Beet Burger with Basil Pesto

The inspiration for this recipe was the veggie burger I had at HopDoddy burger bar here in Austin. This place is rated as one of the best burger joints in the country and do try it if you are in Austin. The restaurant version is a black bean burger with cilantro pesto, arugula and goat cheese. I wanted to try something different using beets and came up with this recipe with what I had in my pantry at that moment along with some leftovers (see tip below). You don’t have to worry about it being too sweet plus the basil pesto is an amazing combination with these burgers. Healthy and filled with nutrients, you can prepare the patties well ahead and freeze them and use them as needed. You can also try different toppings and sauces. If you do not have pesto, a slice of pepper-jack or Swiss cheese goes well too.

Beet burger


Whole wheat burger buns – 4
Baby spinach leaves – 1 cup
Basil pesto – 2 tbsp per burger, see recipe here
Onion, finely chopped – 2/3 cup
Garlic, minced – 2 tbsp
Serrano pepper, minced – 1 tbsp
Beets, grated – 2 cups
Potato, boiled and mashed – 1/2 cup
Brown rice, cooked – 1/2 cup
Garam masala – 3/4 tsp
Cilantro, finely chopped – 2 tbsp
Ground black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 3 tsp + for grilling the patties
Butter – 1/2 tsp per half bun

Yield: 4 burgers


  • Heat oil in a pan and add the minced garlic and serrano peppers
  • Add onions and saute well
  • Add the grated beets and saute for about 5 minutes
  • Add garam masala, cilantro, ground black pepper and salt and mix well
  • Continue to saute for few more minutes to ensure that all the moisure is absorbed
  • Add the rice and mashed potato. Mix well and remove from heat
  • Let it cool and transfer it to a food processor and pulse it a few times just to get a coarse mixture as shown below so that it will be easy to shape them into patties

Beet burger mix 2 Beet burger mix Beet burger patties

  • When you are ready to make the burgers, heat oil in a skillet and place the patties. Do not overcrowd them as it will get difficult to flip them
  • Cook the patties on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Cook extra 2-3 minutes to get a nice brown crust
  • Do not worry if they break while flipping. Just patch them up and shape them into a patty again. As they continue to cook, they will less likely break
  • Butter the halves of the buns and grill them slightly in the skillet
  • To assemble the burger, place few spinach leaves on one half of the bun, place the patty over it and top it with the pesto and cover with the other half. Serve warm


Tip: You can substitute the potato and garam masala with leftover Aloo paratha filling. This is also a great way to use up leftover rice.

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