Bean-Free Veggie Burgers

Why a veggie-burger without beans?  Because I eat beans pretty much every day, and no matter how much soaking and draining and herb-studding I do, there is a bit of residual gas my GI tract occasionally wants a break from.  These are grain and nut-studded patties with a healthy amount of vegetable thrown in.

Because the other purpose of these burgers is to reduce food waste.  At the price of fresh produce, particularly the organic stuff, every scrap counts.  So peelings and less than perfect parts of the week’s grocery get saved and simmered into stock.  The remaining solids, strained and squeezed out, become the food-filler which vehicles spices and keeps the veggie-burgers moist and perfect.

If you’re into West-Coast chic, the patties are amazing served on an olive bun, with some mayo, baby spinach and avocado slices alongside ginger-fig compote.  But in a regular kaiser bun with all the  fixings, maybe some BBQ sauce, they’re pretty great too.  Or forego the bread altogether and crumble them over a salad.  Or serve with peas, mash and gravy.  Because recipes should be versatile after all!

Yield: 12 patties

What you need:

  • 1 cup toasted almonds
  • 2 cups cooked whole barley, spelt or einkorn (pot barley works too, but one of the whole grains has better texture)
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 4 cups cooked vegetable scraps (see intro)
  • 3 tablespoons flax, ground
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter
  • 2 tablespoons organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses (no fancy molasses here, you really want blackstrap)
  • 2 small or 1 large clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper flakes

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line an large pan with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, reduce the almonds to a gravelly consistency.  Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. In the same work bowl (no need to wash it, just empty it and you’re good to go), process the cooked vegetables, sunflower seed butter, molasses, garlic, mustard, salt and chipotle pepper flakes until relatively smooth and uniform.
  4. Add the whole barley and chopped fresh parsley and pulse a few times to incorporate throughout, without turning it to mush.
  5. Empty the mixture into the bowl with the almonds.  Add the rolled oats and flax and mix (hands work well) until well combined.  If desired, refrigerate for a half-hour so shaping is easier, but the mixture should hold its shape even freshly made.
  6. Portion the mix by the 1/2 cup and shape into thick patties.  Bake the patties 30 minutes on one side, flip, and then cook for another 10 minutes.  The patties should be quite firm and nicely browned.       DSCN1178
  7. Serve immediately, or reheat by pan-frying or grilling briefly when ready to serve.


  • Feel free to swap the toasted almonds for another toasted nut or seed such as walnut, hazelnut or sunflower.  Same goes for the seed butter.
  • For a more Eastern European type of flavor, substitute the barley for buckwheat (not kasha, it’s too mushy – whole cooked buckwheat groats), the rolled oats for rye flakes, omit the chipotle pepper and add a 1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds to the mix.  Serve topped with sauerkraut and cashew sour cream.

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