Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How about a Veggie Burger?

Several weeks ago we met some friends at Tavern at Lark Creek for lunch. It’s a lovely place and the food is really yummy. Well, I had their veggie burger and I am here to tell you it was like nothing I had eaten before. Of course I knew it was going to be very different from the weird too salty ones you can find in the frozen food section of the market, but I had no idea what a treat it would be. Very moist, lots of texture and wonderful flavors. So in true form I decided I needed to make them at home…I started a search for recipes with similar ingredients, since they had mentioned a few in their menu description…lentils, bulgur wheat and cashews. Of course I found several recipes that had parts or pieces so I had to do a little recipe combining…here’s my take on it…
¾ C dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked over

2 ½ tsp salt

¾ C bulgur wheat

2 TBS vegetable oil

2 medium onions chopped fine (about 2 cups)

1 small leek chopped fine (just the white & light green part)

2 medium garlic cloves minced

1 lb. crimini or white mushrooms, sliced

1 C cashews (raw, unsalted)

1/3 C mayonnaise

2 cups bread crumbs

Ground pepper

Some sort of bun…I used ciabatta bread cut in half and grilled with a little butter)
1. Bring 3 cups water, lentils and 1 tsp salt to boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, reduce and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentil are just beginning to fall apart, about 25 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, line a cookie sheet with paper towels and spread drained lentils to dry. You can gently pat with additional towels to remove more moisture.

2. While lentils simmer, bring 2 C water and ½ tsp salt to boil in small saucepan. Stir bulgur wheat into boiling water and cover immediately. Let stand off the heat until water is absorbed – 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in fine mesh strainer, use rubber spatula to press out excess moisture. Transfer to medium bowl and set aside.

3. Heat 1 TBS oil in large skillet over medium heat, add onions, leek, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cookie sheet, cool and set aside. Add remaining 1 TBS oil to now empty skillet, heat, add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. spread mushrooms on sheet with vegetables.

4. Process cashews in food processor until finely chopped, about 20 – pulses, stir into bowl with the bulgur wheat along with the cooked lentil and vegetable/mushroom mixture. Transfer half the mixture to the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, 15 to 20 pulses, mixture will be cohesive but roughly textured. Transfer processed mixture to large bowl, repeat with remaining mixture. Combine the two batches and stir in the bread crumbs, 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Line a baking sheet with paper towels, divide mixture into 12 – ½ cup or so portions, shape each into a tightly packed patty about ½ inch thick. Set patties on paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

5. If you choose to grill your patties, put a little oil on the grill to avoid sticking or stove top cooking in a pan with a little oil. Cook patties until brown on each side about 4 minutes.

6. Serve with buns and favorite burger toppings.

These were GREAT! There were sort of a lot of pots and pans, at the end of things, but the good news is that the patties (according to all the recipes I read) can be wrapped up individually and frozen! I am always up for something I can make a lot of and then put in the freezer. There is just nothing better on those evenings when you can’t bear to cook something from scratch to know there is a great meal waiting to be thawed! That always makes me feel real organized! Bon appetito!


  1. Thanks for this! I had the veggie burger there on Friday night and thought the same thing as you, that it's something I would need to try at home. Lucky for me, you've already figured out the recipe!