If you love a burger for the sauce, this recipe is for you. I took our favorite dinner of grilled burgers and made us a vegan version of burger bowls! Let's keep this recipe super easy by using a frozen black bean burger, a simple dressing that is identical to In n Out's classic burger sauce, and all of the toppings you like on your burger.
I have quite a few friends that order their In n Out burgers 'protein style,' which is when they serve the burger on lettuce instead of a bun. Some friends do this because they are gluten free, other friends are anti-carb, and some friends are just trying to eat more vegetables. No matter the reason, I have always thought a burger bowl with lots of salad would be better than holding a slippery burger in between two slippery piles of lettuce.
So, the black bean burger bowl recipe was born. I want to keep this burger bowl vegan so that even more people can enjoy it. Besides, it's all about the sauce for me. The special sauce that comes on a burger is the best part! Here, it's going to be our salad dressing.
How to Make Burger Bowls
First, decide on the burger part. You can use a real burger patty that has already been cooked. Or, you can use a frozen veggie burger patty like I do! I really like a certain black bean burger patty that you can find in almost any grocery store in the freezer section. You can also use my recipe for black bean burgers, if you like!
Second, make your sauce. This is a mayonnaise-based sauce that contains ketchup, mustard and pickle relish, all toppings that you typically find on a burger. We're also adding extra spices to amp up the flavor even more. Use vegan mayo to keep this recipe vegan, and use vegan cheddar shreds, too.
To serve, you need chopped romaine lettuce, sliced cherry tomatoes, pickles (but only if you like pickles on your burger normally), thinly sliced red onion, and shredded cheese to mimic the slice of cheese on a cheeseburger.
- Burgers. For this recipe, I use 4 frozen pre-made black bean burgers. You can use whatever burger patty you like for this recipe, and you don't have to keep it vegan at all. My choice is the Morning Star Farms spicy black bean burgers.
- Mayonnaise. This is the base of our sauce. If you're vegan, use a vegan mayo, otherwise regular is fine.
- Mustard. One tablespoon of yellow mustard; not Dijon mustard, which is too spicy for this.
- Ketchup. A small amount of ketchup for the classic In n Out sauce flavor.
- Pickles. We need dill pickle relish for the dressing, and then whole dill pickles, sliced, for serving. That said, if you're a sweet pickle person, use that instead.
- Smoked Paprika. It's really worth finding smoked paprika instead of regular paprika. It gives the dressing a smoky flavor that mimics a grilled burger.
- Garlic Powder. You can use a ½ teaspoon of garlic powder or 1 clove of garlic, finely minced.
- Onion Powder. We need ¼ teaspoon of onion powder or onion granules.
- Romaine Lettuce. One 9-ounce bag of chopped Romaine lettuce, washed and ready to serve.
- Tomatoes. A 10-ounce package of grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half. Alternatively, you can diced a regular fresh tomato.
- Red Onion. Half of a small red onion, sliced thinly into rings.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese. Completely optional. Sprinkle grated cheddar (or vegan cheddar) over the burger bowls before serving to approximate the slice of cheese that typically comes on a cheeseburger. (Use vegan cheddar shreds, or omit).
How to Build a Burger Bowl
Add the mayo, mustard, ketchup, pickle relish, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to a small bowl.
Whisk the dressing together until the spices are evenly blended, and set aside. Next, cook the burgers according to package directions, and set aside to cool.
To a serving bowl, add the chopped lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced pickles (if using), the red onion and cheddar.
Toss everything together well, and add the dressing on top. Just before serving the burger bowls, add the sliced burger patties on top.
For the salad dressing:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- ¼ cup dill pickle relish
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- 4 frozen pre-made black bean burgers*
- 1 9 ounce bag of chopped romaine lettuce
- 10-ounce package of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1-2 dill pickles, chopped
- ½ a small red onion, sliced into rings
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- First, make the dressing: combine the mayo, mustard, kethcup, pickle relish, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth.
- Next, slide the frozen bean burgers in the air fryer (or a skillet), and cook according to package directions. When done, remove and slice into strips and set aside.
- Next, add the lettuce to a large serving bowl, and top with the sliced tomatoes, chopped pickles, red onion rings and shredded cheddar.
- Drizzle the dressing on top, and toss. Serve with the sliced bean burgers on top.
*(I used Morning Star Farms Frozen Spicy Black Bean Burgers)
Vegan: Keep this vegan by using vegan mayonnaise and vegan cheddar shreds.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 484Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 1153mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 7gSugar: 6gProtein: 18g