Quinoa and Bean Burger: Great-to-Grill Vegan Recipes

Quinoa and Bean Burger, gluten-free and vegan

Most of my grilling happens with vegetables because nearly any veggie can be transformed into smoky deliciousness with a simple turn on the grate. Think mushrooms, eggplant, bell peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and even broccoli. But to get the summer really going, I need a good, hearty burger I can sink my teeth into.

There are a ton of veggie burgers out there in the supermarket, but most are disappointingly bland and so processed that you might do better chewing on a chunk of rubber. My hometown newspaper The Washington Post, whose food section has turned rather vegetarian-friendly over the past few months, recently did a taste test of 16 veggie burgers on the market (gulp, did you even know there were that many available?). As you can see the results were anything but encouraging. In fact, the most complimentary comment went something like, “Nice to see recognizable produce.”
But while off-the-shelf veggie burgers might leave you wanting, it is quite possible to turn out in your kitchen an all-veg burger that is delicious and satisfying enough to make a voracious carnivore go, who needs meat? Well, almost.
Quinoa and Bean Burger, gluten-free and vegan

A couple of years back, I posted a great-on-the-grill burger recipe that so many of you love and have tried: my Bean and Oats Burger. That healthy patty has amazing texture and holds well on a grill and it is pretty much my go-to burger recipe. But this week, trying to think of an even better-for-you burger, if possible, I dreamed up and then made this startlingly flavorful, utterly healthy Quinoa and Bean Burger. With kale and carrots and all other sorts of veggie goodness rolled into it. And all of it flavored with some smoking-hot garam masala.

Garam masala is not your average burger ingredient and yet it’s a perfect fit. Spices tend to add depth and smokiness to meat-free ingredients. And I dare you to imagine a burger — vegan or not– filled with more heart-healthy protein than the quinoa and beans pack into this recipe.
I hope everyone has been enjoying the warm weather here in our part of the world. I spent the long Memorial Day weekend trying to beat my yard into shape and not even coming close to where I need to be. But I did plant some seedlings: tomatoes, eggplants, bell pepper,  and zucchini. And between watering them and keeping the weeds out, you can bet I will be praying that my thumb’s gotten a little greener after years of trial and error. :)
Moving on to the recipe. Enjoy, all!
Quinoa and Bean Burger, gluten-free and vegan


5.0 from 1 reviews
Quinoa and Bean Burger: Great-to-Grill Vegan Recipes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Grill
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup dry red kidney beans (rajma)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour, also known as besan or garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 cup packed kale leaves, minced
  • 4 leaves of sage, minced. (Sage adds a great smokiness, but you can also use coriander leaves here.)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tbsp tamari, or you can use regular soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika (use cayenne for more heat)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil like olive or canola, and an oil spray to cook the burgers
  1. To cook the quinoa, rinse under cold water and then place in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and garam masala. Add salt to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and let the quinoa cook until it has absorbed most of the water. Place a tight-fitting lid on the saucepan and continue to cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. To cook the beans, it is always better to soak them overnight but you can get away with no soaking if you have a pressure cooker. If you do, just follow your manufacturer’s instructions to get beans that are squishable but not falling apart. Otherwise, place the soaked beans in a large saucepan, cover with at least an inch of water, bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about an hour until tender.
  3. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large saucepan.
  4. Add the carrot, onion, kale, sage, and garlic. Add the tamari, mustard, coriander and cumin powders and the cayenne. Saute on medium-high heat about 5-8 minutes or until the mixture is dry and doesn’t taste raw anymore. Stir in the tomato paste and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the ground black pepper and cooked beans and mix well. Using a potato masher, squish some of the beans. You don’t want this mixture to be too smooth– your burger will benefit from some texture.Add the chickpea flour and stir for another couple of minutes. You want the bean mixture to be quite dry and without any visible moisture, or your patties won’t hold together.Add the quinoa and mix well. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Heat a griddle and spray with some oil. Moisten your hands in a water bath and form the patties. You can get about eight really big patties and 10 good-sized ones from this recipe.
  7. Place the patties on the skillet and cook on each side until browned.
  8. You can freeze these patties once they have cooled. Separate each patty with wax paper before freezing. When you are ready to grill, just throw the frozen patty on the grate and heat through.

I served these burgers piping hot, cradled in my Whole Wheat Burger Buns along with some greens, onions, avocado, and a dollop of Nayonaise (it’s a vegan mayo that tastes amazingly like the real thing on the bun).


Vegan burger nutrition info
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.


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  1. says

    What a great burger! I have bookmarked this.
    I must check what Nayonaise is – never heard of it, but would like to try it :) (there is no way I will eat mayo!)

  2. says

    That is such a gorgeous looking burger! We haven’t had an outdoor grill for a few years and recipes like this really make me miss it.

  3. says

    Hi Vaishali, I will definitely be tyring this out, I cooked some kindney beans a while ago and they have been sitting in my freezer waiting for them to be used. The time has come =)

  4. says

    Hi Vaishali, the 1 cup kidney beans and 1 cup quinoa…is that the dry (uncooked) measurement or the cooked measurement? Sorry, for the silly question…:)

  5. says

    OMG THESE ARE DELICIOUS AND JUST WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR!!!! YUMMMMMMMM!!!!! I have a love of all foods delicious and have many friends who are vegan so with a BBQ coming up I wanted things to be able to serve for EVERYONE and THIS IS IT!!! I am having a slider bar (mini burgers) and this will be the PERFECT vegan choice. I have to say I made them last night at 9pm and have eaten 3 massive burgers just on a plate with nothing else today one for breakfast, one for lunch and one for dinner with some fruit as a snack in between and am STILL FULL! (I made 8 massive patties from this recipe in my burger press) this will definitely be a HIT and OMG DO THEY SMELL AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS!!! I put a few in the freezer prior to cooking and I think it will work just fine! THANK YOU THANK YOU for such an amazing vegan treat!

  6. Anonymous says

    Ok.. you have to hear this! I LOVE burgers but have not found a decent burger patty out in the market. Everything is so bleah. Only Trader Joe’s masala burger patty seemed ok but even then I was not comfortable using frozen food so often (My husband comes home from work super hungry and frozen patties are a blessing!! ) I found this recipe of yours and because I got so excited, without even trying it out I shared the link with a friend. She was excited because her 3 yr old sun was having a play date with an American friend in 2 days time and this would be ideal for the kids. She made it and apparently it was such a hit with the kids that my friend’s 8 yr old daughter requested her mom to make the same patty in a hot dog shape that she could take to friends at school. Now isn’t that cool? 😀 My motto – if an 8 yr old and a 3 yr old love it, go for it! 😀 So am going to make a huge batch this weekend to put in the freezer. Am travelling for a few months and this should be a lifesaver for my husband’s “I am super hungry, feed me NOW” evenings. Thank you for the recipe!

  7. Anonymous says

    Just made these this afternoon. YUM! I added shredded Detroit beets, too. Definitely turned everything pink, but I am excited. Also, added smoked paprika and some smokey spice blends. Can’t wait to server them to my hub later with baby arugula and basil hummus.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Anonymous says

    I don’t have time to do dried beans – how much kidney beans would you use if they’re straight from the can?

  9. says

    Tried this recently and they were excellent. I’ve made several different bean burgers out there recently, and these are one of the best. Complex in flavor but simple to make. I sub’d canned/rinsed kidney beans and black beans. The garam in the quinoa is brilliant. Thank you!

  10. Ellen Lederman says

    Loved these! And they didn’t fall apart on the grill. Served it with a red cabbage/arugula salad with a roasted pepita/mustard sauce and oven-baked beer fries. Thanks so much for the nice Memorial Day grill (who says we whole food vegans can’t enjoy our holiday food?).

    • says

      Thanks for letting me know, Ellen, and so happy you liked them! Your sides sound incredible– especially the fries. :) And yes, who says we vegans don’t have food fun?

  11. Gemi says

    I’m not vegan but this looks really delicious. What can I substitute for tomatoe paste and kale? Can I use a fresh tomatoe?

  12. Jill says

    We loved this recipe. I made it with chickpeas instead of kidney beans because I had some made and used frozen spinach instead of kale and coconut amigos for my daughter who is allergic to soy. Came out great for us adults and then I made bite size chickpea nuggets for my 2 year old which satiated her need to dip everything in ketchup. We will definitely be making this recipe regularly now.

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