Store-bought veggie burgers are convenient, but they are not as wholesome as the ones you can make at home. Not all packaged veggie burgers are made the same. Some contain a long list of ingredients, many of which are unrecognizable — a sign that the product is highly processed. Hearty, satisfying, and flavor-packed, this homemade veggie burger, whether cooked on the grill or in a frying pan, can hold its shape. Crispy on the outside, soft and textured on the inside, the black beluga lentils give the patty that grainy texture.

Heart-Healthy Burger [Vegan]

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Serves

8

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Ingredients

For frying/grilling
  • Vegetable, canola or grape seed oil
Base
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beluga lentils
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans, strained and rinsed well
  • 1 cooking onion, diced
  • 2 big garlic cloves, pressed or grated
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh brown button mushrooms, diced* (see note)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
Spices and binding
  • 1 tablespoon brown miso paste
  • 1 large egg replacer
  • 1 teaspoon powdered paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • A few drops of red tabasco sauce
  • Ground pepper (do not add salt when using miso paste)
Crumbs and thickener
  • 1 cup (or more) of crumbs of choice. I use a mix of roasted rolled oats, walnuts and chia seeds.* (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch
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Preparation

  1. On the stovetop, cook the black lentils and brown rice according to package. Strain excess water and set aside.
  2. Strain and rinse the canned black beans under running water.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils with the 1/2 cup black beans and partially mash with a potato masher. The black beans will break up and mash more easily than the lentils, and that is what you want. Set aside.
  4. On stovetop on medium heat, fry the diced mushrooms with the onion and garlic in a dry pan (no oil, no butter in pan) until all the water has evaporated. This may take as long as 6 minutes. You will end up with 1 cup of fried garlicky and oniony mushrooms. Add this to the lentils and beans and mix with a fork. Then add the rice and mix again. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together with a fork the ingredients for the spices and binding. Add to the lentil, bean and rice mixture. Mix this in with a fork.
  6. Add the 1 cup (or more later) of crumbs and mix again. Then with one hand (wash your hands before), turn and squeeze the mixture between your fingers. Do this several times until ingredients are further blended. The mixture should hold well together. It should feel moist, slightly crumbly but not mushy. If you find it dry, add a little olive or veggie oil, if you find it too wet, add more crumbs (I rarely need to adjust, but result can vary).
  7. Cover and put in fridge for 30 minutes or longer or even overnight. Make your patties approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup in size.  At this point you can freeze the patties in a sealed container or proceed to frying or grilling.
  8. Heat up oil in a cast iron pan. When very hot, reduce heat to medium-low and fry patties for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. The outside layer of the patty should be seared and crisp. You can also grill them for 3 minutes on each side. Serve as is or between buns with veggies/condiments of choice.

Notes

* If you don’t like mushrooms, you can substitute with 1 cup of grated vegetables, such as a mix of grated raw zucchini (with peels) and grated raw carrots or 1 cup of grated beetroot is also tasty. Unlike frying vegetables, mushrooms release lots of water and they shrink more after they are fried, so you need to start out with at least 2 1/2 cups of fresh mushrooms to end up with 1 cup of fried mushrooms. You can sauté the zucchini, carrots, or beets with the onion and garlic in a bit of oil. *You can make your own breadcrumbs with 1/2 cup rolled oats + 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts + 4 tablespoons chia seeds, all roasted together on middle rack on a baking sheet in oven at 390°F (200°C) for 7-8 minutes. You can double or triple the batch and store in a sealed glass jar for future use.

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