The idea that vegetarians are out of luck at the backyard barbecue is a myth that has been wholly debunked. (Um, have you seen these grilled greens recipes?!) But let’s be honest: If you follow a vegetarian diet or are just trying to eat less meat, you’re already familiar with the tasteless hockey pucks—AKA veggie burgers—that are found in the frozen food aisle.
Yes, there are some good pre-made options out there, but homemade patties full of fresh ingredients almost always win out on the grill—both in terms of taste and nutritional value.
What makes veggie burgers such cookout champs? For one thing, they’re often packed with a plant-based protein like chickpeas or black beans, which means that you’re getting a serious macronutrient boost. They’ve also usually got a complex carbohydrate (that’s the good kind) in there, à la sweet potato or quinoa. Plus, the patties lend themselves to inventive flavor combinations that would make even the most diehard meat-eater grab a bun.
In other words, no matter the filler, veggie burgers are all killer. Especially these flavor-packed recipes that we’ve rounded up—each featuring a very different (but equally tasty) list of ingredients. The only problem? Good luck picking a favorite.
Keep reading for our five go-to veggie burger recipes.
1. Kale Burgers
We add the super-green to everything from smoothies to quinoa bowls, so why not burgers? Los Angeles healthy fast casual spot, Fala Bar, gets the inspiration for their veggie pattie from falafel, and adds garbanzos to the full-of-greens burger. There’s a reason why it’s one of their most popular menu options.
Try it: Fala Bar’s Kale Burgers
2. Yam Burgers
The colorful tubers are full of vitamins and fiber, and their starchy consistency makes them ideal for holding a patty together. Gluten-free? Enjoy your burger between a makeshift portobello cap bun (pictured above). Feeling adventurous? Blend in your favorite pulses or grains for some added texture and nutrition.
3. Lentil Burgers
The UN officially declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (yes, for real), so lentil burgers are basically one of this summer’s trendiest foods. The natural protein source is rich in iron and gut-boosting fiber (among other vitamins), making it ideal for a meatless burger. My Nguyen of My Healthy Dish adds crimini mushrooms, sunflower seeds, and lots of spices to hers. And bonus: Those microgreens make a for a tasty topping.
Try It: My Healthy Dish’s Vegan Burger
4. Quinoa Burger
The super-grain adds protein and a healthy source of whole grains to meatless patties. Whether mixed with chickpeas and summer veggies like zucchini, or sweet potatoes and nuts full of healthy fats like walnuts—which also improve sleep quality—quinoa burgers are just another way to make good use of the always-buzzworthy grain.
5. Black Bean Burgers
The “vegetarians don’t get enough protein” line has already been squashed, but just in case you’re still in doubt: black beans pack 15 grams of protein per cup, or one-third of what you need for the whole day. (Brush up on your protein factoids here.) The Minimalist Baker fills her burgers with smoky spices and adds cocoa for an unexpected (and delicious) flavor combo.
Try it: Hearty Cocoa Black Bean Burgers