An expanded version of the basic plant burger recipe, this burger has been specifically hailed as a huge hit with families transitioning to plant-based eating. Try serving with avocado, tomato slices, and salsa.

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By Lani Muelrath, MA,



  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 cup cooked short-grain brown rice


  • 1½ cups total (in any combination) canned green chilies (drained), corn, onion, black olives, cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, and/or pine nuts (optional; see note)


  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal or bread crumbs


  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ½–1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (if you like it hot!)


  • 2–3 tablespoons salsa, as needed

Crisp Coating

  • ¼ cup cornmeal or garbanzo flour (more as needed)


  • Lightly pulse the beans in a food processor, leaving some chunks for texture, or partially mash them with a potato masher. Place the beans into a large bowl, along with the rice.
  • Finely chop the raw vegetables. I use my food processor, first cutting the vegetables into 1-inch pieces and then pulsing until finely chopped. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the beans and rice.
  • Add the binder and seasonings to the bowl, and knead to make the mixture workable for forming burgers. Add the moistener, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the burgers don’t hold together well. Chill for an hour or more, if time allows.
  • Form the mixture into palm-size patties about ⅜-inch thick.
  • Place the cornmeal or chickpea flour coating on a plate. Gently coat both sides of each burger, one at a time. Roll the edges against a flat surface to make a round shape with flat sides, and pat the coating onto the sides as well. This adds a nice crispy surface and helps the burgers keep their shape.
  • Cook the burgers in a nonstick pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, then turn and cook the other side for 4 to 5 minutes more. You can also bake the burgers on a baking sheet at 350°F for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve on buns or alone with your favorite condiments. Expect a savory, soft texture and a thin, crisp crust.


    Rice: Short-grain brown rice has a stickiness that holds the burgers together; substituting long-grain rice or another grain may result in a burger that falls apart more easily. For a more savory flavor, cook the rice in vegetable broth instead of water.

    Nuts: While the nuts add texture and flavor, you can eliminate them to reduce fat content.

Comments (3)

(5 from 2 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Linda Sharp

These sound delicious. I made the mixture but have not cooked them yet. Can I freeze left over, if so cooked or raw? Thanks

Teresa Case

Yum! These were easy to make and oh so tasty. My added veggies were 1 cup corn kernels, 4 oz diced green Chiles, and cilantro leaves. I baked them in the oven on a SILPAT mat; probably didn't need the SILPAT, since the cornmeal would have kept them from sticking. Next time I will bake them without the SILPAT to get them better browned. Thanks for the recipe!


This is my current favorite veggie burger. The best part about this recipe is that the burger only needs some salsa for condiment. No sugary ketchup required or even desired! Add a little guacamole and it tastes like a wonderful Mexican meal.

About the Author

Headshot of Lani Muelrath

About the Author

Lani Muelrath, MA

Lani Muelrath is an award-winning teacher, author, and certified specialist in behavior change and plant-based nutrition. Presenter for Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Complete Health Improvement Program, and guest lecturer at San Francisco State University, Muelrath is associate faculty at Butte College where her book has been adopted as required text. She is the author of The Plant-Based Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide for Transitioning to a Healthy Lifestyle and Achieving Your Ideal Weight, recognized by VegNews as Top Media Pick for 2015, and Fit Quickies: 5 Minute Workouts. Visit her website and follow her on Facebook for more info.
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