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 veggie burgers are moist but not squishy, savory and rich but not fatty, and super easy to prepare.
Reasons why you’ll love these 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 1/2 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 mushroom-barley 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 them (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. Just have the host throw ’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
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
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 1 1/4 cups cooked barley
- 1 cup cooked pinto beans
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbsp vegan worcestershire
- 1/2 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.
- If planning to bake the burgers, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In the bowl of a food processor pulse the walnuts until coarsely crumbled. Add the 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 1/2 cup of mixture per patty will yield 8 burgers. If desired, brush patties with vegan worcestershire and sprinkle with black pepper.
- For oil-free baked burgers: place patties on baking sheets and bake 30 to 35 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.
- For 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 3 to 5 minutes per side or until nicely charred. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.