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7 Terrific Toppings for Veggie Burgers

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For many people, summer and barbecue just go together.  We enjoy grilling and that didn’t change when we stopped eating animals.  Like many vegans, we grill indoors and out.  Apart from the plethora of fresh vegetables – and fruits – that can be cooked on the grill, grilling is a fun way to cook other plant-based foods, including veggie burgers, brats and dogs.

Be careful not to overcook store-bought veggie burgers because they are generally pre-cooked and will become hard if left on the grill too long.  Freezing homemade veggie burgers prior to grilling them will help the burger hold together better on the grill.

Try grilling your favorite store bought or homemade veggie burger (like a Black Bean or Good Burger), then use one or more of the following toppings and enjoy the burger as is, on a lettuce leaf or in between a whole grain bun.

Caramelized Onions

  • 2 T Coconut Oil
  • 3 yellow onions, peeled and sliced in half, then cut into very thin slices
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper (a few turns on the pepper mill)
  • ¼ cup water or vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp. balsamic (optional)

Melt the coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper and stir to coat.  Turn the heat to low and cook the onions for about 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally so the onions don’t burn.  Add the water or stock and continue cooking the onions for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the stock is reduced and the onions are very soft and slightly brown.  Remove from heat and add balsamic vinegar if using.

Valerie’s Vegan 1K Dressing (from Valerie Wilson)

  • ½ cup Veganaise (or other commercial vegan mayo or make your own by blending 1 package silken tofu with 2 T red wine vinegar and salt to taste)
  • 2 to 3 T organic catsup
  • 1 to 2 T drained pickle relish, (sweet, dill or zucchini relish)
  • Dash of Tabasco (red or green)
  • 1 to 2 T finely chopped onion (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together and stir to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.  You can also add a pinch of smoked paprika or a little horseradish.  For a unique taste, substitute chili sauce for the catsup.

Easy BBQ Sauce (from Ann Swissdorf)
This recipe can be easily varied – just mix the catsup and agave together and add your favorite seasonings.

  • 1 cup organic unsweetened catsup
  • ½ cup agave
  • 1 T dried onion flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper (optional)
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together.  You can now use the sauce immediately for baking or grilling.  To use the sauce for dipping or as a topping for veggie burgers or dogs, transfer it to a small pan and bring it to a low boil, stirring constantly. Cover, then simmer over low heat for 10 or more minutes, stirring occasionally.  The longer the sauce simmers, the thicker it becomes.  To store, cool the sauce then  refrigerate it in a covered glass jar or container.

Miyoko’s Mustard (from Miyoko Schinner)
We got this recipe at Miyoko Schinner’s cooking demo at Health Fest, 2015 in Marshall Texas.  Use the mustard as is, or blend it with horseradish, light miso or even agave to taste.

  • ¾ cup dry (powdered) mustard
  • ¾ cup distilled vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot

Wisk everything together or mix in a blender until very smooth.  Pour the mixture into a saucepan, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Pour into a squeeze bottle.  It will thicken as it cools.

Best Guacamole Ever 

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ small red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. sea salt or to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional but recommended)
  • 1 or 2 T salsa or 1 peeled and finely diced tomato (optional)

Peel and pit the avocados then mash them with a fork in a small bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes for flavors to blend.


Asian Nutty Slaw (from Justina Walls)

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 small head cabbage or 1 package cole slaw mix
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 T sesame seeds
  • 1 package “top ramen” noodles (Justina says “ditch the spice packet”)
  • 6 to 8 diced green onions

Dressing Ingredients

  • 3 T. canola or other mild salad oil
  • 6 T. rice or white vinegar
  • 4 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt & pepper or to taste

Brown the almonds and sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Once browned, remove the nuts and seeds from the pan and let cool. Mix the shredded cabbage and green onions in a large bowl. When the nuts and sesame seeds are cool, add them to the slaw mix.
Mix the dressing ingredients together. Right before serving, break the ramen noodles apart over the salad. Shake or stir the dressing ingredients and pour on top of the salad. Toss well & serve as a side salad or over a veggie burger!
Note: The spice packet for the ramen noodles is generally full of MSG and other things you do not want to eat. Justina suggests that you throw it out!

Sautéed Mushrooms

  • 1 T olive oil or Earth Balance
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 oz. package sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg (optional)
  • ½ cup good quality sherry
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 T. flour

Heat the olive oil or Earth Balance in a pan over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft.  Turn the heat up a bit and add the mushrooms, salt and nutmeg.  Cook about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms release their liquid.   Add the sherry and cook another 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour and water together.  Turn the flame down and add the water/flour slurry to the mushroom mixture.  Cook to desired consistency stirring constantly.

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Author: Kris Giovanini

Kris is a former attorney and long time vegetarian/vegan who was healed of severe digestive problems after eliminating all dairy from her diet. Says Kris "if I can make great vegan food, anyone can"! Kris devotes her time to promoting vegan/plant-based diets and can be reached at