This summer, it’s time to get creative and take our burger menus to the next level. Leave the basic lettuce, onion, and tomato for any other day. This year, we’re going rogue. From vegan secret sauce to marinara and melty mozzarella, these adventurous vegan burger toppings will turn your summer cookouts into a culinary celebration.

How to find the best vegan burger for you

Before you’re ready for toppings, first, you need to find the best vegan burger for you. And good news, plant-based patties come in many different formats, so there’s something for everyone. If you like things meaty, try the Beyond Burger or the Impossible Burger, both of which are designed to mimic the taste and texture of real beef. Or give this vegan patty from Boca a try—it tastes just like chicken. Alternatively, you could make this beefy vegan beet burger recipe.

If you prefer your plant-based food to taste like, well, plants, then there are also many options out there for you. There’s Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burgers, for example, which are made with whole food ingredients like carrots, peas, broccoli, and spinach. There are also plenty of recipes out there to try. We love these vegan quinoa and chickpea burgers as well as these charred Mediterranean falafel burgers.

Got your burger? Ok, now it’s time for toppings. Here are some of the best ways to make your plant-based patties even more delicious.

The best vegan burger toppings to try at your next cookout

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1Kimchi

Swap the sad, limp green pickles for this spicy Korean pickled cabbage. Kimchi provides the necessary crunch in contrast to the soft bun and patty while also adding a vinegary element typically contributed by mustard. Plus, this fermented condiment gives a significant element of spice not often found in a basic burger. Vegan-friendly store-bought kimchis include Mother in Law’s Vegan Kimchi and any variety of kimchi from Wildbrine.
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2 Almond butter

Southern California’s popular Seabirds Kitchen placed nut butter on the toppings chart for thousands of skeptical patrons. The now-famous Beets Me Burger is comprised of a shiitake, beet, and chia housemade patty topped with a slick of smooth almond butter, grilled onions, arugula, dill pickles, and herby mayo, all encased in a lightly toasted bun. The nut butter offers an unexpected flash of flavor that makes you want to go in for another bite.
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VegNews.TheHerbivorousButcherThe Herbivorous Butcher

3Vegan brie, apple, and jam

Transform any basic vegan patty into a cheese plate with this sweet-meets-savory topping combo. While grilling, swipe a layer of jam on the burger then place a few thinly sliced apples on top, followed by a thick slice of vegan brie. Allow the brie to melt as the burger finishes cooking. Place it on top of a toasted bun slicked with Vegenaise, top with a bed of arugula, then take a knife and fork to your gourmet creation. 

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4Barbecue sauce

It’s simple, but some have still not discovered condiments beyond ketchup, mustard, and mayo when it comes to their burger toppings. A juicy plant-based patty slathered with barbecue sauce and finished with grilled mushrooms and crispy fried onions is a pleasure beyond the typical burger experience. 
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5Pesto

This sauce isn’t just for pasta. Adding a swipe of pesto to your burger is not only a great way to use up that last remaining tablespoon of sauce, but it also adds a bright, herby element that most sandwiches lack. For a store-bought option, try Trader Joe’s Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto or Sprouts Organic Vegan Basil Pesto.
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6Vegan secret sauce

Recreate the taste of In-N-Out at home with a veganized version of the chain’s secret sauce. The company has hooked millions with its Thousand Island-esque condiment, but few realize that they don’t need to take a trip through the drive-thru to get it. The recipe below has nailed it. Make a double batch to pour over animal-style fries the next night. 
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7Hummus

Yes, you can literally put hummus on everything. Whether you’re grilling up a juicy Beyond Burger or making do with a homemade veggie patty, hummus can make it better. Opt for flavored hummus such as red pepper, beet, or chipotle for an extra punch of flavor, then top with fresh cucumber slices, tomato, and a drizzle of vegan tzatziki.
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8Nacho toppings

Load up a plain black bean burger patty with melty vegan nacho cheese, guacamole, tomato slices, and tortilla chips for a portable nacho experience. Enjoy the delicious moment, and add the nacho burger to your list of fantastic, barbecue-worthy edible creations.
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9 Marinara sauce and vegan mozzarella

Essentially, a burger with melty vegan mozzarella and marinara sauce is a meatball sub reincarnated. Top it with some peppery fresh arugula and a quick drizzle of balsamic glaze for a handhold worthy of a $20 restaurant price tag.
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For more vegan cookout essentials, read:

Here at VegNews, we live and breathe the vegan lifestyle, and only recommend products we feel make our lives amazing. Occasionally, articles may include shopping links where we might earn a small commission. In no way does this effect the editorial integrity of VegNews.

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