These meatless barley burgers feature amazing barley, feta, and sun-dried tomato patties topped with grilled peaches, mashed avocados, caramelized onions, brie, and sprouts. A perfect nutritious and incredibly delicious vegetarian burger!
Grilling season is here! And that means burgers and grilled vegetable salads are in abundance. But, we rarely eat the classic ground beef patties. Usually, we will eat leaner ground turkey burgers or chicken breast. If we are being indulgent, ground pork burgers with little flecks of bacon is what we like.
But lately, I like to switch it up with a vegetarian version instead. We are trying to move away from meat-forward meals and push vegetables to the forefront.
Barley is another grain I am feeding my family more of in my recent goal to avoid refined flours and sugars. Like spelt, it is considered an ancient grain and is full of vitamins and micronutrients as well as lots of fiber. I recently made a barley porridge for the kids, and I had some extra pearl barley around. So, I decided to play around with making vegetarian barley burgers out of it!
Making flavorful veggie burgers
For me, the purpose of a veggie burger is not to replicate the flavor of meat, but to create something that is amazing in its own way. And if you go into eating a veggie burger expecting to taste meat, you are going to be disappointed.
Instead, I want to taste the components that make up my burger. Nutty barley has a flavor all of its own that is amazing if highlighted the right way. These vegetarian burger patties are all kinds of flavorful: barley, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, basil, and oregano. I could eat them plain!
While fresh tomatoes are readily available right now, dried versions are good for bringing concentrated flavor to something without extra moisture. Sun-dried tomatoes are recent obsession of mine, such a great way to bring the beautiful tomato flavor into winter for pastas and other dishes. And I love the richness they bring to this burger.
My favorite burger toppings
Homemade brioche buns. While technically not a topping, a bun is an integral part of the burger experience (unless you go for a lettuce wrap), so you should pick a good one. While there are certainly times I will be lazy and use a store bought version, there is nothing like a freshly baked brioche bun. They are absolutely worth all the effort.
Avocado. While many people slice their avocado, I think it is easier to mash it up. It’s less likely to fall off the burger and you can add even more flavors! You can certainly adjust the amount of lemon juice and extra seasonings you add. If you are an avocado purist, just mash it up with a bit of salt!
Caramelized onions. I have been all about the caramelized onions recently. They are a must on any burger. Caramelizing really brings out the perfect flavor for me.
Cheese. Another must for me – always. Besides salmon, probably the hardest thing for me to give up if I were to try eating vegan would be cheese. For this vegetarian burger I went with brie. Not only does it pair perfectly with the grilled peaches (perhaps a side dish of just eating those together?), it goes really well with the nutty and herbal flavors from the barley patty.
Grilled peaches. Typically, I would grill some pineapple to top a burger like this, but since peaches are in season it seemed like a great opportunity. I found the flavor combo just right between the sweet peaches and the nutty barley. Just in general I love the sweet and savory combination, but it is especially good here.
Lettuce or some other sort of greens. I like lots of vegetables on my burger, so I went with lettuce and sprouts. I think sprouts and microgreens are amazing on burgers, with such a bright, fresh flavor. They are especially good with avocado – that crisp bite paired with the smooth creaminess.
But you should top your burger however you wish! There is no perfect way. As long as you have a flavorful patty, that is all you need to worry about.
Vegetarian Barley Burgers
For the barley patties:
- 3/4 cup (150g) pearl barley
- 3 oz. (85g) sun-dried tomatoes in oil , chopped
- 4 oz. (113g) feta cheese , crumbled
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 medium onion , chopped
- 1 egg
- 2-3 tablespoons almond flour
- salt and black pepper , to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1-2 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
For the burgers:
- 4 burger buns of your choice
- 2 medium avocados , pitted
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice , or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt , or more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper , or more to taste
- lettuce of your choice (I used baby greens)
- brie cheese
- caramelized onions
- grilled peaches
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking dish with parchment paper.
- Cook the barley in salted water according to package directions. Drain and let cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the barley, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, garlic, onion, egg, almond flour,salt, pepper, and dried herbs.
- Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the mixture, roll in bran, and flatten gently to form a party.
- Place the patties in the baking dish and bake 25-35 minutes.
- Mash the avocados together with the lemon juice, salt, and black pepper.
- Assemble the burgers, starting with the bottom bun, mashed avocados, baby greens, then the barley patty, brie cheese, caramelized onions, grilled peaches, and finally the top bun.