Crescent Dragonwagon’s

Ultimate Veggie Burgers

Refried beans, walnuts and tempeh add heft and heartiness; and shiitake mushrooms double down on umami savor. These are vegan.


  • 1 (15.4-ounce) can vegetarian organic refried black beans, such as Amy’s
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice, either leftover (previously cooked), or one of the packaged pre-cooked brown rices, such as Uncle Ben’s®
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons mild oil, such as sunflower or canola, plus a bit for oiling a baking sheet
  • 7 ounces smoked tempeh strips, such as Lightlife® Fakin’ Bacon
  • 5 ounce sliced, trimmed shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the adobo
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Buns (preferably whole-grain and toasted)
  • Any of your favorite burger fixings: mayo, ketchup, mustard, sliced red onions, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, sliced cheddar or Swiss cheese, avocado


  1. Place the refried beans in a medium-large bowl and set aside.
  2. Place the walnuts in the food processor and pulse-chop until coarsely ground (you don’t want them smooth). Add the brown rice, and pulse again several times. Transfer half of the walnut-rice mixture to the bowl with the refried beans. Leave the other half in the processor for now.
  3. Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the tempeh, browning for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until golden. Remove the tempeh from the skillet, blot on paper towels to remove excess oil, and let the slices cool slightly.
  4. Add remaining oil to skillet and add the shiitake mushrooms. Sauté, stirring often, until the mushrooms no longer look raw and have started to grow limp, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Crumble or slice half the tempeh strips into pieces about 1/4 inch wide. Add remaining tempeh to the processor. When shiitakes are done, transfer them to the processor as well, along with the cornstarch, chipotle and sauce, and parsley. Pulse-chop again, making a slightly chunky purée. Add this to the bowl with the refried beans, and combine all the ingredients, making a thick mixture. Season to taste.
  6. Form into 8 burgers, each about 3½ inches wide and 1 inch thick. Ideally, refrigerate the burgers for an hour or two before baking.
  7. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Either oil a baking sheet or line it with a non-stick silicone sheet. Place the burgers on the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven. Using a thin-bladed spatula, carefully turn over each burger. Continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until burgers are firm and a little crusty-looking on the outside. Serve hot, immediately, on buns with the fixings, or serve at room temperature. Leftovers, should there be any, are excellent cold in a next-day sandwich.


  1. If you wish to grill, rather than bake, these, the refrigerated rest is a must. Plus, you will need to brush each chilled burger on both sides with a little oil or melted butter before grilling.
  2. Since you have the chipotles open, you can easily purée another one and some sauce. Stir it into a bit of mayo, for, of course, chipotle mayonnaise.