Whether you’ve vowed to cut back on meat eating in the new year or you’re a long-time vegetarian, many of Denver’s restaurants serve great non-meat options. Regardless of how long you’ve sworn off meat, there always comes a time when we vegetarians crave something a little more robust than a simple salad. We found the best veggie burgers in the area for those days when you
10. The Veggie at TAG Burger Bar
Where: 1222 Madison St., Denver
The Lowdown: This is easily the messiest veggie burger on the list. The first thing that hits you is the creamy texture from the smashed avocado blending with a locally-made goat cheese. But prepare for this delicious concoction to end up all over your face. Luckily the sweet, flaky bun holds together the arugula and tomato with the patty – house made with black beans, red peppers, onion and corn among other vegetables. This is definitely a fork and knife burger, but it’s well worth the effort. Served with a pickle rolled in dill for $12.
9. The Veggie at Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery
Where: 4990 East Colfax and 200 Quebec St., Denver
The Lowdown: Not too fancy, but just funky enough, this sandwich is what you crave when you think “burger.” It’s stacked with the quintessential elements of an original burger – including pickle and tomato – elevated by a creamy goat cheese and heap of arugula, giving it a nice peppery taste. The mushroom, smoked tofu and lentil patty is charred on the edges to give this burger a meat-like firmness with hearty flavor. Sandwiched between a fluffy whole wheat bun and topped with a lemon and boursin aioli, this burger is sure to satisfy your veggie burger needs. It comes with house-made chips and a sweet and spicy pickle on the side for $10.50.
8. The Classic Burger at Watercourse
Where: 837 East 17th Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: It’s all in the name: classic. The only reason you can be sure this patty isn’t made from meat is that it comes from Watercourse’s vegan kitchen. The seitan patty looks, feels and tastes like meat with a hint of barley to give it a well-rounded flavor. Topped with lettuce, tomato and onion, this burger is definitely a take on the old fashioned burger. But with lots of toppings to add on (we recommend the tofu bacon), they give you a chance to spice it up and make it your own. Choose from tofu bacon, crispy onion, smoky portobellos, arugula, Daiya mozzarella, vegan cheese sauce, BBQ sauce, green chili or sour cream for 50 cents more. Comes served with a side of regular or sweet potato fries or salad for $13.
7. The Chophouse at City O’ City
Where: 206 East 13th Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: This is one hefty burger. Even with the eclectic City O’ City atmosphere, eating this burger summoned old steakhouse vibes. Crispy fried onions provide a nice crunch in every bite while a house made steak sauce adds a little smoky sweetness to the mix. Soft grilled mushrooms are held on the sandwich with a melted cheddar (leave off to make the burger vegan). The patty itself is unlike any vegetable-based patty I’ve ever tasted. Made with vegetables, sunflower seeds and walnuts, it gives a natural and hearty flavor to the whole burger. Topped with fresh lettuce, tomato and a Kaiser bun to give the sandwich a buttery flavor. It is served with a choice of fries, onion rings, quinoa, mixed greens, sautéed greens, mustard glazed greens or a cup of soup for $14.
6. The Gonzo at Chuburger
Where: 3490 Larimer St., Denver
The Lowdown: Chuburger puts a Mediterranean spin on a traditional burger, complete with a falafel style patty. Lots of chickpeas give this burger its flavor, as well as a great balance of soft and crispy texture from the falafel. Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, purple onion and carrots give the sandwich a range of colors and types of crunch. This burger is light and easy to eat with a honey wheat bun. A Greek yogurt tartar sauce provides a tzatziki flavor to finish off the sandwich. Priced at $7, it’s worth paying an extra $2.50 for a side of fries – if only to shovel their house made ginger ketchup into your mouth.
5. Cantina Black Bean Burger at
Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
Where: 240 Milwaukee St., Denver
The Lowdown: This black bean number puts a Colorado spin on a Tex-Mex inspired veggie burger. Choose between a grilled or fried black bean patty – either way the flavor really packs a punch. A spoonful of green chiles give the sandwich a familiar Denver flavor while a chipotle ranch sauce provides a delicious spice. Creamy avocado balances out the heat and chiles and hold together the tomato, onion, pickle and lettuce. It’s topped with both white cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, finished with a toasted bun. It comes served with a choice of hand cut fries, tater tots, sweet potato fries, house-made potato chips, slaw or fresh fruit for $9.95.
4. VegeFi Burger at BurgerFi
Where: 1147 Broadway, Denver
The Lowdown: The first word that comes to mind when eating the VegeFi Burger is crunch. Quinoa, lentils, carrot, zucchini, onion and a slew of other vegetables make up the patty. Perfectly fried to crisp up the edges, the patty doesn’t flatten like most veggie patties do. A smoky BurgerFi sauce smothers the lettuce, tomato and white cheddar cheese and keeps the burger from tasting dry. Sandwiched between a multigrain bun for $7.37.
3. Poppin’ Jalapeño Burger at Native Foods Cafe
Where: 680 South Colorado Blvd., Glendale
The Lowdown: Native Foods is not for the faint of stomach – though it’s a vegan restaurant, they stack most of their burgers with two patties. Made with wheat and soy proteins, the patty assumes a meat-like texture for a hearty burger. The taste of the pretzel bun really comes through until the jalapeño pimento cheese (vegan) overwhelms you with flavor. The spice from the pickled jalapeños adds to the pimento to hit the back of your throat. But don’t fret – the heat doesn’t take away from enjoying the delicious sandwich. This guest favorite burger is loaded with green goddess dressing, crispy shallots and a handful of lettuce. Served with a choice of seasoned fries, a side salad, lemon dill potato salad or steamed kale on the side for $12.25.
2. La Bandita at Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Where: 1747 Wynkoop St., Denver
The Lowdown: The bun on this one is something to talk about – whole wheat sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds, rolled oats, pepitas and sunflower seeds. The taste of the sunflower surprisingly comes through when paired with some other intense flavors: cilantro pesto, arugula and a chipotle aioli. Speaking of the sauce – it really rounds out the burger providing a little salt, a little spice and something a little sweet. A Texas goat cheese provides just enough flavor to peek through the other ingredients. Along with the onion, tomato and avocado, the patty provides a great range of texture that we all know and love in a burger. The base is black beans and corn – but it’s more than your typical black bean burger. The patty is jam packed with other veggies, including beets to give it that pink authentic meat look. Served with a fork and knife for $9.25 with the solid option to make it vegan with Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda and Vegenaise for $1 extra.
1. Veggie Burger Sliders at Root Down
Where: 1600 W. 33rd Ave., Den
The Lowdown: This burger definitely earned the top spot on the list. The house made patty includes everything but the kitchen sink – lentils, carrots, sunflower seeds, farro and broccoli to name a few ingredients. Fried to give the patty crisp edges, this burger is complex but in all the right ways. Cabbage slaw with pickled onion offers a super fresh taste while the jalapeño jam adds a little sweet and spice. A soft bun complements the textures within. It is served with sweet potato fries and a curry lime yogurt sauce and horseradish mustard for $16. Root Down is located at 1600 W. 33 Ave.