Chili Burgers and Vegan Burgers Without a Recipe

Vegan Chili Burger
Vegan Chili Burger

One of my husband’s favorite things to eat is burgers. He loves the real thing, but will also get down on a good vegan burger. He is actually the one that makes these most of the time. He is an expert and just throwing stuff in the food processor and coming out with a delicious dinner. This is recipe is for Vegan Chili Burgers using leftover chili. I put in a few options, but this is an easy, basic recipe to adapt to your needs. Instead of chili you could just use any variety of beans you have on hand.

 Vegan Chili Burgers


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, ground/blended into a coarse meal (binder)
  • 2 3/4 cup leftover or canned chili or cooked beans of your choice (base and flavor)
  • 1/4 cup masa harina, cornmeal, flour, or vital wheat gluten, or more oats, plus more for coating (binder)
  • Oil for frying patties.


  1. Strain chili in fine mesh strainer mashing a bit to get as much liquid as possible out. Reserve liquid.
  2. Place 2 cups of chili, oats, and masa harina in food processor, processing until combined.
  3. Stir in remaining chili with a spoon.
  4. Let mixture rest while you place reserved liquid in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until reduced to the consistency of ketchup, 5-10 minutes. Set aside to serve over patties.
  5. After making the sauce  shape mixture into patties, coat with more cornmeal, flour or masa harina.
  6. Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  7. Fry patties until brown and crispy, about 3 minutes, flip, and fry other side until brown and crispy, about another 3 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with toppings of choice ( I like the chili sauce and sauteed onions).


What is important for successful burgers?

  • Texture (size and combination of base, binder, and other stuff like veggies)
  • Base  (beans, nuts, tofu, tempe, or grains or mixture of any)
  • Binder (beans, wheat gluten, bread crumbs, oats)
  • Flavor (salt, hot sauce, onions, garlic, spices)
  • Veggies and stuff (corn, peppers, other veggies)

How I decided on what to add for this recipe

This is a recipe adapted from a black bean burger recipe in . I have made a few changes for my taste. What works here is the base of the black beans, a bit of bread crumbs for the binder, and just enough veggies to keep it interesting. The flavors work well to create a southern burger that is perfect with a bit of BBQ sauce and sauteed onions.

How Does It All Work? 


The most important thing with burgers is to make sure you don’t puree your ingredients. They should still have some texture to them. This is easier to do when mashing by hand, but a lot more work. I find that adding in nuts and grains helps with the textural element here. For this recipe I ask that you reserve some of the chili and stir it in after you have processed the rest to help with the texture aspect.


For a base I almost always start with beans. Whatever I have in the fridge or pantry. They are all a little different, but super yummy. Try out the ones you like, or have leftover. I also like to add in grains. Making burgers is very much an end of the week clean out the fridge sort of adventure in our house. It is a great way to use up a half cup of this, a quarter cup of that. Here I am using leftover chili, but mix at match at will. Always drain your beans before using them in burgers to prevent a soupy mess.


Something to bind the burger together is important. A non-vegan recipe would use egg. For vegan burgers the overall consistency is important. You want the burger batter to be firm, and when you pat it into a burger you want it to hold its shape. This can be achieved simply through processing or mashing the beans and adding dry ingredients such as oats or bread crumbs until the desired consistency is reached. My husband loves to use vital wheat gluten (about 1/4 cup per 2 cups beans) for the binder as it makes a chewier finished texture.


Obviously flavor is important. Pretty much always I use onions and garlic which I mince very finely with the food processor before I put in the other veggies. Spices are also a must using whatever combination sounds good at the time. I also love using fresh herbs such as cilantro and parsley when I have them on hand. This recipe does not add extra spices as the chili itself provides the flavor for the burger.

Other Stuff

Adding in veggies is totally acceptable here. Try out grating, chopping, and mincing them for the balance of flavor and texture you are looking for. Just look out that they aren’t huge chunks or they will fall out of your burger. These chili burgers have the vegetables from the chili in the base, so none are added.

Remember to balance the five tastes in your finished burger. You can take into account the burger itself, and any toppings you feel like adding. Also texture, adding a bit of something crunchy on the burger or on the side will round out the meal and leave you feeling more satisfied.

For more inspiration check out these recipes for patties/burgers and sausage.

Pesto Patty With Roasted Eggplant

Vegan Tempe Sausage 



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Hey, my name is Adrianne, but I like to call myself the Happy Food Ninja! I am excited to share my love of food and cooking with you. My goal is to introduce you to easy ways to make delicious food, no matter what diet you subscribe to.

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