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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Marsh

Plant-Based Flexitarian Alternatives to the Classic American Hamburger

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

Embracing Health and Flavor: Exploring Plant-Based Flexitarian Alternatives to the Classic American Hamburger

veggie classic burger


The iconic American hamburger holds a special place in the hearts of many, symbolizing comfort, indulgence, and all things delicious. However, with an increasing focus on health and sustainability, more people are exploring alternative options that cater to both their love for burgers and their desire to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Enter the realm of plant-based flexitarian alternatives – a delightful fusion of plant-based goodness and meat-inspired satisfaction. In this blog post, we'll delve into the reasons why these alternatives are a healthier choice and introduce you to three mouthwatering plant-based burger recipes that rival the classic American hamburger.

The Healthier Choice:

Embracing a plant-based flexitarian lifestyle offers numerous health benefits. Plant-based diets are often rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, promoting heart health, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, and supporting overall well-being. By incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet, you can enjoy a reduced intake of saturated fats and cholesterol while savoring a diverse array of nutrients from whole foods.

Recipe 1: Beet and Mushroom Burger:

The Beet and Mushroom Burger is a colorful and savory alternative to the traditional beef patty. Beets bring a natural sweetness and vibrant hue, while mushrooms add a meaty texture and earthy flavor. These plant-based delights are loaded with nutrients and provide a rich source of antioxidants, essential vitamins, and minerals. Serve them with lettuce wraps or your favorite burger buns for a delightful feast.


  • 1 cup grated beets

  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (Portobello or cremini)

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal

  • 2 tablespoons tamari sauce (or soy sauce for non-raw option)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Lettuce leaves, tomato slices, and avocado for serving


  1. In a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until finely chopped. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl.

  2. Add grated beets, sunflower seeds, flaxseed meal, tamari sauce, olive oil, minced garlic, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper to the bowl with the mushrooms.

  3. Mix all the ingredients well until everything is evenly combined.

  4. Shape the mixture into burger patties and place them on a dehydrator tray or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  5. Dehydrate the patties at 115°F (46°C) for 4-6 hours or until they reach your desired texture. Alternatively, you can refrigerate them for a couple of hours to firm up before serving.

  6. Serve the beet and mushroom burgers in lettuce wraps or with your favorite burger buns. Top with lettuce leaves, tomato slices, and avocado.

  7. Beet and Walnut Burger:

Nutrition Facts (per patty):

  • Calories: 150

  • Total Fat: 8g

    • Saturated Fat: 1g

    • Trans Fat: 0g

  • Cholesterol: 0mg

  • Sodium: 350mg

  • Total Carbohydrates: 15g

    • Dietary Fiber: 6g

    • Sugars: 4g

  • Protein: 7g

  • Servings: This recipe makes approximately 4-6 burgers.

quinoa black bean veggie burger

Recipe 2: Quinoa and Black Bean Burger:

For those seeking a protein-packed option, the Quinoa and Black Bean Burger is the way to go. The combination of quinoa and black beans provides a complete source of protein and an array of essential amino acids. Additionally, the fiber content helps keep you feeling satisfied and supports digestive health. Enjoy these burgers with your favorite toppings for a satisfying and nutrient-dense meal.


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1/2 cup diced bell peppers (any color)

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Burger buns and toppings of your choice


  1. In a food processor, pulse the black beans until partially mashed. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl.

  2. Add cooked quinoa, diced bell peppers, chopped cilantro, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, ground cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper to the bowl with black beans.

  3. Mix all the ingredients well until they are evenly combined.

  4. Shape the mixture into burger patties and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and bake the patties for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until they are heated through and slightly crispy.

  6. Serve the quinoa and black bean burgers on burger buns with your favorite toppings.

Nutrition Facts (per patty):

  • Calories: 180

  • Total Fat: 2.5g

    • Saturated Fat: 0g

    • Trans Fat: 0g

  • Cholesterol: 0mg

  • Sodium: 260mg

  • Total Carbohydrates: 32g

    • Dietary Fiber: 9g

    • Sugars: 1g

  • Protein: 9g

  • Servings: This recipe makes approximately 4-6 patties.

Recipe 3: Portobello Mushroom and Eggplant Burger:

Looking for a lighter yet incredibly flavorful alternative? The Portobello Mushroom and Eggplant Burger is the answer. Grilled Portobello mushrooms serve as the "patty," offering a hearty and meaty texture, while eggplant rounds add a touch of smokiness. These low-calorie gems are packed with antioxidants, making them a delightful choice for health-conscious burger lovers.


  • 4 large Portobello mushroom caps

  • 1 small eggplant, sliced into rounds

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Burger buns and toppings of your choice


  1. In a shallow dish, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dried thyme, salt, and pepper.

  2. Brush the Portobello mushroom caps and eggplant slices with the marinade, making sure to coat them evenly.

  3. Preheat the grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the mushrooms and eggplant slices for 4-5 minutes per side until they are tender and grill marks appear.

  4. Assemble the Portobello mushroom and eggplant burgers on burger buns with your favorite toppings.

Nutrition Facts (per patty):

  • Calories: 120

  • Total Fat: 7g

    • Saturated Fat: 1g

    • Trans Fat: 0g

  • Cholesterol: 0mg

  • Sodium: 30mg

  • Total Carbohydrates: 14g

    • Dietary Fiber: 4g

    • Sugars: 5g

  • Protein: 4g

  • Servings: This recipe makes approximately 4-6 burgers.

Note: Nutrition facts are estimates and can vary based on the specific ingredients and quantities used in each recipe. Additionally, if you choose to add burger buns and additional toppings, the overall nutritional content will change. It's always a good idea to double-check the nutrition information for each ingredient you use and adjust the values accordingly.

vegetarian hamburger meat alternatives

There are plenty of creative plant-based alternatives for making burgers that resemble traditional hamburgers in appearance. Here are some popular options:

  1. Beyond Burger: The Beyond Burger is a widely available plant-based burger that looks and cooks like a beef patty. It's made primarily from pea protein and is known for its meat-like texture and appearance.

  2. Impossible Burger: Similar to the Beyond Burger, the Impossible Burger is another popular plant-based option made from soy-based heme and other plant-based ingredients. It's known for its juicy, meaty texture and appearance.

  3. Jackfruit Burger: Jackfruit, when cooked and seasoned, has a fibrous texture similar to pulled pork or shredded chicken. When seasoned and formed into patties, it can resemble a meaty burger.

  4. Black Bean Burger: A classic option, black bean burgers are made from mashed black beans mixed with various seasonings and binders. They can have a substantial texture and appearance that resembles a traditional burger.

  5. Tempeh Burger: Tempeh is a fermented soy product with a nutty flavor and a firm texture. When seasoned and grilled, it can make a great burger patty.

  6. Lentil Burger: Lentils, when cooked and mashed, can be shaped into burger patties. They have a hearty texture and are packed with protein and fiber.

  7. Portobello Mushroom Burger: Grilled portobello mushroom caps can serve as a flavorful and meaty replacement for burger patties.

  8. Chickpea Burger: Chickpeas, when mashed and combined with various herbs and spices, can create a satisfying burger patty.

  9. Tofu Burger: Tofu can be pressed, marinated, and grilled to create a burger with a chewy texture.

  10. Cauliflower Burger: Cauliflower can be finely chopped and mixed with various ingredients to create a burger patty with a light and crispy texture.

  11. Sweet Potato Burger: Mashed sweet potatoes, combined with oats or breadcrumbs, can make a tasty and colorful burger option.

  12. Rice Burger: Cooked rice can be mixed with seasonings and formed into patties, providing a unique twist on the traditional burger.

These alternatives can be seasoned and dressed with various toppings, condiments, and sauces to create delicious plant-based burgers that mimic the appearance and flavor of traditional hamburgers. They are perfect for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone looking to reduce their meat consumption while still enjoying a satisfying burger experience.


Transitioning to plant-based flexitarian alternatives for the classic American hamburger opens up a world of delectable flavors and health benefits. By embracing these alternatives, you can enjoy the satisfaction of a burger while making a positive impact on your well-being and the environment. So, take a leap into the world of plant-based goodness and embark on a culinary journey that will leave your taste buds and body rejoicing.

Site Sources:
  1. Harvard Health Publishing - The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

  2. Mayo Clinic - Meatless Meals: The Benefits of Eating Less Meat

  3. American Heart Association - Plant-Based Diet

Recommended Reading:
  1. "Forks Over Knives" by Gene Stone and T. Colin Campbell

  2. "The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life" by Dawn Jackson Blatner

  3. "How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease" by Michael Greger, M.D.

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