Vegan BBQ Bean Burgers with Caramelized Onions


Burger season is upon us and you don’t have to be vegan to love these smoky, sweet n’ spicy Vegan BBQ Bean Burgers topped with jammy caramelized onions. These delicious burgers are packed with nutrients, made with simple pantry ingredients and can even be grilled!

Memorial Day Weekend is here and so is grilling season. Usually you don’t think of throwing veggie burgers on the grill since they have a tendency to crumble. But you can actually grill these Vegan BBQ Bean Burgers. Promise. They’re dense enough to hold their own when charring on the grill without becoming dry on the inside. The flavor and texture is amazing. Plus you can make them a few days in advance or freeze them!

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Vegan BBQ Bean Burgers w/ Caramelized Onions – Delicious, nutrition-packed bean burgers made with pantry ingredients and can be grilled! #recipe #veganburgers #beanburgers #blackbeanburgers #veggieburgers #grillableveggieburger #grillableveganburger #grillableblackbeanburger #pantryrecipes #budgetrecipes #healthyburgers #memorialdayfood #giveitsomethyme |

How to Make Vegan BBQ Burgers with Caramelized Onions

As we continue (and feels like forever) in some degree of stay-at-home mode, cooking from a well-stocked pantry remains the norm. All you really need here are a couple cans of beans, onions, some rice, nuts, bbq sauce, and a few spices.

I used black beans but you can use kidney, pinto, navy, or any combination thereof. Chickpeas are a bit dry for this recipe so try avoiding those. Also, I used walnuts but feel free to substitute pecans, cashews or hazelnuts. The nuts get toasted first then go into a food processor with a spice blend of cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, brown sugar and red pepper flakes. The result is a fine, mealy mixture that drives home bold, sweet n’ spicy flavor.

Patties formed and ready to grill

To get that dense-yet-soft texture, you’ll mash the black beans some with a fork or potato masher to create a thick foundation, leaving about half the beans whole. The BBQ sauce replaces eggs as a binder to keep the recipe vegan. I strongly recommend wearing food prep gloves to mold the burgers to avoid orange hands from the BBQ sauce and spices. The recipe yields 8 substantial burgers, or 16 sliders.

TIP: Once shaped into the desired form, chill the burgers at least 30 minutes to firm up before cooking.😉

Whether you’re pan-searing or grilling, heat your element of choice over medium heat. For a little extra crust, sprinkle each side with a bit of kosher salt and ground pepper. Cook/grill on each side 3-4 minutes. That’s it!

Burgers cooking on grill

How to Serve Vegan BBQ Bean Burgers

Now that your burgers are crusty outside and lusciously moist inside, they’re ready for topping. Here are some burger bar ideas!

  • Toasted rolls
  • Fresh baby greens or lettuce
  • Caramelized onions (recipe is included below)
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickles
  • Avocado
  • Extra BBQ sauce
  • Cold brews or beverages of choice😊

And, here are some delicious sides to round out the menu!

Hope you are all staying healthy, sane and enjoying awesome eats! Happy Memorial Day, gang!! xx, Kim💗🤍💙

Vegan BBQ Bean Burgers w/ Caramelized Onions – Delicious, nutrition-packed bean burgers made with pantry ingredients and can be grilled! #recipe #veganburgers #beanburgers #blackbeanburgers #veggieburgers #grillableveggieburger #grillableveganburger #grillableblackbeanburger #pantryrecipes #budgetrecipes #healthyburgers #memorialdayfood #giveitsomethyme |

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Vegan BBQ Bean Burgers with Caramelized Onions

Delicious, nutrient-packed vegan burgers made with pantry ingredients, are freezer-friendly, and can even be grilled!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Sandwich
Cuisine American, Vegan
Keyword bean burgers, grillable veggie burger, vegan burgers, veggie burgers
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling (Inactive) Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 burgers
Author Kim Peterson


Vegan BBQ Bean Burgers

  • 1 ½ cups walnuts
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 15- ounce cans of beans (black, kidney, navy, pinto), drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
  • cup BBQ sauce (I use Stubb’s), plus extra for serving
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 8 multi-grain burger buns
  • Toppings: caramelized onions, sliced tomato, baby greens or lettuce, pickles, avocado, extra bbq sauce

Caramelized Onions (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large (softball size) onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey


Vegan BBQ Bean Burgers

  • Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add raw walnuts and toast 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
  • Heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté 5-7 minutes until onion is soft and translucent, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Once walnuts are cool, add to a food processor along with the cumin, chili powder, paprika, brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Process until thoroughly combined and mixture becomes a fine meal. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mash beans with a fork or potato masher, leaving about ⅓ to ½ of the beans whole.
  • To the beans, add the sautéed onions, walnut-spice mixture, cooked rice, Panko breadcrumbs, and BBQ sauce. Mix thoroughly with a spatula or wooden spoon until a moldable dough forms. If the mixture seems dry add 1-2 more tablespoons of BBQ sauce. If it’s too wet, add more Panko. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Mold mixture into 8 patties that are about ¾-inch thick and 4 inches in diameter. You could also make 16 sliders half the size. I suggest wearing vinyl, powder-free disposable gloves to form the burgers so your hands don’t turn orange from the spices and BBQ sauce.
  • Place the burgers on a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate and chill at least 30 minutes to firm up before cooking/grilling. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)*
  • When ready to cook, preheat grill over medium heat or heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Don’t overcrowd the pan if cooking on the stove.
  • Either on the grill or in the skillet, cook burgers 3-4 minutes on each side. Reduce heat slightly if they brown too quickly.
  • Serve burgers hot on toasted multi-grain buns with the suggested toppings or those of your choice. Enjoy!

Caramelized Onions

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent.
  • Add brown sugar and honey, and cook another 10-15 minutes until deeply caramelized, stirring frequently. Can be made up to 5 days ahead. Place in an airtight container when cooled and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat or microwave when ready to use.


* To freeze, wrap each burger individually with plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag for up to 2 months. Thaw completely before cooking.


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  1. What would you suggested subbing out for the nuts? I have a nut allergy, but this recipe looks incredible! Sunflower seeds? Or just extra bread crumbs?

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