Vegan Big Mac

To those who only know me as Namely Marly, I have something to tell you. I have a last name. Crazy, I know. Right? And I happen to love my last name. A lot. It has personality. Grit. History. And there was a TV show named after it once. What is it? McMillen. Cool name, eh? My dad liked it too which is why he oftentimes went by the nickname Mac. He wasn’t a small guy either so people mostly called him Big Mac. When you grow up in a small town and people call your dad Big Mac, it gives you a sense of importance. I may not have carried any social weight myself in that small town, but most everyone knew my dad…for better or for worse. My dad was also fairly well known for eating not just one but two hamburgers in a sitting. That’s why I’m naming this sandwich, the Vegan Big Mac, after him. He would have liked it that way.

It's time you enjoyed the Vegan Big Mac |

I’ve been contemplating this Vegan Big Mac sandwich for quite awhile. I mean, how could I not. My own daughter has never even had the Big Mac at a certain golden arches restaurant. She’s never had special sauce. Can. You. Believe. It?

This was a situation that only I could fix. Talk about a sense of self importance. Sheesh!

But I’ve been on a quest to create the perfect veggie burger for this sandwich. It had to be nice and thin to accommodate two burgers in one sandwich. And it had to taste good. Darn good.

Once I discovered the Red Quinoa, I knew I was on to something.

Making the Vegan Big Mac requires the following: 2 Pinto Bean Patties, Vegan Special Sauce, Micro Greens, Vegan Cheese, Pickles, Onions on a Dairy-free Bun. You can sing this to whatever tune you want |

I created a little ditty about this burger. Do you want to hear it? Ok. Here it goes:

Two all-pinto patties
Vegan Special Sauce
Micro Greens
Vegan Cheese
On a dairy-free bun.

A little wordy, but otherwise, not too bad, eh?

You want to hear something weird? My daughter? The one who hasn’t even tried the sandwich at the golden arches? She doesn’t get this song.

The Vegan Big Mac needs to be in your life! |

I should tell you something about how I raised my daughter. She did not have a vegan childhood. It was not even vegetarian. Some of this was because her dad wasn’t vegetarian and also because she was the typical picky eating kind of child. So, if she wanted chicken nuggets, I would get them for her. When she went to preschool she ate what the other kids were being served.

I didn’t want to force my choice for a vegetarian diet on her. Obviously we ate lots of vegetarian food together. But I wanted her to decide for herself.

And she did. When she was around seven years old she started talking to me about giving up meat. So she gradually moved toward a vegetarian diet.

I decided to go vegan a few years after that and again, I didn’t pressure my daughter to follow suit. But eventually she did. Now, I should clarify. She and I? We’re related. And as such we share similar traits. In other words, we’re both kind of sensitive to dairy. In fact, we both have kind of sensitive stomachs overall. It’s our lot in life. It’s not a lot, but it’s our life. [Name that movie!!]

Pinto Bean Burgers with Red Quinoa are the star of the Vegan Big Mac

So this Vegan Big Mac is more than just a vegan version of something I used to eat years ago. It’s a connection between my dad, the original Big Mac in my life, and my daughter. Family and food. It’s what connects us in so many ways. Here’s a link If you’d like to check out other McDonald’s copycat recipes and find ways to veganize them yourself.

The recipe below looks a little intense, but it’s not all that bad. Make the special sauce the night before and then when you get the Pinto Bean Quinoa Patties done, you’ll be ready to assemble these guys in no time at all. I promise, it’s well worth any effort involved!

5 from 2 votes
Vegan Big Mac
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
It's time you enjoyed the Vegan Big Mac!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Namely Marly
For the Pinto Quinoa Patties:
  • 15 oz can pinto beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon dried chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons corn meal
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg or soy sauce
  • 1 cup cooked red quinoa
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Special Sauce:
  • ½ cup vegan mayo
  • 2 tablespoons "french" dressing
  • 3 teaspoons sweet relish
  • 2 green onions (the white partfinely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Micro Greens or sprouts
  • Lettuce
  • Vegan Cheddar Cheese I used Daiya Cheddar Slices
  • Pickles I prefer sweet, but you can use tangy ones if you prefer
  • Onions
  • Buns - I used a regular bun for top and bottom buns and one part of a thin bun for the middle piece
Vegan Big Mac Assembly:
  • 4 dairy-free buns
  • 2 thin buns such as Nature's Own Thin Sandwich Rounds
  • Pinto Quinoa Patties
  • Vegan Special Sauce
For the Pinto Bean Quinoa Burgers:
  1. Combine the pinto beans, ground flax seeds, corn starch, dried chopped onions, garlic powder, celery seeds, paprika, corn meal, nutritional yeast flakes, and Bragg (or soy saucin a food processor. Pulse for several seconds and then use a spatula to push ingredients down from the side of the bowl. Pulse again for several seconds. Repeat this process until the ingredients are well combined.
  2. Add the cooked red quinoa and pulse again for a few seconds.
  3. If the mixture feels stick enough to hold together in patties, then you're ready. If it feels a little dry, go ahead and a tablespoon of water and pulse for a second or two. Add another tablespoon of water if needed.
  4. Place a skillet on the stove and spray with vegetable spray and turn up to medium heat. Form 8 thin patties from the Pinto Bean Quinoa mixture and cook in batches. Begin by placing however many patties your skillet can hold. On the top of the patty sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste. Allow the patties to brown, about 5 minutes. When they're ready, flip to the other side and cook for another five minutes or so until brown on both sides. Repeat until all the patios are done. I placed the cooked patties on a pan and place them in the toaster oven on low heat to keep warm while getting the rest of the burger ingredients assembled.
For the Vegan Special Sauce:
  1. For the special sauce: combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, stir to combine. Store in a lidded container in the fridge.
To Assemble your Vegan Big Macs:
  1. Place the bottom half of a bun on a plate. Place the following on the bottom bun in this order:
  2. Vegan special sauce,
  3. Micro greens (or lettuce)
  4. 1 slice vegan cheddar cheese
  5. 1 Pinto Bean Quinoa Patty
  6. One side of the Thin Sandwich Bun
  7. Micro Greens (or lettuce)
  8. Vegan Special Sauce
  9. Pickles
  10. Sliced onions
  11. Pinto Bean Quinoa Patty
  12. Top side of your dairy-free bun
  13. Repeat with all four Vegan Big Macs.


If you’re into trying veggie burgers, how ’bout this Red Beans & Rice Cajun Burger?

Red Beans & Rice Cajun Veggie Burger


Or this Black Bean Pecan Burger

Black Bean Burger with Homemade Vegan Mayo

Or one of our all-time favorites, this Avocado and Jalapeño Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Layers of faux turkey are adorned with other flavors to make a delicious vegan sandwich

Whichever sandwich you choose, enjoy!

Updated by Marly · Permalink

51 Responses to Vegan Big Mac

  1. Now that is one huge burger! I want one!!! Thank you for the recipe!

    • Thanks, Becky! It is one big burger. It puts a whole new perspective on “what’s for dinner!”

  2. This is the best. Seriously! I love that you did this for your daughter and named it for your dad. Now just tell your girl child that I think your little song is awesome!

    • Thanks Miss Jenni! I’ll do one better than that. I’ll sing this to my girl child ’til she can’t stand listening to it one more time. Kind of like what we all had to go through with the commercial!

  3. Love the idea of a pinto quinoa patty!

    • Thanks, Julie! I have to admit, they’re pretty darn tasty!

  4. That jingle was totally running through my head as I was reading your post! This a serious Big Mac! I would be very, very happy with this burger!

    • I have random days where that song breaks out in my head. Brilliant marketing I guess! Now I have new words for the tune. 😉

  5. Whoa! What a great recipe. A healthy version of a classic. I’m totally singing the big mac song now.

    • I’ll sing with you. How could such a simple tune get so stuck in your head. That’s what I wanna know!

  6. I had to laugh just looking at the title because it is so contradictory- but I love it!

    • I know – it is kind of crazy. Right? I don’t know what I’m thinking half the time. But, hey, it keeps life interesting that way!

  7. Ah-mazing! Pinned!

  8. I’m not into Big Macs BUT I think I could get into this!

    • Making your own version of fast food can put a whole new spin on it!

  9. This looks a 1000 times better than the actual Big Mac. I’ll take two!

  10. Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent

    Even though I am not a fan of pinto beans, I will try them with this recipe, because this looks delicious! 🙂

    • They can be an acquired taste, but they worked perfectly in these burgers, especially coupled with the red quinoa. I hope you love it as much as we have!

  11. My mouth is watering! Whaaa??? This burger is incredible! No big macs for me either, but I’ll take this! That vegan special sauce.. and that burger! I love pinto beans with the addition of quinoa and all of the seasonings! Thanks, Marly! Pure inspiration!

    • Thanks so much!! I love it when I get in that inspired zone. Mostly that happens in the kitchen. 😉

  12. These look absolutely delicious!

  13. This looks fabulous! Can’t wait to try it. Love the new jingle too.

    • It’s a little wordy, but it works. So glad you like it!

  14. I love everything about this! Gorgeous picture too!

  15. This is a Big Mac I would actually eat! : ) Nom Nom Nom

  16. Although I don’t eat vegan, I recognize the commitment that it takes to follow that diet. I admire you for sticking to your commitment and making something that both fits your lifestyle and is a tribute to your father. Bravo!

    • Thanks, Lana. Some days it’s definitely harder than others. When things like this are in the fridge, it’s not only easy…but a darn tasty way to live!

  17. Great story behind the dish! I would totally enjoy this Big Mac!

  18. It looks wonderful! I love that you used red quinoa!

    • Thanks, Brenda. I’m new to using red quinoa but seriously am loving it!

  19. I would way rather eat this than a ‘regular’ Big Mac. It looks amazing!

  20. You provide that even Big Mac can be healthy! And what is more important, delicious without meat

    • Life without meat can absolutely be delicious! Thanks for your comment!

  21. For me, it looks a lot tastier than a Big Mac!

  22. This looks amazing, Marly! Thank you for sharing and Happy Fourth of July!

    • Thanks, Sandy! Happy Fourth to you too. Somehow I imagine you’ll be celebrating with a party! 😉

  23. This is an amazing looking burger and I’d take it any day before the one from the golden arches! I love the story of your dad Big Mac!

  24. Whoa!! This is incredible! I cannot wait to try it out this weekend. YUMM!

    • Thanks, Tieghan! I hope you love them as much as we do!

  25. Love, love, love this! Can’t wait to try it!

  26. My daughter has never had a big mac either. Or a hot pocket, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. I love this! I have a mostly vegetarian daughter (I’m not vegetarian, she’s just not all that partial to meat), and she would love this!

  27. Perfection. I am in love with sprouts on sandwiches, so I can’t wait to try them on this burger!

  28. GENIUS!!! Thank you! Will now be our go to burger!


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