I loved me some hamburgers when I was a kid. My mom would always mix ketchup, mustard and other seasonings and spices into the ground beef and I was all about it. But as much as I loved hamburgers, I honestly love these so much more than I ever loved the meat version. The last meat-eater who tried these kept saying “There’s so much flavor in these. I can’t get over how much flavor is in these.”
No joke, it took me eight years to develop a good veggie burger recipe; I was really intimidated by the task and never fully satisfied with my attempts. I tried making black bean and quinoa burgers, broccoli and sweet potato burgers, etc…forget all that.
Originally inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s beet burgers, these also contain beets but not to the point that you can taste them. The lentils, walnuts, almond butter and brown rice give the burgers a lot of protein and heartiness, and the beet color makes them look like meat without trying too hard to look like meat, you know?
Above all, these burgers are pretty easy to make– pulse the base ingredients in a food processor, mix in all the rest, patty ‘em up and throw them on a pan. Nothing has to be perfect or exact. They’re even better leftover, too; I may or may not have eaten one cold for breakfast this morning.
Yield: 10 burgers
- 1 cup uncooked beets, peeled and shredded/grated (roughly one medium beet)
- 1 cup cooked brown rice (can be leftover)
- 2 cups cooked green or brown lentils (can be leftover)
- ¾ cup walnuts, soaked for at least 2 hours ahead of time
- 1 cup onion (roughly one small onion), roughly chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- 1 cup breadcrumbs, regular or gluten-free
- ½ cup almond butter and/or sunflower seed butter
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup mustard
- 1.5 Tbsp tamari, soy sauce or liquid aminos
- 2.5 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (the generic Kroger brand is vegan, as are several specialty brands)
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, optional
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika, optional
- ¼ tsp ground fennel seed, optional
- Olive oil for the pan
- Make sure rice and lentils are fully cooled and drained of any excess liquid. Drain and rinse the walnuts
- Pulse garlic in food processor until broken up into tiny pieces, add chopped onion and puree for about 30 seconds
- Add the walnuts and pulse until broken up into small crumbles. Dump the contents of the food processor out into a large mixing bowl
- Add the rice, lentils and shredded beets into the food processor and pulse until everything is broken up into small pieces. The mixture should start to look like ground beef
- Transfer the contents of the food processor to the mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. If your rice and/or lentils were on the mushy side, add about 1/4 cup more breadcrumbs to counterbalance the excess moisture in the mix. Use your hands to mix thoroughly
- Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer. Don’t skip this step or else the burgers won’t hold together as well
- Form the mixture into patties. You want each patty to be about ½ cup of mixture.
- Preheat a large heavy-duty (preferably cast iron) skillet over medium heat (higher heat will result in them burning on the outsides and undercooking on the insides)
- Pour a thin layer of oil into the pan and cook patties for about 8-10 minutes on each side, checking occasionally to make sure they don’t burn on the bottoms. You can drizzle in a little more oil when you flip them to the other side if needed. Cook until the burgers are heated through and have a little char on them
- Serve with your favorite burger fixin’s