The Best Veggie Burger Sauces and Toppings:
Simple, Oil-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan Ideas for Topping that Delicious Burger
So you’ve mastered the perfect veggie burger. You’ve got that beautiful smoky Southwestern Black Bean Burger nestled in its bun, and now you need something else.
Well, the burger is only the beginning. How do you take that plant-based delight to the next level? How do you make the ultimate veggie burger? You need toppings!
It’s time to think beyond the standard ketchup and mustard…get creative! All of these recipes are oil-free and vegan, which means guilt-free enjoyment. From Easy to Advanced, here are some of the best sauces and garnishes for finishing that perfect burger.
These are my Best Veggie Burger Sauces and Toppings Recipes:
Keep It Simple: Easy Toppings
Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes come in a beautiful variety of colors and sizes. In the peak of the season, they are loaded with juicy, fresh flavor. Check out the varieties at your local farmer’s market and try something new. Pick up an assortment and slice with a sharp knife. These make an elegant, enticing topping for fresh Chickpea Garden Veggie Burgers.
Cool, creamy avocado makes a great replacement for cheese or mayo. Because it has a lot of healthy fat, it gives you the same rich flavor as those dairy sauces – without the cholesterol or salt. You can smash an avocado in a small bowl with a little bit of salt and pepper. After that, feel free to add a splash of lime juice or chopped cilantro. Finally, spread it on your veggie burger just before serving.
Fresh Market Lettuce
Lettuce comes in a variety of flavors, colors, and textures. Simply adding a few leaves to a burger can have a big impact on flavor. For mild flavor and soft texture, try buttery red and green leaf lettuces. Conversely, use crisp, Romaine and Iceberg for a hearty crunch. Boston Bibb lettuce works great as a bun-replacement if you’re looking for a gluten-free, grain-free option.
If you want a sharp, crispy crunch, shaved onion is for you. Red onion offers colorful appeal and a sharp bite. on the other hand, Sweet Vidalia or Walla Walla onions have a more mild flavor. For even more natural sweetness, grill the onions until charred on both sides. Use them to top the Ultimate Vegan Portobello Mushroom Burgers.
Take It Up a Level: Add a Chef’s Touch to your Sauces
For a healthy, plant-based substitute for mayo and cheese, opt for hummus. Similarly, hummus gives you the same cool, creamy texture, but with a lot less fat. Just as mayo can be flavored with chipotle powder or basil, so can hummus. Make a batch of Smoky, Oil-Free Poblano Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, or Spinach Basil ‘Get your Greens’ Hummus. Or buy pre-made, oil-free hummus at the grocery. Engine 2 and Cedar’s offer “Fat-Free” varieties. My favorites are roasted garlic and spicy jalapeno.
Nutty, rich pesto adds a burst of intense flavor to any burger. You can start with traditional basil pesto. Yet, be sure to double-check and use a dairy-free brand if making this for vegans. My favorite recipe is Oil-Free Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. It is delicious spread on Super Green Gluten-Free Quinoa Sliders. For a nut-free option, Oregano Sunflower Seed Pesto brings classic Greek and Mediterranean flavors.
Store-bought vegan cheese isn’t what it used to be. Five years ago, the options were limited and the ingredients were mainly oil and tapioca starch. Not only did this create an oily cheese, it had an odd texture that would stick to your teeth.
Conversely, today’s dairy-free cheese’s are much better. Based around nuts like almonds and cashews, these cheeses have been cultured (like dairy cheese) and have less stabilizers. You get a flavor that is smoother and melts better. Some popular brands are Kite Hill, Miyoko’s Cheese, and Dr. Cow. If you can’t find these brands, try to find a brand that boasts it’s a “Nut-Based” Cheese. Or check the ingredients label and look for almonds and cashews (avoiding coconut oil, canola oil, and tapioca starch).
To make your own, check out this recipe from Chef Maggie Wescott. It’s legit: Stretchy Vegan Cashew Mozzarella
Onions are cooked low and slow for sweet, golden brown delicious flavor. This is a topping you can make right on the grill: Set up a small pan over low heat and keep an eye on it. The longer it cooks, the better. Use this to match the hearty flavor of the Ultimate Vegan Portobello Mushroom Burgers. Similarly, the subtle sweet flavor also works great on spicy foods like Easy Vegan Lentil Tacos and Oaxacan Baked Tostadas with Tomatillo Serrano Guacamole.
Time to Impress: Fancy Toppings to Wow your Crowd
Take your toppings to the next level with these Chef-Crafted recipes. Make a batch of these sauces and freeze extras for enjoying all summer. Besides burgers, they also work great over roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, grain bowls, and bean salads.
Spicy, sweet, and naturally sweetened with sweet onion and dates, this oil-free sauce packs bold flavor. Chipotle peppers bring smoky heat, which means it goes great on veggie burgers with Southwestern or Mexican flavors. Slather it on Southwestern Sweet Potato Black Bean Veggie Burgers. Use extras in Chipotle Baked Beans and on BBQ Lentil loaves.
Packed with bright, fresh flavor this creamy dressing is must-have sauce for burgers. Use it as a healthy, oil-free, vegan substitute for mayo or sour cream. With summer-inspired herbs, it works best on burgers inspired by the garden or needed a cool finish. Try it on Korean Red Beet Teriyaki Veggie Burgers. The red and green colors will entice even the pickiest eaters.
Imagine the best ketchup in the world…and you may just START to understand this slow-simmered jam. Sweet, juicy cherry tomatoes pair with thyme and a splash of balsamic vinegar for unreal flavor. This is one of the first recipes I learned when I started doing prep work at my culinary internship. It’s still one of my favorite recipes. Use it on burgers, southern grits…or just eat it with a spoon.
This sauce is for the inner child we all have. I can still remember going to a friend’s birthday pool party. Amidst the burgers and hot dogs, the standard slices of American cheese were replaced with a warm, pourable cheese sauce. My mind was blown. Not only did I drown my burger in sauce, but we were all using it on fries, tortilla chips, and even pretzels.
This Geez! sauce works the same way, but it’s much healthier. Who knows what kind of chemicals went into that processed, neon-orange cheese dip. Pumpkin, cashews, and nutritional yeast for whole food, all-natural flavor in this vegan recipe.
Make These? Let me Know!
If you give any of these bean recipes a try, let me know! Leave a comment, or take a picture and tag it @chefkatiesimmons or #plantsule on Instagram.
Peace and chickpeas, Chef Katie