When it comes to grilling recipes and outdoor bbq favorites, there is nothing quite like a delicious juicy burger! However, as much as I love a meaty burger or slider recipe, I also love filling my plate with fruits, vegetables and other plant-based ingredients like rice and beans. And, to celebrate one of my all-time spring and summer pastimes, I set out to make the best homemade meat-free burgers.

Using an incredible blend of RiceSelect® varieties and other meat-free ingredients, come along with me as I delve into the best recipes for smokey and savory veggie burgers that you can make at home. And the best part? You can choose how to cook them. You can grill them to get those classic “char” marks or sautée them to perfection for an evenly brown surface. So, get your bun and fancy fixings ready!

How To Make Homemade Veggie Burgers

To start, it’s important to understand what homemade burgers consist of. You may be familiar with traditional meat burgers that call for your favorite chicken, beef, pork or a mix. However, when it comes to making a meat-free burger, there is a whole world of new possibilities. So, I like to stick with a simple combination to ensure I have all of the necessary ingredients.

Essential Elements

  • Grains, Beans and Vegetables - for texture and flavor

  • Binder - to hold everything together

  • Flavor Enhancer - for added flavor including spices, sauces, cheeses, nuts, etc.

Keeping these three essential parts in mind, I created some wonderful recipe ideas using my favorite flavors. I also included delicious complementing toppings that will really make your burger pop. You’ll be wondering why you haven’t tried these ideas before!

The Best Meat-Free Burger Recipes

While traditional meals will always hold a special place in my heart, I often find that when I break away from using classic ingredients, I open up a whole new world of flavor and discover something unforgettable. These burgers are just that.

Grilled Veggie Burgers

Keeping those three essential ingredients in mind, I prepared the ultimate Grilled Veggie Burger Recipe. I started with a base of RiceSelect® Royal Blend® Rice and black beans for a rich dark color and loads of flavor, thanks to the blend of Texmati® white, brown, wild and red rices. For extra texture, I mixed in some sautéed onion and garlic pulsed with walnuts.

Then, to bind everything together I used panko breadcrumbs and flaxseed – this is an ideal vegan alternative to an egg binder.

Many people may not realize that a lot of meat dishes get their flavor from spices and added ingredients, so using meat-free alternatives can not only offer the same texture, but also be just as tasty! For these burgers, I made my own homemade spice rub: a blend of chili powder, brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder, coriander and cayenne. Trust me when I say you will not miss the meat at all!

Topping Tip: Serve with all of your favorite classic toppings such as guacamole or avocado, crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, tangy pickle and your bun of choice. Vegetarians can include any cheese or maybe even a fried egg on top.

Mexican-inspired Adobo Burgers

My next burger option is inspired by Mexican flavors using spicy chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce. These veggie burgers use a mix of aromatic Texmati® Brown Rice with kidney beans along with onions, garlic and toasted walnuts for a flavorful base.

To bind everything together, I used flax seeds and arrowroot powder, which is a Gluten Free alternative to traditional wheat flour.

For added flavor, I used fresh cilantro, spicy chipotle peppers and cumin seeds. I prepared a simple adobo sauce by simply whisking chipotle peppers liquid, arrowroot powder, maple syrup and water together then added fresh cilantro, spicy chipotle peppers and cumin seeds for a boost of flavor!

Grilling Tip: Keep an eye on them and when they are golden brown with those irresistible grill marks, they are done! With the top down, they should take no more than 10 minutes.

Bonus: Side Dish Suggestions

Of course, if you’re hosting a barbecue with friends or family or simply looking for incredible side dishes to pair with your gourmet-style homemade burgers, I’ve put together a few of my favorites. Try one of these or take a look at more spectacular summer salad ideas.

For a contrast of color, I enjoy using Premium Black Rice to prepare a flavorful and fresh Black Rice Salad with Edamame all drizzled in a grapefruit soy dressing.

Green Goddess Pearl Couscous Salad Recipe

Tossed with a yogurt green goddess dressing that’s bursting with zesty herbs, this fresh and hearty couscous salad is loaded with flavor.

Pesto Rice Salad Recipe

With fresh basil pesto and aromatic Texmati® Rice, this fresh rice salad recipe is courtesy of @TheBakerMama.

Couscous and Swiss Chard Tabbouleh Recipe

Packed with nutrient-dense Swiss chard and lots of herbs, this zesty couscous tabbouleh salad is light and refreshing. It makes a great side dish for barbecues and potlucks.

There are always plenty of ways that you can get creative in the kitchen with new ingredients like in these shrimp and rice recipes or in a couscous recipe; discover incredibly tasty ways to enhance your traditional favorites - even grilling recipes! Stay connected with more ideas on social media by following @RiceSelect. I’d love to see your creations.