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Secrets to the Best Grilled Vegie Burger

Updated on October 8, 2014

3 Secrets to the Best Grilled Burger

What are the secrets to any great burger?

1. the marinade

2. the barbeque

3. the condiments

It's true. An exquisite marinade and/or barbeque sauce can conquer any picky eater. Throw it on a grill and the aroma as it grills never fails to get the saliva flowing in anticipation.

If you're a busy parent with a herd of finicky eaters, you may well be convinced that ranch dressing and cheese could save the world, if they haven't already. If so, then you understand the Power of Condiments.

I live with an adult that dislikes some vegetables. Hence the birth of the hide-the-vegetables vegie burger.

This next bit is for seriously vegan adults and abnormal children: strict vegans can omit the dairy products and the egg in the following recipe. The guacamole will stand alone without the sour cream. You can add 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and a couple T of water to help your burgers stick together if you omit the egg, and the feta cheese is there because we love cheese. Suit yourself and enjoy!

Photo Credit - Creative Commons

white garlic
white garlic

Assembling the ingredients

for burgers for 4 people

These are the ingredients that sold the carrots to my "skip the cooked carrots" guy: garlic, marinated mushrooms, cheese. Swap out for your favorite disguises.

Marinade for 1 large chopped portabella mushroom cap (about 5" diameter):

2 T olive oil

1/2 T lemon juice

3 cloves minced garlic (yes, I've edited this to add more garlic; the more, the better!)


1 avocado

1/4 c sour cream

3 t fresh chopped cilantro

1 T lemon juice

1 T chopped onion

3 cloves minced garlic (see garlic edit above)

cayenne to taste

salt to taste


1/2 T olive oil

1/2 c minced onion

1 c grated carrots

3 cloves chopped garlic (yes, even more garlic!)

1 t cumin

1 t oregano

chili powder to taste

1/4 c instant rolled oats

1/4 c water

2 c cooked rice

2T feta crumbled feta cheese

2 T flour

1 beaten egg

Photo Credit

Grill amazing vegie burgers 12 months out of the year

This is my favorite grill - it can be used right on the table, hibachi-style, any time of year. The cover insures that no one gets splattered, nice safety feature.

oil and vinegar
oil and vinegar

The marinade

of the most basic sort

Soak the mushroom for a hour or two, overnight, whatever works for you. Reserve the marinade and brush it on as the burger cooks.

The key to a good marinade is in the oil-acid combo - substitute whatever oil you have and a vinegar or some lime. I've used an oil and vinegar-based salad dressing in a pinch.

The marinade is the perfect place to add whatever you or your family likes best - soy? Worcestershire? tomato? chili? honey? My family loves this oh so simple balsamic vinaigrette. I'm not a salad lover but this makes me look forward to my next salad, and it's equally as good on steamed vegies or as a marinade for roasted vegetables, pork, seafood, and chicken. I don't eat much red meat but I'm sure it would be delicious there as well.

Photo Credit - Creative Commons

Your next marinade will make them beg for more!

Fast and easy, can't complain about that. And it's delicious.

hoisin sauce
hoisin sauce

Rarely do I have all the ingredients in any ready-to-go recipe, and so I end up making up my own. Homemade is always better, since I dislike all the additives in commercial sauces. I don't expect you will have orange muscat champagne vinegar on hand, but you might, once you try it. Feel free to substitute what you have on hand, and experiment!

Prep time: 10 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: 8


  • 4 T soy sauce
  • 2 T peanut butter
  • I T honey
  • 1 T molasses
  • 2 T orange muscat champagne vinegar
  • 2 cloves grated garlic
  • 1/2 inch peeled and grated ginger root
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • 1 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 t black pepper


  1. Mix together by hand or in a blender. I usually just put it in a bottle or jar and shake. Either use it as a bbq sauce, marinade, or as a condiment, or all of the above. It is divine.
  2. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons - next time I make this, I'll be sure to take my own picture!
Cast your vote for Homemade Hoisin Sauce, my way

Guacamole is my favorite condiment!

What's yours?

Here's a hint: anything that's a dip can be a condiment on a burger too!

I serve my burgers with some very light corn chips and make enough guacamole that people can eat it either way or both ways. Some people even like to put it all between the buns, giving the burger some added crunch.

Photo Credit

Assembling the perfect vegie burger

~ drum roll please ~


Marinate the (chopped) mushroom for an hour or two, or overnight.

Soak oats in water for 5 minutes.

Saute onion, carrots and garlic in oil quickly at high heat, until onions are transparent.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, including the marinated mushroom. Adjust flour as needed to get a mixture that forms burgers and holds together.

Brush the burgers with olive oil and grill for 6 minutes on each side or until done. Brush with marinade while cooking.

Innovate! Create! Be bold and daring!

If you cook for someone with definite dislikes, or a whole family of opinionated eaters! - use this very simple formula: Hide something they don't like (such as cooked carrots) with something they do like (marinated mushrooms, cheese, lots of garlic, herbs, etc.) A tasty marinated burger with a slice of cheese on top can disguise zuccini, carrots, broccoli and other healthy items. Your family loves Worcestershire sauce and ranch dressing, and dislikes cooked vegies? Give them plenty of what they like and give it to them raw. Or, shred them and hide them in a yummy grilled burger.

I like my vegie burgers served on a bed of lettuce or spring greens, with guacamole and a slice of tomato on top. Others like the traditional bun and all the fixings. These are also great served with potato salad or three-bean salad.

You need the right tool for the job! - I'm more "hands-on" but I've used a food processor too

There is an art to using a food processor that can make it an extremely time- and labor-saving tool. It's all about processing ingredients in the right order so as to minimize having to clean out the machine in between ingredients. There's more to it, too....

I hope my vegie burger recipe sparked some ideas! - How do you "sell vegies" to your family?

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      quicpost 4 years ago

      Great recipes-thanks.

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      dellgirl 5 years ago

      This looks delicious, it's making me hungry. Thanks for sharing the secret. ThumbsUp!