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Vegan BBQ Bacon Burger from But I Could Never Go Vegan by Kristy Turner

BBQ Bacon Burgers

  • Author: kristy turner
  • Total Time: 1 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 burgers


Recipe from But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over Dinner, copyright © Kristy Turner, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.

I think we can all agree there is a type of hunger that only a burger can satisfy. When that hunger arises, all you can think of is a meaty patty with all the fixin’s. Nothing else will do.

That’s when this burger comes to the rescue. It’s a hearty, BBQ-flavored patty made of beets, farro, and red lentils. Naturally, it’s topped with Tempeh Bacon (page 25), homemade pickled red cabbage, and even more Barbecue Sauce (page 31). Plant-based cheese is a great addition, and I strongly recommend Cashew Blue Cheese (page 46). This is one succulently messy burger, so you may want to change out of your new white shirt.



  • 1 head red cabbage
  • Salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • ½  cup (125 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or vegan brown sugar
  • 3 to 4 allspice berries
  • 3 to 4 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Water
  • 1 cup (150 g) peeled, chopped beets
  • 2½ cups (365 g) cooked farro
  • 1½ cups (240 g) cooked red lentils
  • ¼ cup (30 g) quinoa flour
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) Barbecue Sauce (page 31) or store-bought
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
  • 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce, optional
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • 8 vegan burger buns
  • Barbecue Sauce (page 31)
  • ½ batch Tempeh Bacon (found on page 25 of But I Could Never Go Vegan!)
  • ½ batch Cashew Blue Cheese (found on page 46 of But I Could Never Go Vegan!) or other vegan cheese of choice, optional
  • Mixed greens or lettuce




  1. Make the pickled red cabbage a day in advance. Chop the cabbage into quarters and cut out the core of each. Shred using a large box grater, or use a knife to make very thin slices. Place the shredded cabbage in a large colander and sprinkle salt over it. Toss to combine; leave the colander in the sink for 10 minutes to drain excess water.
  2. After 10 minutes, quickly rinse off the salt and use a clean kitchen towel to pat the cabbage dry. In a large airtight container, mix the sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, coconut sugar, allspice, cloves, and bay leaves. Add the cabbage and stir to combine. Cover the container and chill 24 hours. Take out the allspice berries, cloves, and bay leaves before using. Leftovers can be kept chilled up to 1 month.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Fit a steamer basket onto a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Place the beets in the steamer, cover, and steam until easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Remove from the steamer and cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. While the beets are steaming, combine the farro, lentils, and quinoa flour in a large bowl. Use your hands to mash them together until they start holding together in clumps when squeezed. Set aside.
  4. Combine the beets, garlic, barbecue sauce, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, cumin, thyme, chile powder, paprika, liquid smoke (if using), Worcestershire sauce (if using), salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until mostly smooth (tiny pieces of beet are okay). Pour into the bowl with the farro mixture. Stir until fully combined.
  5. Divide the mixture into 8 equal parts, shape into patties, and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until firm, flipping once halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  6. Before turning off the oven, place the burger buns on the oven rack for 2 minutes to heat them up. Remove and spread a layer of Barbecue Sauce on both halves of each bun. Place a few pieces of lettuce on the bottom bun and add the burger patty. Top with 2 to 3 bacon strips, some cashew blue cheese crumbles, and some pickled red cabbage. Top with the other half of the bun. Serve warm. Leftover patties can be chilled in an airtight container 4 to 5 days or frozen 1 month.



  • Buckwheat, oat, and brown rice flour work in place of quinoa flour.
  • For perfectly round burgers, spray a biscuit cutter with olive oil and use it to shape your patty on the baking sheet.
  • If you want to brown the outside of the burgers, spray a frying pan with olive oil and cook the baked patties over medium heat for a few minutes on each side.
  • To make the burger prep much quicker, plan on cooking the farro and lentils and steaming the beets earlier that day or up to 3 days in advance.


  • Try using a different cheese, like Sunflower Cheddar (page 42), Tofu Chèvre (page 36), or a store-bought vegan cheese.
  • To make gluten-free burgers, replace the farro with brown rice and use gluten-free buns.
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes