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Vegetarian Loco Moco

in Recipes, Sandwiches

loco moco burger 13Have you ever heard of a loco moco?  No?  Okay, good because neither had I until about two months ago.

loco moco burger 5My parents traveled to Hawaii in January while I stayed back in the freezing cold Midwest.  Since both of my parents know how much I love food (obviously), my mom sent me quite a few pictures of the food that they ate while out at local restaurants.  One of the pictures that she sent me was this:

moco loco burger hawaiiMy dad ordered a loco moco one evening.  Loco mocos are apparently quite well-known in Hawaii.  The loco moco starts with a base of white rice, is topped with a burger patty that is covered in gravy, and then is finished off with a fried egg.  When I first saw it I thought, “wow, that looks like a pretty killer combination.”  And then within about two seconds I found myself wondering, “hmm…how can I make this vegetarian-friendly?”  There is nothing that I love more than a good vegetarian challenge, and I took this one full on.

loco moco burger 8Loco Moco
Serves 4


For the burgers (slightly adapted from Robyn’s recipe):

1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 TB Italian seasoning
a sprinkle of onion powder
a sprinkle of garlic powder
black pepper, to taste
fine sea salt, to taste
olive oil cooking spray

For assembly:

3 cups brown or white rice, cooked
2 packages vegan gravy (or your favorite recipe for vegan gravy)
4 large eggs


1. Place all burger ingredients in food processor.  Pulse until well-combined and until the beans are blended, but some whole pieces remain.  Place in refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes to firm up a bit.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

3. Remove the burger mixture from the fridge and form into four equal patties.  Place the burgers onto the baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes.  Remove the burgers from the oven, flip, and cook an additional 10-15 minutes, or until both sides are golden brown.

4. While the burgers are baking, prepare your rice if it is not already cooked, prepare the gravy according to the package directions, and fry four eggs sunny-side up.

5. Assemble the burgers in the following order: rice, burger, gravy, and one fried egg.

loco moco burger 4And of course, you must break the yolk.

loco moco burger 10Combining rice, veggie burgers, gravy, and dippy eggs may sound like a strange combination at first, but give it about two seconds of thought and one bite and your mind will be changed.  I was loving this at first bite.

loco moco burger 12Can you really go wrong with anything topped with gravy and a runny egg yolk?  I think not!

loco moco burger 11Carbs



Runny yolks

And a whole lot of deliciousness.

Have you ever tried a loco moco?

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{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats March 6, 2014, 5:43 am
    Funnily enough yes yes I have and Hawaii is where I had it ;) I remember the gravy being the highlight for me. Your version looks much healthier than the one I had but thats a good thing! Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted...Let’s catch up on fitness and stuffMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2014, 7:18 am
      That is so cool!! I love finding out about new food traditions in different areas of the world :)
  • Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies March 6, 2014, 6:42 am
    I have a friend who is wrapping up graduate school in Hawaii (rough life, right?), I'll have to ask her about loco moco burgers. They sound delicious!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2014, 7:19 am
      Oh geez, that does sound like a rough life ;) haha
  • Ang @ Nutty for Life March 6, 2014, 8:32 am
    What an interesting concept! I don't know if I'd love this because for some reason I don't like gravy with rice but I should maybe start making eggs over rice. Are eggs bad over anything? I really don't think so. Ang @ Nutty for Life recently posted...Cupcakes, Lent, and Thoughts [Thinking Out Loud #8]My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2014, 11:10 am
      Dippy eggs are most definitely good over EVERYTHING. I love them with quinoa too!
  • The Zen Kat March 6, 2014, 10:21 am
    This looks delicious. Add a fried egg to a meal and I'm sold.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2014, 11:10 am
      Haha, I know right?? I feel the same way! ;)
  • Nicole @ FruitnFitness March 6, 2014, 10:53 am
    I have been to Hawaii, but never heard of this. I'm not a fan of gravy but I like the idea of a burger with rice and a runny egg! Nicole @ FruitnFitness recently posted...So you think you want to run?My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2014, 11:11 am
      You should definitely give it a try! I bet adding salsa in place of the gravy would be fantastic too!
  • Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl March 6, 2014, 12:06 pm
    How interesting! I've never heard of that either.... guess I need to make my way to Hawaii! Looks yummy!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2014, 8:30 pm
      You sure do, Kim!! And take me with you! ;)
  • Katie @ running4cupcakes March 6, 2014, 12:48 pm
    I LOVE that your parents send you food pics while they were on vacay - so cute!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2014, 8:31 pm
      Haha yeah, they are pretty awesome! Several of them had half of my mom's finger covering the lense too ;)!!
  • Val March 6, 2014, 3:28 pm
    Cool idea to turn loco moco vegetarian, I never would have thought of that! PS- back home (I'm from Hawaii) they just call it Loco Moco (no burger at the end) :) Val recently posted...Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza and Wine Bar, New YorkMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2014, 8:32 pm
      Aww, bummer!! I suck ;) Thanks for helping me out with that one! haha
  • Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut March 6, 2014, 3:28 pm
    The name alone is a good seller!! I would probably fry my egg more though...one of the few food bloggers who doesn't like runny eggs! (<--which is weird because I loved them as a kid!) Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut recently posted...Did You Know…10 Surprising Benefits of WalnutsMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2014, 8:34 pm
      That's okay, we can't ALL love dippy eggs! It is a good thing that eggs are just darn good any way that they are cooked!
  • Becky @ Olives n Wine March 6, 2014, 7:45 pm
    You know what I hate? When I write a really good comment and then accidentally delete it, LOL! Sorry, that had nothing to do with your post and now I'm going to try to recreate my comment contribution... SO, your dad's burger looks amazing albeit slightly like a heart-attack on a plate ;) I love your healthy, veggie-friendly version and the egg - oh the egg! Any recipe is automatically made a bajillion times better with a runny egg on top. Anyways, if someone were to take me to Hawaii (ahem, KYLE), I could be swayed to try that burger. At least I'd die in paradise ;) Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted...When I grow up…My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2014, 8:37 pm
      Haha, I hear you! I have totally done the same thing. It is frustrating! My your comment is still fantastic. And I definitely think Kyle needs to take you to Hawaii soon just so you can eat the real thing!
  • Megan @ The Skinny-Life March 6, 2014, 8:02 pm
    Wow! What a crazy burger! I've been to Hawaii, but I can't say I've ever saw this. Definitely a unique combination. I love that it is vegetarian.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2014, 8:38 pm
      It is pretty crazy and unique, right? Totally delicious, too! You'll have to try the real thing the next time you are in Hawaii!
  • GiGi Eats March 6, 2014, 10:03 pm
    So creative!! 100% vegetarian! I was expecting you to say that the "meat" under the egg was chicken - but it's BEANS! ha! GiGi Eats recently posted...Saint Patrick’s Day: Rolling Up a SpecialtyMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 7, 2014, 1:49 pm
      Haha, nope! No chicken for this girl!
  • whatjessicabakednext March 8, 2014, 3:29 am
    Looks delicious! whatjessicabakednext recently posted...Creamy Porcini Pappardelle (Fresh Pasta Recipe)My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 8, 2014, 8:08 am
      Thank you! It really was! :)

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