Whether you don’t eat meat or just occasionally want a plant-based sandwich, a veggie burger may be just the meal you’re looking for. They’ve come a long way since the mealy, brown, hippie hockey pucks that originally gave them a bad name. Still, they can have their pitfalls.

I consulted with our resident vegetarian, Post Food editor Joe Yonan, for a few tips for success:

  • Use your hands to mash the ingredients, leaving large pieces for texture. Pureeing them in a food processor will give you a uniform and gluey consistency.
  • Firmly pack the burgers. You want them to hold together, so don’t be afraid to really compact the ingredients.
  • When flipping during pan-frying, gently lift them with a large spatula and carefully flip them over as close to the surface of the pan as possible. The higher and rougher you are, the more likely that they will go splat and break.
  • If the whole pan-frying thing bothers you in terms of structural integrity, you can bake veggie burgers before or instead of cooking them in the skillet. Just know the crust may not be quite as brown and crispy.
  • Despite your best efforts, veggie burgers can still squish as you bite them inside a roll. That’s just physics. It doesn’t bother me, but there’s no rule that says a veggie burger has to be eaten on a bun. Or try open-faced for less smooshing.

So now it’s time to put your new know-how to the test. Here are five trusty recipes from our archives:

BGR Veggie Burgers, above. These lean sweet, which makes them a perfect foil for typical burger condiments such as mustard, onions and pickles. You get a batch of 12, but extras can be frozen after the initial bake (before pan-frying).

Mushroom-Chickpea Burgers. These also employ the bake-before-frying method. Rather than frying, you can grill these burgers for extra savory, smoky flavor.

Black Bean Burgers. The secret ingredient in these fast burgers? Yup, it’s applesauce.

Beefsteak Sandwiches. Skip making patties by using a big slice of tomato instead in this signature sandwich from José Andrés’s fast-casual Beefsteak chain. If you’re not vegan, you can use real mayonnaise instead of the suggested plant-based spread.

Superiority Burgers. Feeling ambitious? You can make your own version of the veggie burger from Brooks Headley that has had fans lining up in New York.

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