, pears or pineapples. I don’t necessarily add all of these at the same time, but the point is, there’s tons of variety and the options are endless. If you have any favourite veggie or fruit toppings that I didn’t mention, please tell me in the comments below.
Fermented foods lend a nice crunch, a hit of sourness, and the benefit of gut friendly bacteria to whatever you’re eating. I enjoy adding sauerkraut and kimchi to veggie burgers, but my personal favourite is fermented dill pickles and mustards. When shopping for these products look for words like “raw”, “unpasteurized” or “lacto-fermented” on the label. They will likely be in the natural food section of well stocked grocery stores or health food stores in the refrigerator, and at your local farmers’ market.
Carefully curated condiments.
Confession: I have a thing for condiments! Some of my favourite plant-based veggie burger toppings include soft cashew cheeses, tapenade, salsa, pesto, chutney, vegan mayo or even homemade or naturally sweetened ketchups (I really like the Good Food For Good brand which uses dates instead of sugar). Oh and hummus, the catch-all condiment that can be added to just about anything. It truly deserves its own food group.
Most commercial or store bought breads taste pretty good, but many fall short nutritionally. Generally when I’m seeking out the perfect bun to my burg, I’ll look for sprouted whole grain burger buns as they tend to contain higher quality, more nutritious ingredients. They can be harder to come by, so try the natural food section in your grocery store or your local health food store. I also suggest connecting with artisanal bakers or bakeries in your area for freshly baked buns free of preservatives and additives.
Super tasty sides.
At most restaurants you’ll be offered a side salad or fries with your veggie burger, but the great thing about serving veggie burgers at home or bringing them to a BBQ party is that you can step it up a notch with super tasty and nutritious sides. I usually serve my veggie burgers with my Power Pasta Salad, Summer Slaw or my Superfood Kale Salad. Fries make a great side, but have you tried my Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes? These are baked (not fried!) and pair perfectly with any veggie burger.
I hope my suggestions will take your summer barbecues to the next level. I was inspired to write this post after filming a veggie burger taste test with some friends for my YouTube channel. You can check out the video below!