Soy and butterbean cheesy burgers with olive dip

We finally managed to get the BBQ out at the weekend, which to me meant homemade burgers.  I came across a lovely recipe for beef cheeseburgers where instead of putting the cheese on top of the burger patty you wrapped it inside so there was a lovely melted centre when you bit into the burger.  I used to work with someone who liked to use the phrase “steal with pride” whenever he found something that another department was doing well that he could adapt it for his own needs rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.  This recipe is a case of me “stealing with pride”.  I loved the cheesy burgers but I wanted to see whether I could make a vegan version, so tried it mixing soy mince with mashed butterbeans to stick it together and using a vegan mozzarella-like cheese in the middle.  I really liked the flavour but the mix was a lot less robust that minced meat so I opted for the safe “bake it in the oven” option rather than putting them on the BBQ where I was worried they would fall through onto the coals.  However, this is probably more useful most of the time in Britain when the weather (or time constraints) are not BBQ friendly.  The burger patties are seasoned with a mix of popular Italian flavours to complement the melted cheese in the middle, so they taste a little bit like pizza. I have served them here with a balsamic vinegar and olive dip and grilled aubergine slices instead of burger buns as an easy way to get extra vegetables in. This recipe is dedicated to one of my best friends, who told me she had lots of dehydrated soy mince to use up so I hope it proves helpful.

Soy and butterbean cheesy burgers with olive dip

Cooking time: 25-30 minutes preparation (if you have extra time an extra 10+ minutes in the fridge will make the burger patty mixture easier to handle), 30 minutes cooking

Dietary info: vegetarian, vegan if you use vegan cheese, gluten-free

Serves: 3-6 (depending on what you serve it with, it makes about 12 burger patties)

  • 100g dehydrated soy mince
  • 300ml water
  • 1 400g can butterbeans (235g drained), or 120g dried butterbeans, soaked and cooked according to the packet instructions
  • 4 tsp dried basil
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 50g black olives, sliced
  • About 60-120g vegan cheese for pizza (or mozzarella if you don’t want to make a dairy free burger) i.e about 5-10g cheese per burger,cut into slices about 3-5mm thick, and 2cm long by 1-1.5cm wide – see the tasty little extras for a way to use up any extra cheese
  1. Rinse the soy mince then bring the 300ml water to the boil in a saucepan.  Add the mince and simmer for 10 minutes, then take off the heat, drain off any excess water and let it stand while you prepare the other ingredients
  2. Put the chopped tomatoes on a non-stick baking tray (I use a non-stick silicon sheet on my baking tray) and bake at 160C fan for about 20 minutes until they are starting to get a bit crispy and crinkly looking at the edges
  3. Puree the beans in a food processor or mash as fine as you can if you don’t have a food processor
  4. Mix together all the ingredients for the burger, except for the cheese, until you have a smooth mixture with the olives and tomatoes evenly distributed throughout.  If you have time you can refrigerate the mixture for 10+ minutes at this stage to make it firmer and cooler to handle
  5. Put a heaped tbsp of the mixture into the palm of your hand, push a slice of cheese into it and use your hands to shape the mixture into a burger patty around the cheese, making sure the cheese is completely covered
  6. Place the burger patties onto a non-stick baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes at 160C fan until they are browned and crispy on top. They will be quite soft because of the cheese so carefully take them off the baking tray with a spatula to serve.  Don’t worry if they have cracked a bit and some of the cheese has leaked out, they will still taste fine
  7. I like to serve the patties with the olive dip and on the cheesy aubergine slices (see the tasty little extras) with a salad dressed with lemon juice on the side but see the tasty little twists for other ideas

A few tips to prep ahead:

  • Make the burger patty mixture, except for adding the cheese and shaping into patties, and keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days, then add the cheese, shape the patties and bake on the night
  • Make the olive dip and keep in a sealed container in the fridge for  up to 5 days then just reheat in the microwave or a small saucepan until warmed through on the night
  • If you know you will be very short of the time on the night you can completely make the patties a day or two ahead then reheat for about 5 minutes in the oven at 160C fan on the night
  • I think the aubergine slices and cheese aubergine are best made on the day but, like the patties you can make them a day or two ahead then reheat for about 5 minutes in the oven at 160C fan on the night

Some tasty little twists and extras…

I made this olive dip originally because I still had a lot of olives left over after making the burgers and hate to waste food.  I basically just pureed the olives then added different things to it until it tasted nice so feel free to keep on adding things, e.g. fresh basil or chopped sundried tomatoes, to make a more complex dip.  Although it was made as an afterthought, my husband loved it so now I’m happy to buy olives specifically to make it.

Olive dip

Cooking time: 5-10 minutes

Dietary info: vegan, gluten-free

Serves: 3-6 along with the burger patties

  • 100g black pitted olives
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoked garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 50ml water plus extra to bring it to the consistency you want
  1. Puree all the ingredients together in a good processor to make a smooth sauce then add enough water to bring it to your preferred consistency. If you don’t have a good processor, chop the olives as small as you can then mash together with the other ingredients
  2. Heat through for 1-2 minutes in a small saucepan or in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl just to cook the garlic, then serve either warm or at room temperature


Grilled or BBQed aubergine slices make a nice low carb alternative to burger buns to pick up your burger patty and sauce with (although they can be a little harder to bite or cut through – if you find this a problem you can make little cuts in the skin around the outside as this tends to be the hardest bit to cut through). If you are a big cheese fan or have some left over cheese after making your burger patties, you can make these incredibly simple cheesy aubergine slices.  If not, just cook the aubergine and don’t add the cheese.

Cheesy aubergine slices

Cooking time: <5 minutes preparation, 10-20 minutes cooking

Dietary info: vegetarian, vegan if you use vegan cheese or leave out the cheese

Serves 2-3

  • 1 aubergine, sliced crossways or lengthways into slices 3-5mm thick
  • Leftover cheese (vegan cheese for pizza or mozzarella) – about 5-10g per aubergine slice – sliced or grated (leave out for plain aubergine slices)
  1. Cook the aubergine until it is soft and starting to get a little crispy around the edges,  either:
    •  Baked in the oven (8-10 minutes per side at 180C fan)
    • Under a medium grill (5-8 minutes per side), or
    • On a griddle pan (4-6 minutes per side once the pan is hot).
  2. Put the cheese on top of the aubergine slice for the last 5 minutes of cooking the second side until it is melted and bubbly


Although I have told you how I like to serve these burgers feel free to experiment and find your favourite way e.g.:

If you want a meat version you can replace the soy mince with 400g lean minced beef.  You can also replace the butterbeans and cornflour with 40g breadcrumbs and 1 egg if you are doing the meat version.



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