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. =)

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  1. VegWhoHatesTofu says

    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 says


    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. ahealthyendeavor says

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

  4. Jennie says

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

  5. Jesse @ Happy Go Lucky Vegan says

    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. :)

  6. Virtually Vegan Mama says


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


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


  7. Baking Serendipity says

    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!

  8. Parsley Sage says

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

  9. foodblogandthedog says

    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!!

  10. Virtually Vegan Mama says

    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 =)

  11. Katiekay says

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

    • Jennifer says

      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 =)


  12. Dawn says

    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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