Satisfying and full of umami flavor, these Vegan Mushroom-Barley Burgers are versatile and easy to make. They can be baked for an oil-free version or pan-seared in oil for a meaty, charred exterior. You can even pre-cook the burgers and take them to your next cookout. Just toss 'em on the grill to reheat!
With an open bag of pearled barley staring at me from the fridge, I decided it was time to make a mushroom-barley burger. And after a couple of trial runs, I finally landed on the perfect combo of simplicity, flavors and ingredients.
These vegan mushroom burgers are moist but not squishy, savory and rich but not fatty, and super easy to prepare.
Why you'll love vegan mushroom burgers
- Ground walnuts provide richness, just like in my favorite chili recipe!
- Pinto beans provide satisfying protein, fiber, and complex carbs while also serving as a binder.
- Barley lends a chewy resistance that works really well in veggie burgers.
- Panko bread crumbs provide texture and help bind these vegan patties so you have a burger that holds together well. Sub whole-grain bread crumbs if you like.
- Sautéed mushrooms, onion, and garlic give the burgers moisture, umami, and depth of flavor.
- And a few select seasonings lend irresistible aroma and flavor - smoked paprika, thyme, and vegan worcestershire.
How to Make Mushroom-Barley Burgers
Making these burgers really is simple. The basic process looks like this:
- Make sure you have some cooked barley on hand. It takes about 30 minutes to cook regular pearled barley and about 10 minutes to make the quick-cooking kind (I've seen this at both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods; it's probably available at other stores).
- Decide whether you plan to bake or pan-sear your vegan burgers. Get your equipment ready, and preheat the oven if baking.
- Chop and sauté the onion, mushrooms, and garlic.
- Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until the texture of coarse crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and process.
- Form the burgers using just under ½ cup of the mixture per pattie.
- Cook the burgers! Baking takes about 30 minutes, while pan-searing in oil only takes about 10 minutes.
Super easy and oh so delicious!
Check out the next three photos to see the process in action. See how dry the mushrooms are getting in the pan? You want to make sure their moisture has released and evaporated before transferring them to the food processor.
This usually takes about 15 minutes. Otherwise you might end up with patties that are a bit too wet. But if that happens, remedying excess moisture is actually pretty easy, too. Just add a touch more panko, and let it soak up the excess moisture.
After processing the walnuts into crumbs, just toss everything else in the food processor - sautéed veggies, pintos, panko, cooked barley, worcestershire, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
And blend it up!
Then use your hands to form the mixture into patties.
How to cook the burgers
This is where the versatility comes in. The patties themselves are actually oil-free, with the only added fat coming from whole walnuts. So you can bake these for a deliciously light and healthy vegan burger option.
If you're in the mood for a rich, charred exterior, you can cook these mushroom burgers in a skillet with a couple of tablespoons of oil. For the burgers you see in the photos, I used walnut oil and a cast iron skillet. Dee-licious!
Wondering whether these are grillable? I wouldn't recommend putting the uncooked patties straight on the grill, unless you place them on foil or some other more solid cooking surface.
The mixture might be a tad too soft for the open grates. BUT if you pre-cook the burgers (especially when baked, they dry out a bit more and hold together really well), they're definitely sturdy enough to withstand some grill time!
Just imagine how cool you'll feel when you show up to your friend's backyard cookout with your own vegan mushroom-barley burgers.
Have the host toss 'em on the grill to reheat, and then top these babies with all your favorite burger fixings! I bet more than a few people at the party will be jealous of your sophisticated and healthy mushroom-barley burger.
I hope you enjoy these versatile, tasty, and healthy Vegan Mushroom-Barley Burgers! As always, if you try this recipe I would love to hear from you. You can rate the recipe below, leave a comment, and/or tag me in a photo on instagram! @myquietkitchen
If you like these vegan burgers you might also like:
- Air Fryer Veggie Burgers
- Smoky Jackfruit Burgers
- Tempeh and Black Bean Sausage Burgers
- Tabbouleh-Inspired Bean Burgers
- Carrot Raisin Salad
- Rosemary Potato Salad With Tempeh Bacon and Haricot Verts
- Kale Slaw With Harissa Dressing
Vegan Mushroom-Barley Burgers
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 16 ounces cremini (baby bella) mushrooms or a mix of portobello, shiitake, cremini, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ cup walnut halves
- 1 ¼ cups cooked barley
- 1 cup cooked pinto beans, drained well
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbsp vegan worcestershire
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp sea salt
- black pepper
- Preheat a saute pan over medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally, cook the onion and mushrooms until the liquid has been released from the mushrooms, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and smoked paprika to the pan, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. The mixture should be dry.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In the bowl of a food processor pulse the walnuts until coarsely crumbled. Add the sauteed mushroom mixture, barley, beans, nutritional yeast, worcestershire, panko, salt and pepper, and process until incorporated. It's okay to still have small visible pieces of beans and mushrooms.
- Form into patties. Using a scant ½ cup of mixture per patty will yield 8 burgers. If desired, brush patties with vegan worcestershire and sprinkle with black pepper.
- Place patties on baking sheet and bake 30 to 35 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.
- Option: pan-seared burgers - preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp of high-heat cooking oil. Place 2 to 3 burgers in the pan, leaving plenty of room for flipping. Cook 4 to 5 minutes per side or until nicely charred. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.
These burgers look delicious!!! I’m definitely going to use black garlic cloves.
Do you think this recipe would work if I used my air fryer and made mushroom barley balls?
Ooh thank you for reminding me! I thought about making meatballs with this mixture and then totally forgot (the dangers of always having too many recipe ideas floating around in my mind). Yes, I think that sounds fantastic, and they should cook pretty quickly, too.
This is a keeper go-to recipe in our house.
These burgers are the only way my little one will eat mushrooms.
The mushrooms, walnut and barley make for a great flavour combo along with the garlic and onion.
This recipe also provides lots of fibre, healthy fats, and prebiotics.
It’s probably my favourite vegan burger in terms of taste and texture as well.
I baked them with the coating of worcestershire sauce (great tip) and they turned out great which makes meal time so much easier as I don’t have to babysit the patties while they cook.
A definite A++ from me.
Thanks so much for the fantastic recipe!
I really am looking forward to trying this recipe! I am obsessed with Ted's Montana Grill house-made vegan burger with garlic aioli ... Do you know if this is similar to theirs? I am on the hunt to figuring out an exact homemade replica. Fingers crossed 🙂
Hi Maxx, I'm not familiar with that particular burger from Ted's, but it sounds delicious! I think you'll be very happy with this one, and even if you find you want to tweak the flavors a bit to be more like it, that will be pretty easy. Let us know how it goes!
What would you recommend to use instead of barley? I’m looking for a GF option!
Hi Erica, I think cooked brown rice or buckwheat groats might be your best bet. Let us know if you give it a try!
This is a very nice recipe and easy to make. We baked them and they came out great. We froze leftovers and are going to top them off with air frying. I also baked a couple in a silicone muffin pan to see how that would work, and they also came out. Thanks very much.
Judy E. Buckey
Hello Do you think this recipe would work with quina or another grain? It sounds delicious, but unfortunately I now have gluten intolerance.
Hi Judy, that's a great question. I think quinoa might be too small and difficult to get to stick together. Rice or sorghum may be your best bet since they're stickier and more sturdy. Millet is another option. Hope that helps. If you try it I would love to hear how it goes!
I just made these burgers with quinoa and they turned out fine. I added 2 flax eggs to make sure that they would bind together and I baked them. I've also made them previously using barley and they taste good both ways.
I made these Mushroom Barley Burgers and they were delicious! I made them into sliders and i grilled on the stove and baked in the oven. They turned out perfect!! Great when your craving a burger and a Vegan. My go to burger recipe from now on.
Woohoo! Glad you loved them, Kristin. 😀
I previously commented that I really like this recipe but I forgot to rate.
A couple years ago I went in search of a recipe for vegan burgers, tried a couple things, and then gave up and found a store brand that we liked. I decided to try again and had the idea that barley would be a good ingredient. Found your recipe and we are hooked! Your recipe skips the step of mixing the onion-mushroom mixture with the bean-barley mixture, FYI. I'm going to try baking them next time to avoid the oiliness and see if they will hold together a bit better. I may also add something like oat flour or flax seed to get them to stick together better. Any more thoughts about that?
Thank you so much! I'll fix that missed step right now. 😀
I'm glad you enjoyed these burgers. Yes, when you bake them, they'll dry out slightly, which makes them firmer and helps them hold together better. So I think you'll like that method. For pan-searing, I think adding a bit of oat flour or ground flax could be good, or just increase the amount of panko slightly. But you may find that adding one of those combined with baking would make them too dry.
Thanks so much for the feedback!
Nutritional yeast? You don’t say how much.
Hi Jane, in the recipe card it says 1 tablespoon.
Suggestions on adjustments if having to omit nuts due to allergy?
If you're able to use seeds, I would recommend pumpkin or sunflower, 1/3 cup instead of 1/2 cup walnuts. You could also use rolled oats or a combination of those.
I hope that helps!
If you substituted the nuts for rolled oats how much would you use? Thank you
Hi Mary, I would start with 1/3 cup rolled oats. Once you mix it up you can always add a bit more if it looks like it needs it. Hope that helps!
What kind of sauce is on the burgers? 🙂 Thank you!!
Hi Dana, that’s just stoneground mustard in the photos. 🙂