A veggie burger is a hamburger-style, or chicken-style, patty that does not contain meat, but may contain animal products such as egg or milk. The patty of a veggie burger may be made from vegetables (like corn), textured vegetable protein (like soy), legumes (beans), tofu, nuts, mushrooms, or grains or seeds, like wheat and flax.
The patties that are the essence of a veggie burger have existed in various Eurasian cuisines for millennia, including in the form of disc-shaped grilled or fried meatballs or as koftas, a commonplace item in Indian cuisine. These may contain meats or be made of entirely vegetarian ingredients such as legumes or other plant-derived proteins. While it is not possible, or even necessary, to identify the 'inventor' of the veggie burger, there have been numerous claimants.
The veggie burger, by name, may have been created in London in 1982 by Gregory Sams, who called it the 'VegeBurger'. Gregory and his brother Craig had run a natural food restaurant in Paddington since the 1960s; a Carrefourhypermarket in Southampton sold 2000 packets in three weeks after its launch.
Using the name Gardenburger, an early veggie burger was developed by Paul Wenner around 1980 or 1981 in Wenner's vegetarian restaurant, The Gardenhouse, in Gresham, Oregon.
A Burger King Veggie combo meal, including a veggie burger, from Germany
Vegetarian bean burgers cooking
A veggie burger with vegetable toppings
Close-up of a veggie burger prepared with a flax bagel, soy cheese, lettuce, mustard, tomato and a Yves veggie burger patty
In the United States as of April 2005, veggie burgers became available in Burger King restaurants and those of its franchise Hungry Jack's. As of that same time, they were also available in certain Subways and Harvey's, as well as many chain restaurants, such as Red Robin, Chili's, Denny's, Friendly's, Culvers, Johnny Rockets, and Hard Rock Cafe. Occasionally the veggie burger option will appear at the bottom of a menu as a possible substitution for beef or turkey burgers, rather than as an individual menu item.