Red Quinoa Zucchini Burgers Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Red Quinoa Zucchini Burgers

Pre-cooking these patties lets you throw them on the grill without worrying they’ll stick or fall apart. Serve with gluten-free buns and your favorite burger fixings.



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2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
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1 medium sweet potato, diced (1 ½ cups)
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1 cup uncooked red quinoa
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1 cup cooked chickpeas
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1 small zucchini, grated (1 cup)
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½ cup pumpkin seeds
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5 ½ Tbs. ground flaxseeds
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3 ½ tsp. finely chopped fresh basil
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1 tsp. sea salt
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½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
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½ tsp. chili powder
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½ tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
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2 Tbs. olive oil


1. Bring broth, sweet potato, and quinoa to a boil in saucepan over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Transfer to bowl to cool.

2. Stir chickpeas, zucchini, pumpkin seeds, ground flaxseeds, basil, salt, pepper, chili powder, and thyme into quinoa mixture, mashing chickpeas and sweet potato but leaving some chunks. Shape mixture into 8 patties.

3. Preheat oven to 400°F, or preheat grill to medium-high.

4. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook patties 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from heat, and either place on baking sheet, and bake 15 minutes, or cook on grill 8 to 10 minutes, turning once.

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Nutrition Information: 

9 g
Total Fat: 
11 g
Saturated Fat: 
2 g
29 g
0 mg
346 mg
8 g
5 g
Makes 8 patties

Comments on this Recipe

I followed this recipe, but mine turned out to be "mush burgers." They didn't hold together at all. I ended up adding a cup of bread crumbs, and then an egg, and they were still mushy. I think my problem was that I simmered the quinoa, broth and sweet potato for 20 minutes, but there was still liquid left over from the broth. I probably should have continued cooking until there was no liquid, but I assumed that adding the seeds would absorb the liquid, and that didn't happen.


Thought you might like these. You can import directly from vegetarian times in web view. Mom

Mine were mush burgers too. I cooked quinoa and sweet potatoes per directions too and they absorbed all of the water. Even refrigerated they mush. I made one super thin and fried the crap out of it but it just disintegrated. Sad, because they had nice flavor.

I really wanted to love these. I'm allergic to garlic and onions and have been looking for a good veggie burger recipe for years that doesn't call for either. The flavour was pretty good, an interesting mix. But they crumbled and didn't stick together at all. I used the rest of the recipe for enchiladas tonight.

these look yummy!

Everyone has hits and misses but this veggie burger missed by a long shot. It was waste of ingredients and time, had no flavor, terrible texture.

I made these and didn't find them mushy at all. I might roughly chop the pumpkin seeds next time. And I did add a little garlic (because everything tastes better with garlic), but my husband and I thought these were delicious. If you think they're too wet, add a little more ground flax seed. For us, this is a keeper.

When cooking quinoa be certain to bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer and THEN start timing your 20 minutes. There shouldn't be much, if any liquid left.

Unfortunately, not a hit in my kitchen either! The texture was bad, and we didn't particularly like the taste either...

Looks good!

I was excited to try this veggie burger recipe, but they did not hold together well. I followed the directions exactly. They taste great, but given the texture/lack of binding, they would probably be better in a burrito than a bun.

I followed the recipe exactly and the texture was fine. This was the first time I was able to cook a veggie burger on the grill without it falling apart. That being said, it wasn't much in the taste department. This needs more flavor so next time I will amp up the spices and definitely add garlic.

I made these last night and they came out PERFECTLY. They held together, they were "meaty" and delish. I think the secret might be in cooking your quinoa correctly. After it cooked properly for 20 minutes, I let it sit with the lid on for another 8 minutes or so. I also added garlic and cumin. Next time, I may add a bit more spice but they were really great. My family also loved them!

I agree with many of the other reviewers in that the flavor was great but the burgers did not hold together. Vegetarian Times, please give us a new version of this recipe.

I planned to follow the recipe but was too tired and hungry when the next step was to form into patties. I served it over fresh spinach and cress leaves since I am not eating bread anymore.

The key is to squeeze drain the zucchini as much as possible. I also processed the chickpeas in a food processor with very little water to make a paste and added that to my mix instead of whole chickpeas and mashing. I agree that cooking the quinoa till all the water is absorbed also helps. Mine stayed together very well as I cooked them over low-medium heat for about 15-20 minutes - they were not soggy inside doing it this way. My husbands response? VERY good! Keeper.

I made this recipe twice already and to have them hold together better, I suggest making them a day ahead to not only let the flavors marry but to also bind as well. You may also consider adding a tablespoon of flour to help it combine

These are delicious! I've tried at least 8 different veggie burger recipes and this is by far the best! I thought they held together very well; better than most. Here are some tips that may help with binding issues (I know some seem pretty obvious but it's the old "Did you try restarting your computer?" You just never know.) - Stick with the actual cup measurements of the sweet potato and especially the zucchini. I didn't consider my zucchini large by any means but when I was done grating it- I had 1 1/2 + cups which would have been far too much liquid had I added the whole zucchini. - Make sure to squeeze excess moisture out of the zucchini and drain the chickpeas before adding. - Measure the chickpeas after mashing- this is one of the tacky ingredients that helps it bind. If you had too much zucchini and not enough chickpea you will have binding issues. - Deduct 1-2 tablespoons of broth for the quinoa/sweet potato mix. Doesn't sound like a lot but it makes a big difference. Drain any remaining/excess liquid from this mix before adding other ingredients or mashing. For those who had binding issues the first time, these are well worth another try!

Dinner idea

Really gross texture. Chili powder flavoring was not good either. It looked so good in the photo, yet it was a huge waste of time and ingredients. I'm just glad I didn't embarrass myself by taking these to a cookout.

I thought this was an excellent burger alternative. The First time I made this recipe it was a little dry. But since I liked the flavor so much I made it again brushing the burgers with melted butter in the oven a couple of times while cooking and than again when I took them out . I really thought this helped.

These turned out great; I aporeciate all the tips as they helped a lot. I used less zucchini and squeezed it out. Skipped the pumpkin seeds and used only 3T flaxmeal. I didn't think my family would go near Red Quinoa Zucchini Burgers so I put the mixture in the Cuisinart, added a T of tahini and called them falafel burgers. It worked! Actually got 12 patties out of it and froze half. Delish!

Fantastic! I doubled the recipe and tweaked the it a little bit as follows: I started with half of a medium sweet onion and about 4 cloves of garlic, and two serrano peppers for some flavor & kick in the skillet. I added a 32oz veggie broth, 16oz pkg of organic red quinoa, and 2 medium sweet potatoes and simmered for 20 mins. I used two 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and drained again and rough mashed. I couldn't find fresh basil at the store this week, so I substited fresh rosemary for a different flavor. Squeezed the juice out of two shredded zucchini based on other reviews here. Instead of pumpkin seeds I used roasted sunflower seeds, and otherwise stuck to the spices & ingredients listed in the recipe. I ended up with 24 patties, and I found that baking them for about 20 mins helped keep them firm (after 15 they were still pretty soft in the middle. They are a little crumbly, but mostly firm, and really delicious!

Tasty! Made these for my family (includes hubbs, 5 yo and 20 mo)... After reading the comments made some modifications, but not much... Instead of chili powder, I used smoked paprika and threw it all into the food processor with a couple cloves of garlic and a tbsp einkorn AP flour. Formed 10 patties out of this and into the fridge to help set overnight. After cooking as suggested they turned slightly crispy on the outside but still plenty moist with enough firmness to hold them together while biting into them...yumm! Thumbs up from everyone!

Oh, another thing I did was use one medium size zucchini and after grating, slightly salting it in a colander for a few minutes, then squeezing as much water out as possible...made one cup of zucchini.

The pumpkin seeds, which are huge, do not soften appreciably in either the frying or (in my case) the grilling phase. Maybe if they were boiled with the quinoa and sweet potatoes, they would be OK. As the recipe exists, I found the product to be inedible unless I picked out the seeds. The taste in itself was good.

Since I do not use oil, could I skip the skillet cooking and just bake on parchment paper, perhaps foe a little longer?

So many gluten recipes are very high in high glycemic ingredients that raise my blood sugar! How about some healthier versions! White rice flour, tapioca, cornstarch etc. I wouldn't eat this stuff on a normal diet! Portion sizes aren't worth the work.

Adding a bun to these would really be a carb overload for anyone!

I think this is the recipe I had planned to cook?

Yummy. I wish I had read the comments before I made these. Should have squeezed the moisture out of the zucchini like others suggested. I fried on stove top like directed then baked in oven for at east 20 minutes. Cooled but still not solid enough to really call a patty. Fell apart. Instead of olive oil and fresh basil I added a couple TBLS of pesto. Used sunflower seeds not pumpkin. Served with lettuce leaves and tomato slices. No other bread.