There are veggie burgers and then there’s vegan meat. And this homemade vegan meat burger recipe, a perfect blend of TVP and seitan seasoned to perfection, is most certainly the latter. They have an irresistibly meaty texture with a delicious flavor and a light pink center, thanks to a bit of vegan magic using beets. Perfect for the plant-based lifestyle on the go, they’re an easy recipe to make, freezer-friendly, and ohhh so satisfying!
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A while back I was watching my parents’ house (and my sister-puppy!), and therefore, on my own for dinner. T and I genuinely love cooking and eating dinner together, but these types of nights give us each a chance to really tune into precisely what we’re craving and make it!
We always laugh at how different our dinners are when we do this, and this occasion was no different. T went with a giant veggie stir fry with a light vinegar sauce. And me? A vegan bacon cheeseburger! Oh so typical.
I initially assumed I’d grab a pack of Beyond Meat burger at the store and do something super easy. But then I realized I wanted to make my own vegan meat burger copycat recipe!
Not that I’m bashing vegan convenience food like the Beyond or Impossible burger because…hahaha, that would be silly of me. I love that stuff!
But sometimes, I just want to know I’m capable of making a fantastic version of these meat alternatives, with fewer processed ingredients and at a fraction of the cost, in my own kitchen.
Why You’ll Love This TVP Burger Recipe
I based the recipe for this off our TVP meatballs that we just love. It took a few tries to get this homemade version just right, but I can now say with confidence they are everything I ever wanted in a vegan copycat of a traditional meat burger!
They’re meaty and flavorful, no mush, not at all bland. Not to mention, they’re easy to make, freezer-friendly, and have 100% less cholesterol than a regular beef burger!
What are vegan TVP burgers made of?
You’ll need a few simple plant-based ingredients for this meaty veggie burger recipe.
To make this Beyond Meat Burger copycat recipe, you’ll need:
- Sliced beets – We’ll blend these with more water until smooth and use it to add an earthy flavor and nice beefy color to our burgers.
- TVP – Short for “textured vegetable protein.” This is a must-have plant-based pantry staple and the main ingredient. It’s bits of dehydrated soy protein you season and rehydrate for a vegan meat substitute. They’re a great addition to a lot of our favorite dishes that require a meaty texture. TVP is sold by brands like Bob’s Red Mill and Anthony’s Goods, and they’re usually pretty budget-friendly!
- Vital wheat gluten – Gluten is the protein element in flour. This product is the extracted gluten protein that will add a chewy, meaty texture to our burgers.
- Yellow onion – minced
- Fresh garlic – minced
- Hamburger seasoning – We use our special blend of Copycat Red Robin seasoning.
- Seasonings – dried parsley, ground black pepper, ground cumin
- Soy sauce
- Olive oil – to saute the vegetables and give a nice fat component to the texture
TVP is a dehydrated soy product. Mostly commonly in the US, it comes in a crumbled form that takes the place of ground or minced beef in many vegan recipes.
When rehydrated with the spices, it really takes on the flavors you’re looking for to make great vegetarian chili, vegan meatballs and of course, the best veggie burgers that taste like ground beef instead of brown rice.
It can often be found in the health food section of your grocery store or wherever they keep the Bob’s Red Mill products. They’re rather affordable too! We typically order them online in packs of four like this and store extras in the fridge or freezer.
They’re great to have on hand to throw into marinara sauces to make a quick bolognese among other things!
Where to Buy TVP
Of course the Internet is always an option. Amazon sells a popular brand of TVP from Anthony’s Goods.
But it’s becoming increasingly popular and more easily available. You can probably find TVP from Bob’s Red Mill in your local grocery stores or health food stores.
Is TVP gluten-free?
Yes, TVP is a naturally gluten free product. Bob’s Red Mill proudly states that their TVP is made and packaged in their separate and dedicated GF site if you worry about cross contamination of gluten. And it’s a great source of protein and fiber as well!
If you don’t have or can’t tolerate one of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember, substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a varied degree of difference in the final product. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you!
For the beet puree: We’ve had success using beet powder in similar recipes, but you’d need to add a considerable amount of liquid if you try this.
For the onion: We suggest using yellow or white onion because they’re more mild than their red onion counterpart. You can also use some dehydrated onion or onion powder. One tablespoon of dehydrated or one teaspoon of onion powder onion is equal to one small minced onion. You can also sub a red onion for a different flavor vibe.
How to Make Vegan Burgers
As with all hand-formed burger recipes, this takes a little time. But once you make them once, you’ll have burgers for weeks and pull them out of the freezer when needed.
Step 1: Make the beet puree.
First, you’ll make the beet puree by dumping the whole can of beets (water + all) into a blender or food processor. Fill the empty can to the brim with water and pour that in too. Then, blend on high until no chunks of beets remain. Measure out 1 1/2 cups from this mixture and set it aside to use in your burger.
You can add the leftover beet puree to sauces, smoothies, and soups for a nutritious boost! You can also freeze it for up to 2 months.
Step 2: Rehydrate the TVP
Then, the TVP needs to be re-hydrated. We do so in a mix of spices and flavor-packed ingredients to really get the flavor going.
You’ll cook everything up in your wok or a large, deep saute pan and then stir in some vital wheat gluten.
Step 3: Finish the vegan burger mix.
The wheat gluten (both Bob’s Red Mill and Anthony’s Goods make this stuff too!) is used as a binder, but we also like to knead it into the mixture for a minute or two. This activates the gluten and will create an incredible meaty texture. So cool!
Step 4: Form and cook.
From there, you’ll form your patties, bake them on a heavily oiled pan (which kind of faux-fries them), dress, and serve!
I have yet to try these burgers in the air fryer, or on a griddle or grill but will report back as we do. They seem to hold up rather well, so I’d imagine they’d be good!
How to Serve Homemade Plant-Based Burgers
We have a ton of fun dressing these delicious burgers up with alll our favorite burger toppings!
I always opt for some rice paper bacon, lettuce, some vegan “secret sauce”, and a gooey melted vegan slice of cheese. T loves sliced onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and a generous helping of yellow mustard and ketchup.
We’ll each tell your ours is the best way. But the real question is what are you going to top your burger patty with?! Try some of these great options below, and have fun with it!
A note about burger buns: Always check the ingredients when buying burger buns, as some contain milk, honey, and/or eggs. We find you’re usually safe with basic store brands, but still check to make sure. If you’re into making your own buns, check out this recipe for our homemade hamburger buns (coming soon!). Or go wild and make our homemade soft pretzel buns!
Vegan Burger Topping Ideas
Veggies: You can’t go wrong with the classic combination of a lettuce leaf, tomato, dill pickles, and an onion slice. But you can always spice things up a bit with some avocado slices, sweet pickle relish, pickled veggies or even kimchi. Sauteed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions are all great toppers too!
Condiments: Ketchup and mustard are the standards, vegan mayo too. Make sure you get the bottom half and top half of the buns. Also, feel free to shake things up with fun sauces like a spicy BBQ sauce, guacamole, vegan ranch, or an easy homemade vegan burger sauce! Also, a lot of the steak sauce you find at the grocery store is actually vegan-friendly.
Vegan Cheese: Vegan cheeses are almost as plentiful as vegan burgers these days. Some of our go-to brands for vegan are Violife, Vevan (great melt!), Daiya, Follow Your Heart, Field Roast, and 365 (Whole Foods’ store brand). Our vegan feta cheese recipe or vegan goat cheese is also great on a burger!
Vegan Bacon: We like using Lightlife for store-bought vegan or seitan bacon. But our rice paper bacon recipe is our go-to for meat-free burger bacon! A sprinkle of our coconut bacon salt would also work.
Vegan Burger Seasoning: There’s a lot of vegan burger spices and seasoning blends out there. We always top our burgers (AND our fries) with a little of our copycat Red Robin seasoning. Highly recommend it!
What to Serve with Burgers (vegetarian)
As far as burger sides go, here are a few of our favorites:
- Homemade Potato Wedges
- Vegan Baked Beans
- Pasta Salad
- Pan-Fried Green Beans
- Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
- A simple bag of chips
Homemade Meatless Hamburger FAQ
Here are a few FAQs we hear often about making homemade vegan burgers. To learn more about plant-based burger options, check out our Plant-Based Burger Guide!
There are myriad ways to bind veggie burgers, and this particular recipe uses vital wheat gluten mixed in with the ingredients. Another of our favorite methods is using a flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water) for each chicken egg you would normally use. There are plenty of other egg replacer products on the market, but we find these classic vegan hacks work best for DIY vegan burgers! Check out our full flax egg guide if they’re new to you.
You have to make sure your plant-based patty is tight and compact when formed. Before flattening it, squeeze it hard with your hands into a compact ball. However, some burgers were just not made for the grill, but you can always put a grill guard over the grill if you’re worried about the patty breaking apart and falling in. (And those guards are GREAT for veggies too!)
First: uniformly. Even-sized burgers will cook evenly. Take the suggested amount between your two hands and form a tight ball, squeezing to make sure the mixture is compact. Then, press gently between your palms to form your patty. Finally, shape the edges and fix any cracks that formed while you were flattening them. See the grid above for our shaping method for perfect vegan beef patties!
All of our vegan burger recipes can be either baked, air-fried, or pan-fried. Almost all (if not all) of them can be grilled.
Good news, you can! Just make sure they’ve cooled completely first, then you can freeze them on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag with parchment paper separating them. This method will keep the burgers from sticking together when they freeze.
More TVP Recipes
- Vegan Ground Beef Substitute
- Hearty Vegan Chili
- Vegan Teriyaki Burgers
- The Best Vegan Meatballs
- Vegan Coney Dogs
We can’t wait to see all the beautiful vegan burgers you’re going to create with this recipe. Let us know what you think by rating the recipe and leaving a comment in the section below.
Not only do we really appreciate it, but it helps more people like you find our delicious recipes.
Now, go pour yourself a drink and get into the kitchen. It’s burger time!
For the beet puree:
- 1 (15.5-oz) can sliced beets
For the burger:
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp burger seasoning
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/4 cup dry TVP crumbles
- 1 1/2 cups beet pure
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten *
- Make the beet puree: Dump the whole can of beets (water + all) into a blender or food processor. Fill the empty can to the brim with water and pour that in too. Then, blend on high until no chunks of beets remain. Measure out 1 1/2 cups from this mixture and set it aside to use in your burger. You can add the leftover beet puree to sauces, smoothies, and soups for a nutritious boost! You can also freeze it for up to 2 months.
- Start the burgers: Heat the olive oil in your wok or a large, deep saute pan on medium heat. Add the minced onions and garlic, and your seasoning (Red Robin seasoning / dried parsley / pepper / cumin). Stir to make sure everything is evenly coated and cook 3-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the mixture is fragrant.
- Rehydrate the TVP: Add the TVP, the 1 1/2 cups of beet puree, and soy sauce. Stir, cover, and allow the mixture to cook for 10 minutes, stopping once halfway through to stir. When you stir, be sure to scrape the bottom, so no TVP pieces burn.
- Finish the burger mix: Remove from heat, stir in your vital wheat gluten, + allow the mixture to cool down for 5-7 minutes. You don't want to burn your hands! While it cools, preheat your oven to 350F and generously grease a large baking pan with refined coconut oil. When the mixture is cool enough to touch, get in there with your hands and start kneading the mixture for about 2-3 minutes. This will activate the gluten and make the burgers super meaty!
- Form the burgers: Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture and use clean, dry hands to form your patties. Be sure to pack them tightly and give each burger a little extra squeeze before placing them on the baking sheet. Bake them for 20 minutes, carefully flip each burger, and bake another 20 minutes.
- Serve / store: Now, it's time to have fun with toppings! I love vegan cheese, mayo, lettuce, and our rice paper bacon . Get creative, and ENJOY! Store leftovers in the fridge for a week or the freezer for up to 8 weeks.
*To make these burgers gluten-free, replace the vital wheat gluten with chickpea flour. This will produce a slightly less meaty result but still be delicious! Also, be sure to use a gluten-free soy sauce or tamari.
Serving Size:1 large burger (1/2 cup mix)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 264Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 509mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 6gSugar: 9gProtein: 32g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate. Info for this recipe is based on 1 burger patty without bun and toppings.