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A Cheap Vegetarian Burger Substitute

Updated on August 3, 2012

Kidney Bean and Quinoa Burgers

Ready made vegetarian meat substitutes can be quite pricey, although tasty. I thought I'd share a recipe I use when making "burgers" from time to time. All of the ingredients are fairly inexpensive, and it's not too hard or complicated to make. Feel free to substitute any of the ingredients to your family's tastes.

About Quinoa: If you've never tried quinoa before it's usually found near the rice products. A lot of people think of it as a grain, but it's actually made from the seeds of a dark leafy plant. It's similar to brown rice in nutritional content, but has more protein. Quinoa is very versatile and can be used in lots of different recipes.

5 stars from 1 rating of Kidney Bean and Quinoa Burgers

Cook Time

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
Yields: 12-13

What you will need

  • A small pot with lid to cook the quinoa
  • Another small pot for the kidney beans (unless you are using canned)
  • A food processor or blender (a potato masher could work too)
  • Cutting board and knife for chopping veggies
  • Frying pan
  • Spatula


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 bunch celantro, chopped finely
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder, or to taste


  1. Prepare quinoa and kidney beans beforehand according to the package directions. Canned kidney beans work fine for this as well.
  2. Use a medium sized pan to heat the olive oil. Lightly brown your diced onion, celery, and carrots over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
  3. Combined cooked quinoa and kidney beans in a food processor or blender. Don't over blend them because you don't want it too mushy!
  4. Combine blended quinoa and kidney beans with the caramelized onion, celery, and carrots in a large bowl. Add in the minced jalapeno, salt and cumin powder. Mix all ingredients well.
  5. Form mixture into patties. The size and thickness really depends on your preference. Saute patties in a bit of oil over medium heat for about five minutes until they have a brown crispy crust.

Feel free to substitute something milder like green peppers for the jalapeno, especially if you will serving this to children. I haven't tried it yet, but I think mushrooms would make a yummy addition. You can also sub in whatever type of bean you have available. I have tried pinto beans, but found they came out a bit too mushy to fry well.

This recipe can take a while to make, especially when you factor in the time to cook the quinoa and beans. I usually make these over the weekend, then freeze and reheat during the week. My son is a fairly picky eater, but I've heard no complaints about these "burgers" on a bun when served with cheese and ketchup.


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    • ASchwartz profile image

      ASchwartz 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Thanks hyphenbird. We love quinoa too. I wish I had heard of it earlier.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      These look easy to make. I like foods with few ingredients. I shall make these for my family. I have been buying the premade veggie burgers but had decided to make my own after the ones we have are gone. Thanks for the great recipe.

      PS-We love quinoa!