Cut the Cow: 5 Meat-Free Burger Recipes

We’re about to show you how you can go meat-free this month and have a burger, too. Yes, it is possible. You just have to be willing to go outside your ground meat comfort zone, and it may or may not involve chickpeas.

The name of the game is veggie burgers, and before you run for the hills, we encourage you to give these inoffensive patties a try. Sure, you probably won’t find the die-hard carnivore converting to the veggie variation anytime soon, but veggie burgers are still a great way to reduce red meat in your diet and cut calories and saturated fat. Veggie burgers are often low in calories, and on top of that, they provide plenty of protein and fiber.

Here are 5 ways you can interchange your typical meaty burger for a lighter variation tonight. These patties offer a great way to cut down on red meat while satisfying your nutritional needs, dinner cravings, and taste buds.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Traditional veggie burgers

First up, the iconic veggie burger — the one people think of when they see the two words next to each other on a menu or hear that’s what they’re having for Friday night dinner. When most restaurants serve veggie burgers, they make a patty made of up ground-up vegetables, such as beans, mushrooms, and carrots. These veggies are packed with nutrients and are full of fiber, which is why many veggie burgers also boast an impressive nutritional profile.

The great thing about veggie burgers is that they are extremely customizable, and as long as you have a good food processor, you can pick and choose what ingredients you want going into your patties. Here’s an example of a recipe from Cooking Light for a classic veggie burger to get you started. From there, you can mix and match your own add-ins.


  • 1 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped carrot
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon amchur powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and quartered
  • 2 pounds peeled red potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Combine first nine ingredients in the bowl of a food processor; process until finely chopped.

Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 13 minutes. Add onion, and cook for 2 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain; cool 10 minutes. Place potato mixture in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher or fork. Stir in chickpea mixture and breadcrumbs; cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.

Divide potato mixture into eight equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty (about ⅔ cup mixture). Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add four patties to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned and heated through. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and four patties. Place ⅓ cup spinach and one patty in each pita half. Top each serving with one onion slice.