Umami Bomb Veggie Burger aka Vegan Fake-out Garden Burger™️

Do you guys remember the old school Garden Burger™️? You know, the one that came onto the food scene when I was a Morrissey worshipping vegetarian in 1992? (Too bad he turned out to be a total racist prick, even though when I touched his hand at a concert, I thought I’d never wash it again!) It was hearty, satisfying and not trying too hard to taste like meat, unlike its counterpart, the Boca Burger™️ that came out the very next year and nearly made me gag at family BBQ’s. Anyways, back to that Garden Burger. I loved it. But it’s not vegan. It’s still around, but it has cheese and some other weird additives and preservatives in it. Well, I’ve been craving it and seeing as how I’m currently trying to follow McDougall’s “Starch Solution” for Crohn’s disease, I thought I’d make it according to protocol. You’re going to love it. It’s the hearty, tasty, filling, vegan burger that’s not trying to be meat and that won’t fall apart on your grill or in your skillet. Plus it’s gluten-free! TBH I air fried the one in this post and it was so damn delicious. Here you go.

Umami Bomb Veggie Burgers

Aka: vegan fake-out Garden Burgers

  • 4 cups cooked long grain brown rice (or about 1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice cooked in 3 cups of tasty vegetable broth)
  • 16 ounces button mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 large finely diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quick or rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari (or coconut aminos for soy-free)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder (used as a binder, see notes below for substitutions)

Method: In a large skillet, dry fry the onion until it starts to release all its liquid. Stir and add the mushrooms. Cook the onions and mushrooms until they’re mostly dry. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, tamari, and the nutritional yeast. Turn off the heat. Add the oats, then the brown rice. Make sure at this point the burgers are seasoned to your taste/adjust seasonings if necessary. Next. sprinkle the psyllium husk powder evenly over everything and quickly stir to thoroughly combine. On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, use a slightly heaped 1/2 cup measure to portion out the burgers. Shape with a peanut butter lid/wide mouth mason jar lid/or a Talenti™️ sorbetto lid (like I did) into thick burger shapes by pressing the lid onto the portioned burgers until nicely shaped. Even though these burgers are oil-free, they shouldn’t stick to the lid or measuring cup too badly. Next, either cook in a nonstick or seasoned cast iron skillet/or grill/air fry immediately, or freeze formed burgers in between sheets of parchment paper and cook up to 3 months later directly from frozen. Cook 3-4 minutes per side if fresh, 4-5 minutes per side if frozen, or about 10 min in the air fryer at its hottest temp (watch so it doesn’t burn). Makes 10-12 big veggie burgers.

Notes: if you don’t have psyllium husk powder, I highly recommend it. It’s a great binder made from natural psyllium. In lieu of psyllium you could try 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed or ground chia seeds mixed with 1/4 cup warm water, but I haven’t tried it and I can’t guarantee the burgers won’t fall apart. This recipe can easily be halved if you prefer 5-6 burgers instead of 10-12.



  1. Yess, I often lament how much I miss good ole gardenburgers!! Throw a roasted green chile on there and 😍😍😍 the tastiest nostalgia.

    I’ve been on a similar air fryer lentil/brown rice meatlessball kick lately and have been thinking I should turn my mix into burgers when my freezer stash runs out. Totally throwing in some mushrooms now!

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