This ‘ultimate’ veggie burger is made with locally grown beets

UBC students asked for a veggie burger on the school’s menu. By: David Speight

beet burger

My inspiration for the Ultimate Veggie Burger came from chats with students who wanted to see a veggie burger on the menu. This recipe is a great way to use a seasonal, antioxidant-packed vegetables like beets, and it’s a great alternative to the less healthy and less sustainable beef burger. The UBC farm grows beets, so we made them the star of the patty to keep it local. I also love anything with avocado, so the guacamole replaces a traditional mayonnaise.

David Speight is the executive chef at the University of British Columbia and is featured Food for Thought, a documentary from The Nature of Things.

Serves 4.


Burger patties
2 cups peeled and cubed beet root (about 3 small beets)
1 cup red or white quinoa, cooked
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 egg
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp whole-wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp flax seeds
2 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp chili flakes
1 tsp sea salt

1 ripe avocado
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp lime juice
1 garlic clove
¼ tsp sea salt

4 whole-grain brioche buns
A handful of watercress


Preheat oven to 175 C

Place beet cubes on a lined baking sheet, rub with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Place roasted beets in a food processor, and pulse two or three times. You need some texture for the burgers, so make sure you don’t mash them completely.

Transfer pulsed beets to a large bowl, add all other burger patty ingredients and stir to combine. If the texture is too mushy, add more bread crumbs until you obtain the desired consistency.

With slightly wet hands, shape burger patties and place them on a lined baking sheet.

Bake burger patties for 25–30 minutes, flipping them halfway through.

While burger patties are baking, place all dressing ingredients in food processor, and process until creamy.

Assemble burgers immediately after removing from oven. Cut buns in half, spread some dressing on bottom halves, add burger patties, and top generously with more dressing and watercress. Serve immediately.


Available on CBC Gem

The Nature of Things: Food for Thought

Nature of Things