This vegan mushroom kale burger recipe is rich in umami flavors with power-packed kale plus bulgur and almonds for a meaty texture. Baked without added oil, these delicious mushroom burgers are best if chilled for a few hours before baking, so they are well-suited for making a day ahead.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
✔ Complex flavors, bites of texture, and satisfaction beyond the bun - everything you should demand from a meatless burger.
✔ Bulgur and ground almonds make a creative veggie burger binder instead of using black beans, bread crumbs, potatoes, or flour.
Ingredients, Notes, and Substitutions
Mushrooms. Use any kind of fresh mushrooms, from common button mushrooms to a mix of chopped portobello mushrooms or oyster mushrooms. Toss in a few shiitake mushrooms. Anything goes. I used chestnut mushrooms (baby bellas).
Kale. You can use thawed or frozen kale. Get as much moisture out of the frozen as possible.
Red onions. Sweet shallots are a good alternative, but you can also use yellow onions.
Almonds. Use raw, not roasted, or salted almonds. Almond flour has a finer consistency than those you grind yourself. You may need to add extra if you substitute with it.
Bulgur. Cracked wheat, bulgur, is a quick-cooking whole grain because it comes to us already parboiled. That's why it's ideal for soaking. The gluten in the bulgur assists in binding the mushrooms and kale into burger patties that won't fall apart.
Flax seeds. No need for a flax egg. Just add ground flax seeds. It will react with the moisture in the burger mixture like an egg replacer. Ground chia seeds are the best substitute.
Sherry. Sherry makes a tasty deglazing ingredient for mushrooms and onions. If you don't want to use sherry, white wine is a good substitute, or vegetable broth if you don't want to add alcohol.
Soy sauce. The umami of soy sauce adds salt and depth. I added ½ a teaspoon of salt in the end, but if you use a dark soy sauce, that may not be necessary. Use Tamari if you want a gluten-free option.
Garlic. Slice or mince the garlic after peeling it. You don’t need it too small as it will go into the food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Use a teaspoon of garlic powder if you don't have fresh garlic.
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions.
This is a great recipe for sneaking in a healthy dose of kale, but you can also substitute it with equally good-for-you spinach. Fresh or frozen. Another option is adding a bit of grated carrot.
If you're strictly gluten-free, cooked quinoa or brown rice are your best bets to replace bulgur.
There are a few flavors you can play with, including vegan Worcestershire sauce instead of soy sauce. Or add a chili powder or cayenne pepper pinch if you like spicy burgers.
Miso paste brings out the umami flavor of mushrooms, and a drop of balsamic vinegar adds sweetness.
Step 1: Grind the almonds in a food processor and set aside. Then grind the flax seeds in a spice grinder. Add the bulgur to a small bowl and cover it with water.
Step 2: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms release their moisture.
Step 3: Stir in the garlic, thyme, and kale. Cook a few minutes to soften the kale, then add the sherry and soy sauce. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then mix in the flax seeds.
Step 4: Add all the ingredients to the food processor and blend.
Step 5: Line a baking tray with parchment paper and make 4 patties. Chill for 1-2 hours.
Step 6: Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes until the patties are firm and brown. Flip and bake for another 15 minutes.
Mushrooms notoriously soak up moisture, so wipe them with paper towels instead of rinsing them in the faucet.
If you are short on fridge space, chill the burger mixture in a large bowl or airtight container. Make the patties right before you bake them.
After soaking the bulgur, even if there isn't much water left in the bowl, it's a good idea to add it to a mesh strainer and press it against the sides so it's as dry as possible.
Cook the ingredients until there is as little moisture left as possible. If your mushrooms generate a lot of water after cooking, drain it off before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Use your mushroom burger patty as a palate for all kinds of toppings. Great with something simple like mustard or ketchup and a side of fries or elegant condiments such as caramelized onions or melted vegan mozzarella cheese. And yes, I ate a leftover burger over a bed of lettuce with vegan French onion dip. It was primo!
Frequently Asked Questions
Store the mushroom burger mixture or patties in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Cooked burger patties keep for 4 days in the refrigerator.
This burger recipe's best substitute for almonds is ground walnuts, cashews, or pecans. If you do not wish to use nuts, consider ground pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Sunflower seeds could be used but will have a nuttier flavor than pepitas.
You can pan-fry rather than bake mushroom burgers. Use a heated, non-stick skillet and fry the burgers a few at-a-time for about 3 ½ - 5 minutes per side. Don't crowd the burgers in the pan. Space makes them easier to manipulate and flip. Consider a light spray of oil if your pan tends to stick.
You can freeze mushroom burgers after cooking them. Cool them thoroughly, then wrap them individually so they are easy to separate. Cover the burgers with foil if they brown too much when reheating.
More Vegan Burger Recipes
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Vegan Mushroom Kale Burger
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- ¼ cup bulgur
- ½ cup almonds - raw, unsalted
- 1 small red onion - diced (about ½ a cup)
- 1 pound mushrooms - button, baby bella, or a mix of mushrooms, cut into quarters
- 3 cloves garlic - peeled and sliced or minced
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 2 cups kale - roughly chopped or shredded
- 2 tablespoons sherry - white wine or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds - ground
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Place the dry bulgur in a small bowl and add ½ a cup of boiling water. Set is aside for 20 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, place the almonds in a food processor and grind them until they break down. Leave them there as that’s where you’ll be adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Then add the onions and quartered mushrooms. Cook until the onions are soft and the mushrooms start releasing their moisture. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme. Stir for about 30 seconds. Then add the kale.
- Stir the ingredients until the kale softens and the moisture from the mushrooms has started to dissipate.
- Add the sherry and soy sauce to deglaze the pan. Stir the ingredients for a few minutes until the pan is relatively clean on the bottom and the liquid has evaporated.
- Sprinkle the skillet with the ground flax seeds and mix them in. This helps to soak up any remaining moisture.
- Take the skillet off the heat, returning to the bowl of soaking bulgur. Drain the bulgur into a fine mesh strainer and squeeze out the water. Add the bulgur, the ingredients from the skillet, salt, and pepper to the food processor.
- Process the ingredients for about 30 seconds to break up the larger pieces. After that, use the pulse feature to continue blending. You don't need the mixture to be perfectly smooth. Think blending with texture.
- Line a baking tray or large baking dish with parchment paper. Divide the burger mixture into 4 – 6 equal portions and form burger patties. Place the burgers on the tray, separated.
- The burger patties will be very soft, so handle them carefully. Place the burgers in the refrigerator and chill them for 1 ½ hours or longer.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake the burgers until they start to firm and brown (about 30 minutes). Gently slide a spatula under the bottom of one of the burgers. If it is stuck to the bottom of the pan, then let the burgers bake for another 5 minutes before flipping them.
- After flipping the burgers, bake them for another 15 minutes until they are firm in the middle and brown.
- If the mushrooms have a lot of liquid after cooking them, drain off the excess before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Store the burger mixture in a large bowl to save fridge space, then make the patties before baking them.
- To freeze the burgers, bake them first, then thoroughly cool them. Wrap them individually so that they do not stick together. Cover them with foil if they begin to brown too much.
- You can pan-fry rather than bake mushroom burgers. Use a heated, non-stick skillet and fry the burgers a few at-a-time for about 3 ½ - 5 minutes per side. Don't crowd the burgers in the pan. Space makes them easier to manipulate and flip. Consider a light spray of oil if your pan tends to stick.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.