Veggie burgers, on a bad day, can look like Salisbury steak microwaved in a middle school cafeteria. It’s what happens when you try to mold a crop of sprouts, beets, and carrots into a magical patty that looks, feels, and tastes like something it’s not. Really, we should just let vegetables be vegetables. And when it comes to veggie burgers, they should be vibrant works of produce that feel fresh, savory, and dynamic.
The Veggie Burger
North Highland Pub
How many people walk into a pub pining for a veggie burger? There can’t be many, but those who do would be happy to order this one, made with oatmeal, carrots, and black beans. Add slices of ripe avocado and a slick basil mayo for an addictive oomph. 469 North Highland Avenue
Black Bean Burger
Gasp! It’s a chain! But the black bean patty—purple with diced cubes of beets and flecked with jalapeños—boasts a sweet and savory verve thanks to a soy glaze and Monterey cheese. Even the edges crunch and chew like the charred bits of a burger. Only the mountain of lettuce feels out of place. Multiple locations
Veggie Quinoa Burger
If there’s such a thing as an ideal veggie burger, it surely exists at Farm Burger. The first store opened in Decatur in 2010 before expanding to Buckhead and Dunwoody, and then on to both coasts: first Asheville, North Carolina, then Berkeley, California. The crunch of thinly sliced beets, the sweetness of soft balsamic onions, and the snap from mixed greens meld with a winning garlic aioli on top of a quinoa patty. Multiple locations
This article originally appeared in our January 2015 issue.