Barbecue Black Bean Burgers & Homemade BBQ Sauce

Barbecue Black Bean Burgers & Homemade BBQ Sauce

I just got my hands on The Vegan Burgers and Burritos cookbook by Sophia DeSantis which features 75 plant-based burger-themed recipes. I can’t wait to dig in—and I don’t want you to have to wait either! So here is one of the author’s favorite recipes from the cookbook, a vegan black bean burger recipe! So bust out the beans and ready your rice, it’s Burger Time!

If you’re new to homemade burgers, don’t worry. The recipes in this cookbook are rated by difficulty level, and this is a Level I recipe—so easy anyone can do it! So what are you waiting for? Let the vegan burger making begin!

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Barbecue Black Bean Burgers

  • Author: Sophia DeSantis
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 65 minutes - 105 minutes
  • Yield: 4 patties 1x
  • Category: Lunch, Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop or Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Bringing BBQ to your table the nontraditional way. No animals were harmed in this hearty meal, but all of your taste buds will party at the first bite. Slather on as much BBQ sauce as you want and grab a napkin—it’s going to get messy. Hope you aren’t wearing white!


  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup of cooked or canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup of chopped sweet or yellow onion (save some rings of onion to use as an optional topping)
  • ¼ cup of cooked chopped potato (russet, yellow, or red)
  • 2 tablespoons of cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon of Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce (see recipe below)
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • ¼ cup of cooked frozen corn (defrosted to room temp) or fresh corn

To Serve

  • 4 to 5 buns
  • lightly grilled rings of sweet or yellow onion
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce (recipe below)


  1. Place the rice, beans, onion, potato, cornmeal, BBQ sauce, garlic powder, chili powder, liquid smoke, salt and syrup into a food processor. Pulse a few times until chunky. Add the corn and pulse a few more times. Don’t overpulse or the mixture will get too soft and diplike.
  2. Place the mixture into a bowl, and put it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes; an hour is best. Making this the day before and letting it sit overnight is optimal. This helps all the flavors marinate and leads to a sturdier burger.
  3. To cook, shape the mixture into patties. If you’re not using a nonstick pan, then you may want to prepare the pan by brushing it with a tad of oil to avoid sticking. Place the patties in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat for 15 minutes on each side. Pans and stovetops vary, so begin to check the patties at 10 minutes. If you try to slide your spatula under a patty and it won’t give, then it isn’t ready and needs to cook longer.
  4. You can also bake the patties on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 375°F (191°C) for about 20 to 25 minutes on each side. Allow the patties to cool and set for 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Serve on buns with the toppings of your choice.


  • Any type of starchy potato works—I use red. Sweet potato is not recommended as it is not starchy enough. Cook the potato in the microwave or oven. I don’t recommend boiling it because it makes the potato too wet. Measure the potato by mashing it into the measuring cup.
  • Kids—Make patties into a smaller slider size or into nuggets. Serve sauce on the side as a dipper.

Keywords: bbq, bean burger, gluten-free, meat-free, meatless, summer meal, vegan burger, vegetarian, veggie burger

Easy Homemade Vegan Barbecue Sauce

Whip up this homemade sauce in no time. It’s way better than the bottled version and much healthier. You can even add more sweet or tang to meet your BBQ sauce desires. My new found favorite snack is dipping fresh, crisp fries into this sauce. Get out a bowl and pile it on, cowboy!

  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup low-sodium veggie broth (see notes)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2. teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Put the tomato paste, broth, maple syrup, molasses, vinegar, liquid smoke, chili powder, salt and garlic powder in a bowl and mix well until smooth.
  2. People have many different opinions when it comes to the kind of BBQ sauce they like. If you fall in the spicy camp, then add more chili powder ¼ teaspoon at a time to get the level of spice you like. If you are in the sweet camp, add more maple syrup ¼ teaspoon at a time until you get the sweetness you like. If you are in the tangy camp, add more vinegar ¼ teaspoon at a time until you get the tang you like. This is a good middle-of-the road BBQ sauce, the perfect average mix of sweet, spicy and tangy, according to what I like and the opinions of those who’ve tried it.
  • You can use water instead of broth, but I find the broth gives it a bit more flavor. Add more or less broth for the thickness you like.
  • This sauce is best if made ahead of time so the flavors are allowed to marinate. Marinating also allows the spices to fully combine with the tomato paste. If your sauce seems a little “gritty,” then allow it to sit longer. You can speed this up by heating it slightly.

Bring on the Burgers

Having a simple, go-to burger recipe is so important, especially during the warmer months! Sophia’s recipe calls for ingredients that are easily found in your kitchen cabinet or grocery aisle including beans and brown rice, which we love! Since this vegan black bean burger recipe is gluten-free by default, it’s great for those who are sensitive to wheat. 

Plenty of Protein 

If you’ve ever been pressed about where you get your protein as a vegan, this is the perfect protein-packed recipe to hush the naysayers! One cup of beans contains a whopping 41 grams of protein while a cup of brown rice has 5 grams. When beans and rice are eaten together, they contain all nine essential amino acids to form a complete source of protein! And what more delicious way to enjoy them than in this barbecue black bean burger?

How to Serve It Up

  • Go Gluten-Free – Can’t do gluten? No worries! Just whip out your favorite gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap since the patty is already naturally free of wheat!
  • Keep Your Eyes on the Fries – Fries are a burger’s best friend. Luckily for you, we have two fantastic recipes for you to try here at World of Vegan! Keep it sweet with our Perfect Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries or switch it up with these lovely Herbed Vegan Polenta Fries.
  • Toppings Galore – There are so many toppings you can add to your barbecue black bean burger to make it even more delicious! Want a meatier feel? Throw on some portobello or button mushrooms. Got a grill? Toss on some eggplant or zucchini to bring up your burger. Feeling cheesy? Break out your favorite vegan cheese to slap onto your patty. If you’re feeling extra adventurous you could even fry up some vegan onion rings to enjoy!

How to Store Your Black Bean Burgers

One of the best things about this recipe is how great it is for meal prepping! You can easily freeze these patties in an airtight container for at least three months. They’re perfect for packing in a lunch or popping in the microwave if you’re tight on time. If you’re looking to bulk-freeze, place the burgers on a flat tray and let them cool completely. Once cool, stick the entire tray in the freezer until the burgers are frozen solid in about 3-4 hours. Take the tray out of the freezer and put the burgers in a freezer-safe container. When the craving hits, just take your patty out to reheat and enjoy!

More Yummy Vegan BBQ Recipes:

Vegan Black Bean Burger Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Burgers and Burritos by Sophia DeSantis, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. Photos by Sophia DeSantis. Article edited by Amanda Meth. Please note that this article contains Amazon affiliate links which help us keep the lights on here at World of Vegan. 

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8 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Amanda · Edit

    What a great recipe! I love how accessible all of these ingredients are and I can’t wait to try making my own bbq sauce!

  2. I love black bean burgers and this one is great! The sauce has just the right amount of sweet and spicy. Mmmmm.

  3. Helloooooo burgers!! I’ve been feeling a little turned off by the super meaty vegan burgers these days so a wholesome homemade recipe is very welcome. Yum!

  4. Beatriz Buono-Core · Edit

    These burgers are so incredible!!! Need to make them again! 🙂

  5. Marie H. · Edit

    I always prefer bean and rice burgers over plant based meat substitutes, so this is the perfect recipe for anyone who is like me. The texture is excellent and the BBQ sauce is so good! This is now my favorite new veggie burger recipe and I could eat them every day of the week. Yum!

  6. Janaye · Edit

    WOW This burger is amazing! I want it right now hahaha


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