BURGER TOPPINGS: Vegan Aioli + Caramelized Onions

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Notice how the title doesn’t mention a burger recipe. You won’t find that here. I go with frozen options the majority of the time because they’re perfect to keep some on hand for emergencies. This is one of my go-to meals when serving others because all I have to do is prepare the toppings & sides!

Plant-based burgers are…
+ satisfying
+ so flavorful!
+ accommodating to varying preferences
+ relatively fast (depending on the number of toppings prepared — more on this in a second)

As a garlic lover, I don’t think aioli could ever be made wrong.

If you’re unsure what aioli really is (besides just a delicious sauce), let’s go over that. In short, it’s mayo with something else in it (traditionally garlic). Sounds fancier than it actually is, huh?

In other parts of the world (where aioli originated) it’s made from scratch as an emulsion of oil, garlic, and other things. Mayo is technically an emulsion also. So instead of going through the hard work of emulsifying, mayo is used as the base. Aioli traditionally has egg whites though, hence why it’s not vegan & this post is all about a vegan-friendly version!

Making large batches of sauces is kinda my thing, so this recipe will yield lots of extras. I recommend freezing the leftovers so you can have it for spontaneous burger cravings! P.s., know that you will need a high-speed blender to make this sauce.

Ok. Lets talk toppings/burger spread.
I like to serve:

  • sautéed mushrooms
  • caramelized onions
  • raw onions (yes both)
  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • pickles (if I have them)
  • homemade sauce
  • potato or pretzel buns

If you’re feeding people who only like lettuce + tomato, your work is pretty much done after rinsing and chopping veggies.

If you’re going with the whole spread, caramelized onions by far take the longest, finishing after about 45 minutes to an hour. Then the sauteed mushrooms come in next with a cook time of about 20 minutes. The mushroom recipe can be found here, and the caramelized onions will be listed below.

I usually have two pans going — one for mushrooms, one for onions. Once the onions and mushrooms are done, I use one pan to cook the burgers, and the other pan to warm/toast the burger buns. Feel free to wash the pans in between, but I assure you it’s not necessary. I don’t worry too much about cross contamination because there’s no meat here and these flavors will be combining anyway.


cook time: 10 minutes


  • 1 jar vegan mayonnaise (15 oz)
  • 5-7 garlic cloves, peeled
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • generous amount of crushed black pepper
  • optional: water to thin


  1. In your food processor or blender, add vegan mayo, garlic cloves, lemon juice, crushed black pepper, and salt. Process until smooth.
  2. You may need to scrape down the sides — I recommend doing this prior to adding water to thin. Then turn the blender on and add the water through the opening at the top. Do it slowly — you can always add more water but you can’t take it out!
  3. Enjoy!


cook time: 45 minutes – 1 hour


  • onions, peeled and chopped
  • olive oil
  • butter (optional)
  • salt

*There are no measurements listed because you can choose how large of a batch you’d like to make!


  1. Heat skillet to medium-high. Add oil and butter to the pan, roughly two teaspoons if just using one onion.
  2. Add onions and stir to coat with oil.
  3. Reduce heat down to medium-low so the onions are at a simmer. (You don’t want the onions to dry out or start charring. They will only caramelize if they can release their natural sugars, and this is only possible when the heat is low).
  4. Stir them every now and then, but let them do their thing for the most part! They’ll be done in about 45 minutes! *You can cut this time short if you’re extra hungry and don’t mind the texture/caramelizing already accomplished. The shortest I would probably cook them is about 25 minutes.

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