Veggie Burgers


The veggie burger has come a long way, baby.  No doubt its debut must have raised a few eyebrows and wrinkled a few noses when early versions of it appeared as part of the “natural food” movement that began in the late 1960s, but the VB is now a grocery store and BBQ staple popular with vegetarians…and many others looking for a tasty, healthy, and humane burger option.

The term veggie burger was first coined in 1982 with the introduction of the “VegeBurger” by Greg Sams, longtime London natural food advocate and restaurant owner.  Beating out names such as greenburger, earthburger, sesame burger, and plantburger (yum…) the VegeBurger went on to become one of the bestselling health food products ever, quickly reaching sales of 250,000 burgers per week.  Its popularity helped prove that there was an eager market for vegetarian food products, and added the prefix “veggie” to describe all things vegetarian.

Since then the veggie burger market has grown steadily.  You can now choose from several well-known national brands such as Gardenburger, Morningstar Farms, and Boca…as well as countless other smaller labels.  Variety of products has also expanded greatly.  Burgers come in more than one flavor (my favorites are portabella mushroom and spicy black bean), and vegetarian chicken patties, chicken nuggets, deli slices, hamburger-style crumbles, and even ribs are all widely available in both refrigerated and frozen form.  You can get a veggie burger at Burger King (I have had exactly one of these in my life and it was fast food veggie heaven).

As a nearly 10 year vegetarian, veggie burgers in their many forms and flavors are an absolute staple in my diet, and after years of buying them I have recently begun experimenting with making them myself at home. It’s so satisfying to start with a pile of ingredients and end up with an actual burger….and 10 of them for the price of a normal box of 4 is even more rewarding!

My absolute favorite variety is spicy black bean, so that’s what I tackled first. Getting the texture right so they don’t fall apart is a challenge, but they are certainly a flavor success and I know I will be making these for…probably the rest of my life.

This isn’t the place for a soap box, but I sure do love looking a cow (or a pig or chicken) in the eye and saying “Hello friend. I respect your spirit and I will not eat you. Even though you are pooping on the ground right now…and then stepping in it.”

PS… Hitler wasn’t a vegetarian. Enough already.

8 thoughts on “Veggie Burgers

  1. courtney says:

    i must admit…taking the first bite of a veggie burger was hard for me to do. i couldn’t get “hamburger” out of my head! but yes…the flavors nowadays are unbelievable. kudos for making your own! i wonder if they will freeze well?

    • Aimee says:

      they freeze beautifully! i think it actually helps them keep their shape a little better when you cook them.

      the best way to cook them, by the way, is in a skillet with a little cooking spray or drizzle of olive oil. it helps encourage the sear…and the sear encourages the shape. a grill or oven can lead to “dry burger” – which i don’t think anyone wants. ever.


  2. m.g.w. says:

    Because of you I actually love veggie burgers. Could you write up some sort of basic recipe for making these? I would love to attempt to make these at home. The picture of the one you made looks so good!

  3. Laurie says:

    I love homemade veggie burgers.

    I don’t know how I feel, as a Jew, about gratuitous use of Hitler to promote vegetarianism, however. Just sayin’


    • Aimee says:

      my problem has always been people using “well, wasn’t hitler a vegetarian?” to somehow discredit vegetarianism. anything associated with hitler is obviously heinous, so i want to make sure people are aware that he was NOT a vegetarian and his name should never be used to somehow lessen the pride veggies should take in their lifestyle choice.

      also lau…my first homemade veggie burger (that i can recall) was with you in virginia at that restaurant in lexington near the stonewall jackson house. i still think about its deliciousness.

      it had edible pansies on it!

  4. Brittany says:

    I have this dream of opening up a restaurant that is a diner/divey type place that serves various types of veggie burgers. With healthier side options. (You know…baked fries instead of deep fried ones.) I mean we can’t get rid of fries altogether. 🙂

    • Aimee says:

      Hi there! Oh boy, this was a long time ago and I don’t think I could remember it anymore! I have a new bean burger post coming out next week – stay tuned for that one!

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