Manly-Man Veggie Burgers for Father’s Day and “hegans”

Post preamble: My father passed away when I was young (I talked about it in this post), so Father’s Day is very meaningful for me.  My children are blessed to have a father that is most loving and selflessly devoted – and I am equally blessed to have him as my husband.  So, celebrate the good dads in your lives, give them a hug and a good meal.

A couple of years ago hubby and I visited a local raw restaurant for our anniversary.  Before leaving the house, I cooked some oven-roasted potatoes and veggie dogs for our babysitter to give the girls.  Once at dinner, we realized this restaurant epitomized how vegan food is perceived: light, airy, “crunchy-granola”, hippity-dippity.  The meals had decent flavor – but there wasn’t much to be eaten!  The portions were small, and because it was primarily raw courses, the burgers had lettuce leaves to sandwich the patties, and the pizza crusts were dehydrated crackers of sort with a scattering of toppings.  I actually enjoy these kinds of meals, because my digestive system does better with moderate portions rather than larger, heavier meals.  [I’m the classic Ayurvedic “vata“. My husband, Paul, on the other hand, is a pitta/kapha blend, and his digestive fire burns strong at lunch and dinner.  While I don’t subscribe to all of the dietary tenets of Ayurveda, elements of this ancient form of alternative medicine are fascinating and insightful.]  But these portions were small (even for me).  After we ate this raw meal snack, we returned headed home and Paul dug into the kids’ potatoes!  *sigh*

So, I “get” those men in your life that want hearty meals.  My husband is not the sprouts-‘n-wild greens, wheat-grass-shooting type.  He’ll eat salads and veg, but they had better be next to – or part of – some kind of substantial meal!  So, for Father’s Day I always make one of his favorite manly-man vegan meals.  And, “veggie burger” night is in his top ten recipe ranking.  I rotate the variety of burger, and always serve with some kind of baked spud – either sweet potato fries, chunky yukon gold  taters, red potato “chippers”… if it’s a spud, it wins!

In Let Them Eat Vegan there is a whole chapter on veggie burgers.  I wanted to show people that homemade burgers are far better than storebought, and hearty and delicious enough to satisfy any manly appetite (and can hold their own on any burger bun)!  These Nutty Veggie Burgers are one of our favorites.  They are dense and toothsome, and usually one larger burger (or two smaller) is more than satiating.  So, for the special dad or “hegan” in your life, why not make these burgers for Father’s Day?

Nutty Veggie Burgers, photo by Hannah Kaminsky

Nutty Veggie Burgers (gluten-free option, soy-free option, oil-free)

I came up with these burgers after realizing how fussy children can be with veggie burgers. Many recipes (mine included) are too savory for them, or have onions and other veggies that they feel the need to pick out. Also, sometimes the patties are too delicate for kids eating them on a hamburger bun. I got to work and made this recipe, which is very nutritious and delicious without being too heavy in herbs or spices. Perfect for kids and adults, and, yes, you can serve it with confidence on a burger bun!  And, if you have LTEV, be sure to try the “Almonnaise” and “Sunshine Fries with Rosemary and Coarse Sea Salt” to go with them!

1 1/2 cups raw almonds

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup raw pecans (or more walnuts)

1 small clove garlic, cut in quarters

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp ketchup (can substitute tomato paste)

2 tbsp nutritional yeast (add it! Even my nooch-averse hubby doesn’t know it’s in there!)

1 tbsp tamari (substitute coconut aminos for soy-free version)

1/4 tsp poultry seasoning or 1/8 tsp each of dried thyme and ground sage

1/2 cup finely grated carrot, packed

1/2 cup finely grated zucchini, packed

1/2 – 1 cup rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for gf option)

wipe of oil (for pan-frying, optional – can pan-fry dry or bake, see notes)

In a food processor, combine the almonds, walnuts, pecans, garlic, and salt. Puree until the nuts are finely ground. Then add the ketchup, nutritional yeast, tamari, poultry seasoning or sage/thyme, carrot, and zucchini, and pulse until the mixture becomes dense and is starting to hold together. Pulse in the oats. Remove the blade and shape the mixture into patties. To cook, wipe a nonstick skillet with a smidgen of oil (or omit) over medium heat (see note for oven-baking). Cook the patties for 5 to 7 minutes on the first side, and then another 3 to 5 minutes on second side until golden brown, working in batches, if necessary. Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, and fixings of choice. Makes 5-6 larger patties, or 9-10 ‘sliders’. (RECIpage link to print or share).

If This Apron Could Talk: If you’d like to make this into a loaf, it works pretty well (will be slightly more crumbly than the patties). Press into a lightly oiled and lined (with a strip of parchment paper, for easy removal) loaf pan. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 25 minutes, uncovering for the last 5 to 10 minutes, just to lightly brown the top. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan, and then use the parchment to lift the loaf out of the pan to slice.

Ingredients 411: Using 1⁄2 cup of oats will firm the patties up nicely enough, and you can use up to 1 full cup of oats for even firmer patties.

Oven-baking:  If you use a non-stick skillet, you can pan-fry these without any oil and get a nice golden sear on each side.  If you don’t have a non-stick pan, you can oven-bake.  To do so, place the patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then flip sides, and bake for another 10 minutes.

Other burger suggestions:  Hubby also really loves the Mediterranean Bean Burgers and Mushroom Pecan Burgers Take II from LTEV – definitely try them!  And, for dessert, what about some brownies or cookies? – Or, hit the “Dreena Dazs” chapter in LTEV! 😀

p.s. This might be my last post for a couple of weeks.  I am speaking at Vegetarian Summerfest this year, and have a ton to sort before I leave, so ‘momputer’ needs to reboot!  Check out some other great recipe finds on Ricki Heller’s Weekend Wellness!

What are you making for Father’s Day?  Do you have any special Father’s Day memories to share?  I’d love to hear them!


  1. Bridget says

    Dreena! I made these burgers for my Meat-loving dad yesterday – SCORE!!! I also made the spinach & artichoke dip (I soaked the cashews – oops!) And used canned artichokes so it was a bit thinner mayber but delicious!!!
    Thank you!!!

  2. Jacque says

    I have made these before and they are wonderful! I was hoping to make them tonight but I don’t have zucchini, any suggestions?

    • Dreena says

      Glad you’ve been enjoying them! You can sub more carrot, or a little red pepper, or just omit and reduce the oats, maybe by about 3-4 tbsp :)

  3. Jodie Newton-Drouin says

    I’m going to make this tomorrow, but in a steak form. I stayed for 2wks in a small village in Wales a number of years ago and found this small stable that was converted into a pub. The owner made vegetarian nut steaks and they had a dollop of sour cream on top. They were amazing!!! I’m now vegan and I’ve been wanting those steaks and could never find anything close to them…and I think this might just be the closest thing to it!!!!! (I tried getting the recipe for the guy but he wouldnt budge :( I also found a vegan sour cream recipe to use with this. Oh I can’t wait! Thank you!

  4. Karin says

    Hi Dreena, I made these last night for dinner, and my husband, I, and two teenage boys who love meat loved the taste! I was just packing one for my lunch today and broke off a piece and it really tasted like a hamburger. The only question I have is how to make them more moist. They were a big crumbly. I used only 1/2 cup of oatmeal, but my processor had trouble incorporating even that because it was already a bit dry, and they crumbled a bit in the pan. Would more ketchup do the trick?

  5. Deborah Carlson says

    OMG!! My daughter and I made these for my husband for Father’s Day today and these are the absolutely BEST veggie burgers that we have tried so far. This will be a weekly or every other week staple for sure! Thank you so much for sharing. You are amazing!

  6. says

    This looks yummy, and I am tempted to try it with my family this weekend. I wonder though, how would it hold up on a grill? I’m really looking for a burger patty I can make ahead (maybe freeze?) and take with me to my parent’s lake house to grill when they’re grilling chicken or burgers so I won’t be tempted to just eat one of theirs. Any Suggestions?

    • Dreena says

      Emily, they should be fine on the grill. I would make sure there is either (2) a good oiling on the grill plates to keep the patties from sticking, or (2) you use a grill pan to put the burger on. They are a good, firm, burger so should hold up well – and taste far better than chicken or burgers (and you’ll feel better for it)!

  7. Eva says

    I made the burgers this weekend – they do hold up and my husband really enjoyed them. I made the almonaise too – that certainly helped :-) I added a little garlic to make it more like a garlic aioli. Later I made roasted taro wedges (really good stuff) and used the almonaise base to make a dip (added in lime juice and little chipotle paste). Anyways, I am on my way to try out all the burger recipes :-) BTW – I love the Nicoise Salad!

  8. Arlette says

    Hi Dreena, one of my husbands faves is your Spicoli burger. Really love your new cooking book; very inspiring, thank you for all the work, love and effort!

  9. says

    Dreena, good luck at the Vegetarian Summerfest. I would love to go, if I could! Hope you enjoy some time away, look forward to hearing about your adventures when you get back into posting again.

    (that burger looks soo good–I’m definitely a more hearty-type myself!)

  10. says

    Hi Dreena,

    I actually have a question about your granola recipes… I have trouble getting brown rice syrup and there have also been some scares about it recently (contains arsenic)… I was wondering what I could replace it with. Could I use maple syrup or should I use something more neutral such as agave? Any other suggestions? I don’t want to change the taste to much or the perfect texture of your granola…

  11. Gail says

    I live in your ‘hood & had pretty much the same experience as you & your hubby at that raw restaurant, so got a chuckle over your comments. I much prefer Gorilla Foods downtown.
    Love your new cookbook; haven’t made that many recipes as yet, but everything I’ve tried so far has been great………..actually I have most of your books!
    Happy Dad’s Day to you & your family……

  12. Molly says

    Hi Dreena,
    I have all your cookbooks and read your blog frequently but never post. Tonight I made dinner for my dad and husband for father’s day. It was an entirely “Dreena” dinner–I made sun-dried tomato pesto pasta, salad with “honey” mustard dressing and polenta croutons, and steamed broccoli. It was yummy!
    My very favorite pesto recipe is the Brazil Nut Pesto from your newest book. That is just a gorgeous-tasting dish!
    Keep up the awesome work!
    By the way, do you know of any vegetarian or vegan baby food cookbooks? I have an 8 month old and don’t know what to make him. It’s intimidated me so much so far that I’ve actually been buying earth’s best jarred baby food so far…

    • Dreena says

      Hi Molly! Well I’m glad you decided to comment today. :) How fabulous to know you are enjoying my books and so many recipes!! I love that Brazil Nut Pesto too, waiting for basil season… WAITING! 😉 Do you have my cookbook “Vive le Vegan”? It has an entire section on feeding babies and toddlers. I think it will give you a lot of information since he is still young and you are in that first stage of food introduction. It’s at the back of the book. Also, I do reference feeding babies in LTEV – to a lesser degree, but you will find some tips in there. There are a few vegetarian baby books on the market, but not sure if there’s been anything new in recent years. Making your own baby food is not hard, and is FAR cheaper (and tastes/smells better – before and, er, after). You can use a food processor or high-powered blender and make it in large batches. Def go to the section in Vive for ideas at your boy’s stage – and beyond. You’ll get the hang of it quickly… think baked sweet potatoes blended with zucchini, and later potatoes and avocadoes mixed with beans or quinoa… it just takes an hour twice a week to make a couple of batches for fridge/freezer. Hope that helps!

      • Molly says

        Thank you Dreena! I do have Vive Le Vegan, and LTEV too–all of them, actually. I really appreciate that whole section on feeding babies and toddlers in Vive! I think I’m just over-thinking the situation. I just need to jump in and just start making stuff for him and it will become less intimidating for me…

  13. says

    What if your food processor died recently and you have a non-high-speed blender? My husband’s ready to start making the switch (I never thought it would happen!) and burgers are always a big deal, but just wondering how the recipe might fare with the resources I have at the moment!

    • Dreena says

      Daisy, I wouldn’t do it in a blender, just won’t work through the nuts well w/o any liquid. Do you have a mini-processor or anything else to first grind the nuts? Trying to think of options here, the main thing is getting the nuts processed down… I would get a food processor in your hands if I could!!! I wouldn’t want to be w/o mine!! :)

      • says

        Thanks, Dreena! Yeah, I need to replace the food processor; just not sure when nor which one I want. I think I only had it 2 years, so I’m not impressed that it died already. (It literally BROKE, plastic breaking, while I was using it.)

  14. says

    That description sounds just like my HH!! Too funny. But those burgers. . . well, those just sound spectacular. 😀 Hope you have a great Father’s Day. And thanks for linking up to Wellness Weekend this week! 😀

  15. Dreena says

    Rebekah, what a lovely sentiment for your husband and you dad. Enjoy your Mexican meal together as an extended family – wonderful! :)

    • Dreena says

      My pleasure, Laura – I rarely think of beans as an allergy issue, so I’m glad these are suitable for you!

  16. says

    My husband is the same way! Sometimes when we are tryig out a new restaurant, after the meal he will say, “I could’ve eaten five of these.” I’m glad that there are others out there with his appetite. 😉 He’s not a father (unless the dogs count), but I will make these for him on Father’s Day! Thank you for the great recipe, Dreena! I can’t wait to pick up your new book.

    • Dreena says

      And I’m glad I’m not alone on that too Rebecca – hubby is rarely pleased at a restaurant (he’s probably got it too good at home). 😉

  17. says

    I love your nutty veggie burgers!!

    I am lucky to have a husband who is an amazing father to our three boys, plus a dad who was so kind, patient, and involved in everything as I grew up, and is equally loving to his grandchildren now! So for father’s day we are all meeting up at a local Mexican restaurant that makes the most amazing portobello mushroom fajitas I’ve ever tasted. They are so hearty and delicious, even the omnivores at the table often order them!

    Hope your family has a wonderful father’s day!

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