Quinoa and White Bean Burgers keep you going.

You work hard to get the most out of your workouts, particularly those that push you, mentally and physically, beyond your comfort zone. Equally important to logging those tough training sessions though is recovery, which allows the body to both replenish energy stores and repair damaged muscle tissue.

Muscle repair and recovery occurs primarily after exercise, which is why the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that athletes consume 15 to 25 grams of high-quality protein and wholesome carbohydrates within two hours after training. Refueling with these nutrients during this window provides the body with amino acids to repair muscles and glucose to replenish muscle energy stores.

With 17 grams of quality protein per patty, these recovery quinoa and white bean burgers are the perfect post-training bite since they provide both the ideal amount of quality protein and complex carbohydrates for optimal muscle recovery. Quinoa happens to be one of the few plant-based “grains” with all the essential amino acids needed for muscle recovery, which makes these burgers particularly beneficial for athletes who follow a plant-based diet or those who simply want to cut back on meat and dairy.

Since beans and quinoa are both fairly neutral in flavor, these burgers can be a vehicle for whatever flavor you’re craving. If you’re in the mood for a sweet and smoky burger, mix in your favorite barbecue sauce and top it with caramelized onions. If you want something with a bit more kick, use a mild-to-medium hot sauce and top it with guacamole and fresh jalapeño slices instead.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most recovery power out of these delicious burgers:

  • Make a double batch and freeze the extras. These veggie burgers are freezer friendly and should last up to six months when frozen. To save time, make extras and freeze whatever you aren’t eating within a few days. To freeze, place cooked burgers in a single layer on a parchment- or wax-paper-lined baking sheet and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the burgers to a plastic freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. Then all you have to do is pull a burger out of the freezer one to two hours before your next training session and microwave it for a minute or so when you’re done.
  • Add a whole-grain bun. If you need a meal with a bit more staying power, adding a 100 percent whole-grain bun adds about another 7 grams of protein and quality carbs to help those muscles refuel even more.
  • Top it with extra veggies. One of my favorite ways to maximize the nutritiousness of a meal is to add more veggies to whatever I’m cooking. Toppings are no exception! Some great vegetable add-ons include lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado or guacamole, and sliced jalapeños—and of course don’t forget a side of baked sweet potato fries.

Makes: 6 5-ounce burgers


  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium white beans (great northern, cannellini, etc.), drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (from about 3/4 cup dry)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup barbecue or hot sauce of choice
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheese of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 100 percent whole-grain hamburger buns

Optional toppings: lettuce, tomato, fresh or caramelized onions, cheese, avocado or guacamole, additional barbecue or hot sauce, sliced jalapeños


In a large bowl, mash the beans using a potato masher or hand blender until relatively smooth.

Add the quinoa, eggs, breadcrumbs, barbecue or hot sauce, shredded cheese, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix well until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Form the mixture into 6 5-ounce patties.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and lightly grease with cooking spray. Working in batches if necessary, add quinoa burgers to the pan and cover with a lid. Cook the burgers for 7–8 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 160 F. Top each burger with a slice of cheese, if desired, during the last 2–3 minutes of cooking to allow the cheese to melt.

When done cooking, transfer the burgers to the buns and top with desired add-ons.

Nutrition Information

Per 5-ounce patty made with barbecue sauce: Calories: 341; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 75mg; Sodium: 449mg; Total Carbohydrates: 51g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugars: 7g; Protein: 17g; Vitamin A: 5%; Vitamin C: 2%; Calcium: 22%; Iron: 20%

Photo credit: Elle Penner