Red Quinoa Burgers are crispy on the outside, soft within, and overflowing with delicious flavors. Made with basil, sun-dried tomatoes and almonds, this burger is loved by vegetarians and carnivores alike.
Gluten-free and vegetarian, these Red Quinoa Burgers are ridiculously delicious and flavorful.
And by "ridiculously," I mean wonderfully, incredibly, amazingly, and so on.
These vegetarian burgers feature red quinoa that's surrounded by fresh herbs, sweet tomatoes, buttery almonds and subtly salty Parmesan.
(I often suggest brands I love and use — these are only suggestions and this is not a sponsored post.)
- vegetable broth - This will be used to cook the quinoa. Low-sodium or sodium-free is preferable.
- red quinoa - Red quinoa should be available at most stores where quinoa is sold.
- fresh basil - Choose perky bunches and avoid any brown, bruised or yellow leaves.
- marinated sun-dried tomatoes - We'll be using both the tomatoes and the marinating oil.
- sliced almonds
- gluten-free bread crumbs - See "Recipe Tips and Substitutions" below.
- onion - Try to choose onions that are firm, heavy for their size and without bruises.
- Parmesan cheese - Super finely grated is best. I use the one from Trader Joe's.
- fresh garlic - Look for firm heads of garlic without any soft spots or green shoots, which is an indication of old garlic. (Raw garlic cloves should be firm without any dark spots.)
- salt - I cook with Kosher salt. I prefer it over other salts for a few reasons: its larger flake size, it's less refined and usually doesn't contain additives, and it does a great job enhancing the flavor of foods without making them taste salty.
- black pepper - Preferably freshly ground.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- You can use any color of quinoa you like -- or even a mix. White, red and black are the most common, but quinoa can also be orange, purple, pink, green and gray. They will all cook the same way, in the same amount of time. The flavor varies only slightly from color to color. (Red quinoa is my favorite.) There's a lot of great detailed information about all of them here.
- You can find jarred sun-dried tomatoes marinated in olive oil in most grocery stores. (It's okay if they contain herbs and garlic.)
- If keeping your quinoa burger gluten-free isn't important for you, use regular breadcrumbs (Regular Panko is great).
- Gluten-free breadcrumbs might be hard to find -- you can make your own! Toast gluten-free bread slices and then use a food processor to make them into crumbs.
- Sometimes quinoa can be on the bitter side. To avoid this, add the uncooked quinoa to a fine mesh strainer and rinse it gently with cold water, for about 30 seconds or so.
- These burgers are on the wet side and should be handled carefully as you sauté them. If you follow the instructions below, they should easily hold their shape very well.
- If you want to use a grill, say if you're grilling other things for an outdoor BBQ, I'd suggest placing a sauté pan (ideally cast iron), directly on the grill. They will be too fragile to place directly on the grill, especially if it's a wide grate. You can however, place them directly on a stove-top grill and follow the same instructions.
Quinoa is not a grain -- it's a seed that has a subtle nutty and earthy flavor, and and can sometimes be slightly bitter.
The beautifully colored, red quinoa is mildly sweet, and its that earthy flavor lends itself to these hearty and healthy burgers.
I've worked with quinoa a lot, and I tend to make it crispy in most of my recipes. When quinoa is crisped, it has a great crunch and it brings the nut-like flavor out.
How to Make Them
- Pour the broth into a small pot, place it over high heat, and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Add basil, sun-dried tomatoes and oil, almonds, bread crumbs, onion, Parmesan, garlic, egg and salt, to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Add the cooked quinoa to the bowl and mix until it's evenly incorporated into the sun-dried tomato mixture. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
- About ⅓ cup each, shape the quinoa mixture into 6 "burgers,” placing them on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan as you go. (If you have an ice cream scoop about the right size, it's the easiest way to shape them.) Gently use the palm of your hand to press each one into a nice round shape.
- Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with olive oil and place it over medium-high heat. Once the pan is very hot, use a flat-bottomed, metal spatula to place the burgers into the pan, with a couple of inches between them.
- Sauté for about 2 minutes, then carefully flip the burgers over and reduce the heat to medium-low, and sauté for another few minutes or so, until the bottom is golden brown and they hold together well.
- Place the cooked burgers on a plate and cover with foil until you're ready to serve.
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
- Quinoa burgers are delicious with garlic mashed potatoes or herbed smashed potatoes.
- They're excellent with a bun, or between two slices of bread, served with traditional burger fixings -- tomato, avocado, red onion, lettuce, etc.
- I love them with a bun, sautéed Sherry Mushrooms and this guacamole.
- Quinoa vegetarian burgers are also fantastic broken up and sprinkled into a salad.
More Vegetarian Quinoa Recipes
Can you make them ahead?
- These are crispiest and at their best when they come out of the pan.
- The burgers can be made and shaped a day ahead of time. Refrigerate them once shaped, on a plate with wax paper or parchment paper between them so they don't stick together.
- You can also freeze the shaped burgers before cooking them. Just be sure they're in an airtight container, or freezer bags, with wax paper or parchment paper between them so they don't stick together. They can be frozen for up to a month. Thaw completely in the fridge before cooking them.
Red Quinoa Burgers Recipe
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup dry Red Quinoa (or preferred color)
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- ⅓ cup marinated sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- 1 tablespoon oil from the marinated sun-dried tomato marinade
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup gluten-free bread crumbs (see notes)
- ¼ cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 large egg
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- olive oil for the pan
- Cook quinoa. Pour the broth into a small pot, place it over high heat, and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
- Blend remaining ingredients. Add the basil, sun-dried tomatoes, sun-dried tomato oil, almonds, bread crumbs, onion, Parmesan, garlic, egg and salt, to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend until it's a fairly smooth consistency. Use a rubber spatula to transfer this to a large mixing bowl.
- Combine everything together. Add the cooked quinoa to the bowl and mix until it's evenly incorporated into the sun-dried tomato mixture. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. (Here's How to Season to Taste.)
- Shape. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, and then about ⅓ cup each, shape the quinoa mixture into 6 "burgers." (If you have an ice cream scoop about the right size, it's the easiest way to shape them.) Gently use the palm of your hand to press each one into a nice round shape. Set aside.
- Sauté. Generously coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with olive oil and place it over medium-high heat. Once the pan is very hot, use a flat-bottomed, metal spatula to place the burgers into the pan, with a couple of inches between them. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in two batches.) You should hear a sizzling sound — if you don’t, the pan isn't hot enough. (In order for them to crisp nicely, wait for the sizzle.) Sauté for about 2 minutes, then carefully flip the burgers over and reduce the heat to medium-low, and sauté for another few minutes or so, until the bottom is golden brown and they hold together well. Place the cooked burgers on a plate and cover with foil until you're ready to serve.
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