Bulgur Is Not Vulgar: Experimenting with Faux Burgers

7:45 AM

Vegetarians do not stand a chance in our house. We love meat. My family loves burgers (see Wild Willy's restaurant review). So why would I even attempt making homemade veggie burgers?

There was a time in my distant memory when my oldest son loved Gardenburger veggie burgers. The youngest has yet to try one. I can appreciate a good veggie burger now and then. One with tons of flavor, meaty texture and good dose of much needed fiber. So when I came across this recipe on Epicurious, I had to give it a shot.

Bulgur Veggie Burgers with Lime Mayonnaise
Adapted from Gourmet, June 2008

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup walnuts (2 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro sprigs
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 slices multi-grain flatbread, halved


1. Cook half of onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt in oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add bulgur and water and cook, covered, over low heat until water is completely absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in chickpeas and soy sauce. 

 Brown bulgur wheat and white onion not the easiest thing to photograph!

2. Pulse bulgur mixture, panko crumbs, lightly beaten egg, walnuts, garlic, cilantro, cumin, cayenne,  1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining onion in a food processor until finely chopped. 

 Followed advice of other reviewers by adding panko and egg to keep mixture together

3. Form mixture into patties. Chill at least 20 minutes. While patties chill, stir together mayonnaise, zest, and juice. 

Important: let mixture chill for at least 20 minutes, otherwise they are impossible to handle

4. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas). Put perforated grill sheet (we used aluminum foil) on grill and preheat 10 minutes. Brush patties all over with oil. Oil grill sheet, then grill burgers on grill sheet, covered only if using a gas grill, *carefully* turning once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total. 

Tip: turn these puppies over VERY carefully!

5. Serve burgers sandwiched between flatbread with lime mayonnaise.

The Good: These were super tasty! The lime mayo really made all the difference. Umdaddy even enjoyed these, and he is not a fan of veggie burgers. The oldest ate his entire burger. The little one ate some with a spoon.

The Bad: Even with the panko and egg to bind the mixture, these fell apart very easily. Using flatbread was one solution. Much prep time needed.

    Grade: B+. These will not take the place of the burger in our household, but will be a welcome change from time to time.

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