Grilling season is upon us and just because you don’t eat meat, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious, juicy burger!

Veggie burgers are wonderful for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores; they pack loads of fibre, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. In turn, they help with weight control, prevent inflammation and still deliver a sufficient amount of protein. You can get creative and play around with different flavours and seasonings, like with these three burgers below.

1. Crunchy Sunshine Burger

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Ingredients:
1 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup brown rice or quinoa (dry)
1 cup beet, grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped finely
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pinch of black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a pot, combine ¾ cup of brown rice and 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and simmer for 25 minutes until the rice is fully cooked.
3. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend until a sticky mixture forms.
4. Shape the mixture into patties, place on a baking sheet linked with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
5. The burgers should be crunchy yet still moist and soft.

2. Oh My Chickpea Goodness Burger

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Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas (BPA free, if possible)
½ red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 small sweet potato
½ cup parsley
¼ cup chickpea flour
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp honey
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ lemon, squeezed

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Turn on a food processor; while it is running throw in the garlic clove so it is evenly chopped.
3. Add the sweet potato, parsley and onion to the food processor and pulse.
4. Open the can of chickpeas, rinse them and then add the chickpeas to the food processor. Pulse the mixture so some of the chickpeas are being mashed and some are retaining their shape.
5. Take the mixture out of the food processor and place in big bowl. Add the chickpea flour and seasoning to the bowl. Mix well so the entire chickpea mixture is seasoned.
6. Form into patties and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

3. Black Bean Rainbow Burger

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Ingredients:
1 can black beans (BPA Free, if possible)
½ cup quinoa, uncooked
¼ red onion, chopped
¼ cup corn
½ red pepper, chopped
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp  paprika
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp honey
½ lime, squeezed
1 tsp chili in adobo sauce (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place ½ cup of quinoa and 1 ½ cups of water in a pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Place the red onion, red pepper and cilantro in a food processor or chop very finely.
4. Open a can of black beans, rinse and add to the food processor. Pulse until some of the mixture is mushy and some beans are still intact.
5. Once the quinoa is cooked add it to a big bowl. Pour in the mixture that’s in the food processor.
6. Add in all of the spices, honey and lime. Mix everything together well so it is all seasoned.
7. Shape into patties, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Got Some Healthy Buns?

Most buns are made from white flour, which robs your body of nutrients and provides no real nutrition, and many of our bodies simply cannot tolerate whole-wheat based buns. In order to have your bun and eat it too, there are plenty of alternatives to amplify your burger and still maintain your health.

Gluten-Free Buns

A lot of people are sensitive to gluten, which is why the gluten-free craze is blowing up! Gluten is a protein found in certain grains, which gives it is a nice, fluffy texture. Although delicious, gluten can actually be the culprit of a lot of digestive and inflammatory issues. While I don’t necessarily believe everyone needs to remove gluten from their diet completely, it’s something you may want to limit and be conscious of when you’re eating it.

There are tons of gluten-free baked goods out there at health food stores and conventional grocery stores as well. Check the freezer section for gluten-free buns, but be sure to read the ingredients! There may be some additives you’re not familiar with such as xanthan gum. If the ingredient list gets too long or looks a bit too scientific, try searching for another brand. Alternatively, try experimenting in the kitchen with gluten-free flours and make your own!

Sprouted Buns

The act of sprouting grains is a really interesting process. Grains that are sprouted have higher protein and nutrient content; they have much higher levels of vitamins B and C than other options. Many people who are sensitive to certain flours can actually tolerate sprouted grains, and there are also great companies that make sprouted burger buns, sprouted wraps and sprouted bread . Check the grocery store freezer section or fresh bread section to the find some sprouted goodness.

Wraps & Bread

There are many different varieties of healthy wraps and bread out there; spelt, kamut, quinoa, gluten-free and sprouted. If you’re looking to have some carbs with your burger but don’t care if it’s a bun in particular, try slicing your burger and placing it in a wrap or using two pieces of bread. This way you’ll have a much heartier carbohydrate and still enjoy your delicious veggie burger too.

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.