Black Bean Apple Burgers with Caramelized Onion Chipotle BBQ Sauce and Shiitake Bacon

It’s BBQ season and what better way to celebrate this Memorial Day weekend with these healthy and delicious Black Bean Apple Burgers. I’ve had this BBQ sauce recipe filed away since I created it in January and I’ve been counting the days until the nice weather arrived to use it. This was my first attempt at a healthy, fakin’ bacon recipe and I am happy with the way it came out. I definitely want to experiement with different ways of making it to find the best one. If you have a recipe perfected, please share it with me.

The flavors of each recipe combine for the perfect sweet, spicy, and earthy summer meal.

* Note: I would make the BBQ sauce ahead of time. Also, when there is ten minutes left on the mushrooms, throw the burgers in the oven to finish them off.

Black Bean Apple Burgers with Caramelized Onion Chipotle BBQ Sauce and Shiitake Bacon

Yield: 4 servings


1 (15.5) oz. can no or low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed with cold water

½ cup apple, peeled and diced

½ cup cornmeal

3 cloves roasted garlic

¼ tsp cumin

¼ tsp black pepper

½ tsp onion powder

2 tbsp lemon juice

4 whole wheat or gluten-free buns


1.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.    Place all ingredients in a food processor with an S-shaped blade and process until well combined.

3.    Form burgers into four equal patties and place in refrigerator for one hour.

4.    Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-heat. Spray with non-stick cooking oil and cook each patty for 4 minutes on each side or until browned and crispy. Place in oven for an additional 4 minutes per side.

5.    Serve on rolls with sliced tomato, lettuce, BBQ sauce and Shiitake Bacon. Or, serve with a big green salad without a roll – that’s how I had it.

* I kept the seasoning mild in these because I serve them to my kids, but you can always get creative and throw some other one’s in there if you want. The best part about making veggie burgers is you can taste the uncooked batter and adjust the taste to your liking. ;) However, the Chipotle BBQ Sauce added enough kick that you might just want to leave them alone.
Caramelized Onion Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Yield: 1 ½ cups


1 large yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

3 cloves roasted garlic

1 tbsp date paste

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp no or low sodium tomato paste

1/3 cup low sodium ketchup

¼ tsp ground mustard

¼ – ½ tsp chipotle powder (adjust to taste)

1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup water


1.    Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add diced onions and stir. Keep stirring until the onions start to stick and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable stock. Repeat this step, stirring often for 30 minutes, deglazing pan every so often with a small amount of vegetable stock. Cook onions for 30 minutes or until onions are dark in color with the desired caramelized flavor.

2.    Place onions with remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor with an S-shaped blade and process until smooth.

3.    Transfer to a container and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Shiitake Bacon


1 (3.5) oz container shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced

1 tbsp Bragg Liquid Amino Acid

¼ cup no salt added vegetable stock


1.    Combine mushrooms, Bragg’s and veggie stock in a shallow bowl. Marinate for one hour, stirring once after 30 minutes.

2.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. Spread mushrooms onto baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes until crispy.

* make sure you get these nice and crispy otherwise it will just be roasted mushrooms. Increase your oven temp if you need to or throw on the broiler for a few minutes to crisp. =)

26 Thoughts on “Black Bean Apple Burgers with Caramelized Onion Chipotle BBQ Sauce and Shiitake Bacon

  1. VegWhoHatesTofu on May 29, 2011 at 8:37 am said:

    This burger looks so yummy! My hubby wont eat mushrooms but he loves bbq sauce. Can't wait to make this for him :)

  2. Virtually Vegan Mama on May 29, 2011 at 9:33 am said:


    Thanks, I'm really happy about this recipe, we had it last night, going to make it again tomorrow to make sure I don't have to tweak anything and definitely need to take new pics! ;)


  3. Junia on May 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm said:

    wow, i love this black bean burger, sauce, and shitake bacon recipe!! what is date paste btw?

  4. ahealthyendeavor on May 30, 2011 at 11:11 am said:

    okay I am making this whole combination this week for dinner! Thanks so much for the recipes =)

  5. Virtually Vegan Mama on May 30, 2011 at 3:55 pm said:


    awesome, let me know how it turns out!


  6. Jennie on May 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm said:

    Virtually Vegan Mama, it looks like you have done it again. This looks phenomenal! I will have to try this, this summer!

  7. Jesse @ Happy Go Lucky Vegan on May 30, 2011 at 9:27 pm said:

    The picture alone stopped me in my tracks, and reading further (apple, black bean and bbq sauce- yum!) had me drooling! Great post – I'll certainly try this one. :)

  8. Virtually Vegan Mama on May 31, 2011 at 6:00 am said:


    Thanks! I'm making some more today to test freezing them. =)


    Thank you, I love the flavors of this recipe =)


  9. Wow very nice combination on the burger :) I really love to try this :)

  10. jamielee on June 3, 2011 at 8:24 am said:

    This recipe sounds bad ass. Definitely going to try it! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Virtually Vegan Mama on June 3, 2011 at 9:04 am said:

    Thanks Tess and Jamielee! Let me know how it turns out for you =)


  12. Baking Serendipity on June 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm said:

    I'm usually a pretty big fan of meat in my burgers, but this one I think I'd definitely make an exception for! It sounds and looks fantastic :) PS: Saw this on Pinterest today and came here from Foodbuzz!

  13. Parsley Sage on June 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm said:

    That's a great looking burger. I'm a hardcore carnivore but that would totally fool me :) Love the idea of the shiitake bacon!

  14. Tiffany on June 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm said:

    This is a wonderful recipe! And I love the sound of the shiitake bacon!

  15. Niki @ The Tolerant Vegan on June 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm said:

    I have to make this asap! That BBQ sauce is calling my name!

  16. Virtually Vegan Mama on June 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm said:

    Parsley Sage and Tiffany,

    Thank you, I think this is a good substitute for the real thing ;)


    We can serve this black bean burger with your delish looking broccoli burgers, I'm so making those!

    here's the link if anyone wants to check 'em out…yum


    Jen =)

  17. foodblogandthedog on June 5, 2011 at 3:50 am said:

    This sounds delish! I love the addition of apple to your burgers and the dates in the bbq sauce is genius, can't wait to try it!!

  18. Virtually Vegan Mama on June 5, 2011 at 4:37 am said:

    Thanks! I thought it was a nice way to add flavor and increase the nutritional benefits. =) Dates are so delish and a healthier alternative to sugar.

    Jen =)

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  20. I adore veggie burgers of all sorts. This sounds great. I love black beans, and of course anything with carmelized onions has my vote!

  21. Katiekay on May 11, 2012 at 4:33 pm said:

    Have you ever tried cooking these in the oven? Just looking for a low fat way to cook them. thanks!!

    • Jennifer on May 12, 2012 at 7:45 am said:

      I’m sure you could just bake them in the oven and skip the skillet part…I haven’t tried it though…I used non-stick cooking spray for the pan not oil, which is still low fat =)


  22. I made these for dinner tonight and they were great! My modifications: I used an immersion blender pulsing to mix since I don’t own a food processor. I used garlic powder as I did not have any fresh on hand.( I bet the roasted garlic is way better, though.) I didn’t have mushrooms so I made a quick vegan coleslaw for a topping. It goes great with barbecue sauce. The consistency was great and the flavor was awesome. I will definitely make these burgers again. Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

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