Grillable vegan burgers!! And grilled flatbread

Beet & bean burgers

Here at The Ordinary, we have an extensive labyrinth of underground bunker-kitchens. In this subterranean kingdom we work on our most specialized and top secret foods. (We’re currently working on a candy that glows with a blinking light and flits around your backyard on soft summer evenings – you have to catch it before you can eat it! Don’t tell! Very hush hush] Well, for years, we’ve exhausted innumerable resources and personnel trying to develop a vegan burger that would be grillable. It needed to stay together, and not fall apart in a crumbly mess. It needed to actually become browned and crispy – not just leave all the brown and crispy bits clinging to the grill. It needed to taste good, and be easy an economical to make. Mwah ha ha ha!!! WE HAVE DONE IT! [lightening strike!]

Beet burger

Actually, this was our first attempt, and it worked, and we had so much fun making it, and were so thrilled that it worked that it’s just silly. The burger is made of roasted beets, shallots, and garlic, basmati rice, bread crumbs, roman beans, and seasoning. That’s it! Simple, cheap, and really tasty! We seasoned ours with sage, rosemary, smoked paprika, and just a smidge of chipotle and marmite, but you could easily use any seasoning you like. You could make spicy burgers with more chipotle, you could make curried burgers. You could also use a different bean, pinto would be nice! Try these even if you think you don’t like beets, because beets that are roasted/toasted, and then mixed with other stuff, and then grilled, would probably appeal to just about anyone, be they a beet lover or a beet hater. If you really really can’t eat beets, I think these would work with roasted mushrooms instead. I’ll try it and let you know!! Can I just say that this particular combination, when being mixed and mushed, looks disconcertingly like ground beef! Very strange.

Grilled flatbread

We ate these with flatbreads, which we also grilled!! They were browned and crispy on the outside, and soft and flavorful inside. We cut them in half, lengthwise, and put a burger and lots of lettuce and tomato inside. Very fun to make, very tasty! We also ate these with a slice of sharp cheddar melted on top. The burgers may be vegan, but we’re not! I’m sure it would be good with vegan cheese, or no cheese at all.

Malcolm and a beet burger

We wanted to use the beet greens as well, because they were so pretty, so we boiled them for a few minutes, and then sautéed them with zucchini, garlic and red pepper flakes. Then we tossed a small handful of chopped roasted cashews, and a small handful of grated coconut (the sweet kind!) and a few fresh basil leaves. Delicious!

Beet greens, coconut, and cashews

Here’s George McCrae with WE DID IT! What a happy song!

2 medium-sized beets, grated
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic – skin slashed
2 T olive oil
1 t balsamic
1 t sage
1 t rosemary
1 can roman beans or pinto beans
2 slices whole wheat bread, ground to crumbs
1 cup cooked rice (I used basmati)
1/2 t smoked paprika
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
1/4 t chipotle
1/2 t marmite

Combine the beets, shallot, olive oil, balsamic, sage and rosemary and mix well. Spread on a baking sheet. Put the clove of garlic in with them as well. You can toast this in the toaster, or roast in the oven at 400. 20 – 30 minutes should do it. You want the beets to be dark and smell almost like burnt sugar. (But not be actually burnt, obviously!)

Tip the beets into a large bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs, the rice and the smoked paprika. Mix well. Stir in the chipotle and marmite. (These won’t stir in that easily, but you’ll be doing plenty of mixing, so eventually they’ll get all spread out.)

Rinse the beans and drain them well in a strainer. Add them to the beet/rice mixture. Using a potato masher, a fork, or the back of a spoon, smush them and mix them in. I left a few whole beans, but mostly made it very smushy. Season well with salt and pepper. You should have quite a thick mixture at this point. Form it into patties about 3 inches wide by 1/2 inch thick. (I made five) Set these on a plate and chill till you’re ready to cook them.

When your grill is hot, brush each patty on both sides with a thin coating of olive oil. Set them right on the grill. They shouldn’t stick at all. Well, maybe a tiny bit at first. Turn them carefully! When they’re as charred as you like on both sides, take them off and eat them.

The burgers are vegan, but we’re not, so we added a slice of cheddar to ours.


1 t dry yeast
1 t sugar
1/2 cup warm water

Combine these and set them aside for a few minutes

3 cups flour
1 t salt
lots of black pepper
1 t basil (dried is fine)
1 t oregano (dried is fine)
3 T olive oil
extra warm water.

Combine the flour, pepper, salt and herbs. Make a well in the center and add the oil and yeast/water mixture. Mix well, and add just enough warm water to form a workable dough. Knead for about ten minutes, till it’s smooth and elastic. Roll it all around in a small amount of olive oil in a bowl. Cover with a damp cloth.

Set aside to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Fold it over to deflate it. Set it aside to rise again for about another hour.

Form into balls and roll out to be about 5 inches wide and 1/3 inch thick. (Or you can make them as large as you like them!) I made five flatbreads. Set them on a plate and leave them for about half an hour while you heat up the grill. You don’t have to cover them at this stage.

When your grill is hot, put these right on the grill. They should get brown and lovely. Turn them over to brown the other side. You can cover the grill to ensure they cook just right.

I kept these warm in a 400 degree oven, which also satisfied me that the center would be cooked all the way through.


2 thoughts on “Grillable vegan burgers!! And grilled flatbread

  1. wow, you’ve done better than every veggie/bean burger I’ve ever bought in a shop, they look a great colour and tasty.
    In your top secret laboratory, how is research into vegetarian marshmallows going? I miss them 🙂

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