Veggie Burgers

Veggie burgers made with mushrooms and barley are an amazing riff on the classic soup. Umami bombs in buns.

A veggie burger topped with mushrooms and thyme on an oval plate.

This veggie burger, based on the fortifying mushroom and barley soup, is simple and abundant in mushroom flavor. Substitute other mushroom varieties, such as plain button or exotic oyster, if you like. The combination of barley and ‘shrooms makes for a deliciously chewy, nutty-tasting burger.–Lukas Volger

Can veggie burgers be made with leftover cooked veggies and grains?

We gotta say, this recipe makes a ridiculously irresistible veggie burger. (And we don’t even like veggie burgers. Except for these. We swear.) To save time and fuss, we turn to this recipe those weeks when we’ve thought ahead and have some cooked grains and potatoes stashed in the fridge, which allows us to whip these burgers up in a jiffy. (Though yes, they’re eminently worth the time and dirty dishes invested in starting them from scratch.)

Veggie Burger

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 20 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes 4 to 6
4/5 - 2 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Veggie Burgers Every Which Way cookbook

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Ingredients


Directions

Steam or boil the potatoes until fork-tender, 20 to 30 minutes or so. Drain the potatoes. Transfer to a plate and mash half of them with a fork.

Meanwhile, trim the stems from the mushrooms and discard. Scoop out the gills from the portobello and discard. Cut the cap into 1/2-inch chunks. Thinly slice the cremini and shiitake caps.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the portobello and thyme for 6 to 8 minutes, until the mushroom begins to soften and throw off its liquid. Add the creminis and shiitakes and cook for 10 minutes, until they’ve thrown off their moisture and all the liquid has completely evaporated. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or so.

Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped or, if you prefer, finely chop the mushroom mixture by hand. Dump the chopped mushroom mixture into a bowl and, using your hands, add half the mashed potato along with the barley, salt, and pepper. If the mixture isn’t sticking together properly, mash the remaining potato and add it to the mixture, a little at a time, until everything begins to cling together. Shape the mixture into 4 to 6 burgers.

Tester tip: Mixing everything until it sticks together is critical when it comes to the ability of your resulting burger to stick together. In the words of author Lukas Volger, if what results is “too wet, it squeezes out the other side of the bun, and if it’s too dry, it crumbles.” It’s a delicate balance. Trust us.] 

In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the burgers, working in batches if necessary so as not to crowd the skillet, and cook until browned on each side, 6 to 10 minutes total. The burgers tend to be somewhat delicate, so flip them only once, preferably using a thin, flexible metal spatula.

Move the skillet to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through. Place on buns and have at it—carefully, though, as the burgers tend to be on the crumbly side of things. Originally published May 14, 2012.

Print RecipeBuy the Veggie Burgers Every Which Way cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

These burgers are as delicious as they are inventive, and a wonderful rebuke to the army of heavily processed, hockey puck-like soy patties that darken supermarket freezer shelves. The combination of barley, mushrooms, and potatoes is a harmonious one, and the resulting flavor is robust, earthy, and very satisfying.

These veggie burgers are relatively easy to put together, and require only a little advance planning (i.e. taking the time to cook the potatoes and barley). I combined everything by hand. A potato masher works quite well for this, by the way. I got 7 burgers out of the recipe. If I were to change anything next time, I'd use a little more salt and pepper. Otherwise, terrific!

This was the best veggie (well, technically, vegan) burger I’ve ever had. It was definitely every bit as satisfying as a meat burger. Personally, I wouldn’t eat it on a bun as it already has grains in it and besides, it was a little too crumbly to eat with your hands.

However, it made an amazing fork-and-knife meal with a dollop of guacamole. The recipe made 4 BIG burgers. And don’t peel the potato. Leaving the peel on helps the potato work better as a binder.

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