Vegetarian Burger Experiment


The finished product along with zero calories dill pickles. I guessed 200 calories per pattie but it may be as low as 150 each.

I am now in the healthy stage of life. That means that I am overweight, have high cholesterol numbers, and shortness of breath after bending down to tie my shoes (at least I still tie Velcro for me).

Now if I want to add on a few years to my enjoyable life it may help to eat well and exercise. Where did I hear that before? The exercise part, at this point, consists of mowing the lawn each week (1.5 hours total, 675 calories). Other forms of exercise (walking, jumping, bending, etc. bore me). The diet part is working out pretty good since I started counting calories with an iPad app called My Fitness Pal. My daughter Lenore (exercise freak & 1/2 marathon runner) told me about it.

Recently I learned that hamburgers are not the most healthy food when you consider all the cholesterol and calories in them (“Stay away from red meat” said my family doctor). One alternative is vegetarian burgers. I have tried the store-bought frozen varieties and some of them are pretty good. All of them cost over $1.50 per burger. I can get a burger, bun, and condiments, all cooked, at McDonald’s for $0.89. What’s wrong with this picture? Maybe I have to try to make these veggie burgers myself. I started out by challenging a friend of my son’s, Jill, to bring homemade veggie burgers to a recent cookout we all attended. She did and they were great! That gave me the incentive to try to make them myself.


I mixed everything together first before grinding. I used a little electric food chopper (don’t have a food processor) & did it in stages. The result is in the bowl on left.

I got a recipe from an Internet site and tried it out. I used rice for the texture, black beans for the meat, and cornmeal (grits) for the base ingredient.  Lightly fried carrots, onions, and celery were part of the mix along with a healthy garlic clove (I can still smell that with every breath). Barbecue sauce (liquid flavor), paprika, and Italian dry seasoning were added for more flavor. It took way too long to make 8 burgers! I also ended up with a real messy kitchen; although my wife did clean it up for me.

Results? I would ditch the Italian seasoning next time. It does not work. I might use a more dense barbecue sauce and more of it too … or maybe steak sauce. The burgers themselves actually looked like hamburger and held together real well. I ate them with no bun or condiments. This is definitely a recipe that needs to mature, but  I think I have the basics down. All in all, a good experiment!


How’s that for something that looks like hamburger but isn’t? They held together well. Total yield was 8 large burgers (this bowl was filled eventually). Excess burgers were put on waxed paper and frozen.

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4 Responses to Vegetarian Burger Experiment

  1. Lynn says:

    Were they moist or more on the dry side?

    • Kenneth Carr says:

      They came out sort of like a medium to well done hamburger.
      I’s say a little on the more dry side; although, it has been a
      while since I made these and I don’t recall exactly.
      They did not hold together quite as well as I would like and I
      recommend a bit of experimenting.

  2. Princess says:

    I am a new mostly plant-based eater (I CANNOT / WON’T give up fish!…at least not for now) So w are Pescatarians that do not eat dairy products, so no eggs, cheese or anything that contains dairy like ice cream…bummer but we make our own out of Almond or Cashew Milk with no sugars added to dress it up we sometime put in granola & yellow raisins and that does the trick).

    I have managed to change the entire household of 5 to this new healthier eating life change, two have decided to become raw veggie eaters (I am not there yet). We all feel and look better…how can I tell, well on the feeling part we are all up bright and early (wasn’t a norm here at all) and we are so much more energetic and besides we can see it. I personally have lost over 20lbs with the eating change Plant Based (NO to the S’s….Nooooo Sugar, Salt or Starches) and I exercise. I have always HATED exercise of every kind but I saw Orange Theory (curiosity got the best of me) and decided to give it a try and I love it! I started the first month going 3 to 4 times a week but could not keep up with that with my work schedule so I went down to 2 times a week (only 8 times a month) and that works well for me. It is well ventilated, clean, everyone wipes everything down after each use (they provide the sanitation wipes), and it is wiped down again after every class, it does not smell funky like a bunch of people sweating all over you (like at most gyms), it is small and intimate and there is a coach coaching you (even giving you exercise options)all the way every time you go.

    We (my household) have also incorporated the 8+8+8=24 which is……
    8 hrs of work, 8 hours of enjoyment and 8 hrs of sleep this in of itself has been unbelievable! That is our 24 hour day!

    So back to how I got here in the first place….I went to my local Nature store and they have an eat-in area where they serve vegan food and I saw the Vegetable Baha Burger and Above and Beyond Burger, both were great so I decided to try my hand at making them myself thus your Vegan Burger Recipe Experiment. I will be making this today, I am thankful for your advice. Good luck to you Kenneth!

    • Kenneth Carr says:

      Great story! I only wish I had your ability to stick to a
      winning program.

      Keep up the good work and always experiment for a more healthy life.

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