About This Spinach “Burgers” Recipe
Want to eat more veggies but can’t give up burgers? Simply sink your teeth into these bodacious Spinach “Burgers” to get your fill of nutrition without compromising on taste!
These meat-free patties are made with ingredients you know and love and are ridiculously easy to make — stir together all the veggie burger ingredients in a bowl, mold them into patties, and pan-fry in a little olive oil. And that’s it!
The recipe includes simple ingredients such as thawed frozen spinach, bread crumbs, garlic, lemon zest, dried red pepper flakes, ground nutmeg, chili powder, and olive oil. Spinach — the star of the recipe — is a superfood packed with antioxidants that are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. These “burgers” also incorporate cheddar cheese (yum!) and eggs, fitting perfectly into a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. Fully customizable, you can adjust the ingredients to fit a vegan or 100% plant-based diet, too.
With the sharp tang of cheddar cheese, the zest of lemon, and the trio of spices, these green patties pack a punch of flavor.
If getting your greens in felt like a never-ending struggle, this recipe is your best friend!
What You Need for This Spinach “Burgers” Recipe
- Frozen chopped spinach: Spinach is a leafy green veggie packed with healthy plant compounds including lutein, zeaxanthin, and quercetin. It has a high-water content, so you’ll want to squeeze out its excess liquids to easily form it into burger patties with the remaining ingredients.
- Eggs: I’ve added eggs to boost the protein and eye-friendly nutrient content in this recipe while also offering a culinary binder to ensure that the patties hold together well. For the most environmentally-friendly choice, choose organic pasture-raised eggs.
- Sharp cheddar cheese: Picking a sharp cheese offers more flavor than a mild version. It’s a delicious way to get calcium, too. I have used organic grass-fed cheese.
- Dry bread crumbs: The finely ground dry crumbs of bread give these patties body and work with eggs as a binding agent, allowing you to mold the patties and stuff them into buns just like their meaty counterparts. Go with an unseasoned variety of bread since you’ll be adding other spices to this recipe.
- Garlic: It’s an aromatic vegetable that belongs to the same smelly (in a good way!) family as the onion. Apart from the herbaceous flavor, garlic is also known to have potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cholesterol-lowering abilities.
- Lemon zest: Lemon zest refers to the grated yellow peel of the lemon, not the white pithy part. A small amount is all you need for a significant citrusy aroma and tanginess.
- Sea salt: Sea salt is essentially salt, just less processed and containing trace mineral content. Depending on where it’s sourced from, sea salt can also vary slightly in color, taste, and texture. Arguably healthier than table salt, but you can use regular salt as well.
- Dried red pepper flakes: These “hot” flakes are made from a mix of dried and pulverized peppers, mostly cayenne peppers, and have one key goal — to kick up “heat” in dishes.
- Ground nutmeg: Nutmeg is considered a “sweet” spice and pairs well with spinach. Like cinnamon, it can work well in both sweet and savory foods.
- Chili powder: A spice blend containing ground dried chiles and cayenne pepper, it may also have cumin, paprika, oregano, and garlic and onion powders. Look for chili powder with minimum ingredients to avoid an overpowering taste.
- Olive oil: There are different varieties of olive oil varieties, the most popular being extra-virgin olive oil. It is the least processed variety of olive oil, good for pan-frying.
- Frozen chopped spinach: If you prefer to use fresh spinach, you’ll need to steam it first. Then, use a 16-ounce (454g) cooked portion of it for the recipe.
- Eggs: You can choose to go plant-based by using vegan “eggs” or chia gel. To make chia gel, combine 2 tablespoons chia seeds with 6 tablespoons water (or, better yet, spinach liquid), let it sit 15 minutes to thicken, and swap it in place of 2 large eggs.
- Sharp cheddar cheese: Other high-flavored cheese such as Gruyere, Manchego, or aged Gouda also works great. Or use a plant-based cheese of choice.
- Dry bread crumbs: Whole grain bread crumbs, gluten-free bread crumbs, and finely chopped (in a food processor) old-fashioned rolled oats will all work as an equal swap.
- Garlic: Cheating is allowed — sub the 1 large clove with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
- Lemon zest: You can use 2 tablespoons lemon juice in place of the 1 teaspoon zest, but make sure you remove all excess water from the spinach to avoid the mixture going too soggy.
- Dried red pepper flakes: If you can’t stand the “heat,” just skip them!
- Olive oil: Switch it up by pan-frying with any heart-healthy oil that has a relatively high smoke point, such as grapeseed, avocado, or high-oleic sunflower oil.
Can I make these “burgers” on the grill?
Yes! Simply brush the uncooked patties with the oil before carefully placing them onto fully-heated grill grates. Let them fully cook on one side and carefully flip them over.
Can I scale this recipe up for a party?
Of course! For best results, use two large skillets if you double the recipe. Or pan-fry in batches, adding the divided amount of oil per batch. You can also keep all the patties warm in the oven after pan-frying them.
What to do with leftovers?
The sky’s the limit! You can reheat them for a filling breakfast burger the next day. The patties are delicious bun-free, too. Try something new, such as topping one with a fried egg or chickpea “scramble” for breakfast or brunch. Or serve cool — try it with a dollop of tzatziki sauce!
Meatless, delicious, and full of nutrient-dense ingredients, these spinach “burgers” make for perfect healthy meals or even a hearty snack. Made with simple, fresh ingredients, you won’t be missing regular burgers anytime soon!
Yield: 4 “burgers”
How To Make Spinach “Burgers” Step By Step
In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients except the oil.
Firmly form the mixture into 4 balls.
Flatten the balls into patties, about 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) diameter.
Heat the oil in a large (12-inch/30-cm or larger) stick-resistant skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until firm and richly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Assemble into the buns with freshly sliced tomatoes, lettuce, or any other vegetable for an added crunch. Serve while warm!
- You can serve these patties on buns like traditional burgers, accessorized with lettuce, tomato, and ketchup or mayo. But they’re tasty with so many other topping combinations. Try roasted bell pepper, cucumber, fresh dill, and Dijon mustard, or avocado, red onion, microgreens, and lemon aioli.
- Wanna take these to a cookout? Make the patties in advance, store them in the fridge, and then just reheat them on the grill.
- If you’re cooking for one or two, go ahead and make the full batch that serves four. Freeze the extras and reheat in a skillet or microwave for an easy dinner.