Here is an easy way to make a great-tasting burger substitute. When paired with a bun, this burger has a hearty texture and robust taste that stands in magnificently for the meat-based version. Bonus: Freezes well too, so make a double batch!
- 1½ cups lightly packed, fresh, soft whole-grain bread crumbs (from about 3 to 4 large slices) (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or all-purpose seasoning
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- ⅓ cup diced onion
- 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari or ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a medium baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.
- Put the bread crumbs, Italian or all-purpose seasoning, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt in a large bowl. Put the walnuts in a blender and process in pulses until they resemble coarsely ground flour. Add the walnuts to the bread crumbs and stir gently to incorporate. Put the mushrooms, onion, and tamari in a blender and process to a chunky purée. Add the mushroom mixture to the walnut–bread crumb mixture and stir to incorporate.
- Place a 3-inch cookie cutter ring on the parchment. Pack one-quarter of the mushroom–bread crumb mixture into the ring and press it firmly and evenly into the ring to form a “burger.” Gently remove the ring. (see note) Repeat with the remaining mushroom–bread crumb mixture. Flatten each burger slightly with the back of a flat spatula. Bake for 18 minutes. Flip each burger and bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes, or until the burgers are slightly crisp and golden.
- Serve on toasted whole-grain buns, topped with lettuce, tomato, sweet onion, mustard, and catsup.
- Gluten-free option: To make gluten-free bread crumbs, use your favorite gluten-free bread in place of the whole-grain bread.
- Freshly made bread crumbs must be used in this recipe, as dry bread crumbs will not hold the burgers together. To make fresh bread crumbs, tear 3 to 4 slices of fresh, soft whole-grain bread into chunks. Put the bread chunks in a blender and process into coarse crumbs.
- Alternately form the burgers into four patties with your hands.
YIELD: 4 Servings
Recipe provided by Laura Theodore, the Jazzy Vegetarian, and host of the PBS television series of the same name, as well as the podcast. Her most recent book is Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites. For more information please visit: www.lauratheodore.com
*with a Smoky Paprika Cashew Cheese (Optional)
- 1 tablespoon neutral tasting high-heat oil, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1⁄2 large onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1⁄2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
- 1⁄2 large red or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
- Dash sea salt, plus 1⁄2 teaspoon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
- 1⁄4 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 3⁄4 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup bread crumbs or 2 slices spelt bread
- Whole grain mini burger buns
- Ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, tomato, and lettuce (optional)
*Cashew Cheese Ingredients
- 3⁄4 cup cashews
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons neutral tasting oil
- 1⁄4 cup unsweetened almond or soymilk
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, stemmed and finely chopped
For the cashew cheese: In a large food processor or high-powered blender, pulse cashews, garlic powder, sea salt, agave, paprika, oil, almond or soymilk, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth and uniform, scraping down sides of machine as needed. Fold in thyme once mixture is creamy.
- Preheat large (6-quart) pot over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add corn, bell pepper, dash of sea salt and black pepper. Cook until mixture is slightly browned, about 3-4 minutes, and set aside.
- In a food processor, combine black beans, chipotle powder, 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and agave. Pulse together 5-8 times. Add oats and bread crumbs or spelt bread. Pulse until uniform, scraping down sides to further incorporate into food processor. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add cooked onion and pepper mixture to bowl and fold into veggie burger mixture.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add remaining oil. With damp hands, form burgers into patties and place in heated pan. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Serve on a toasted mini bun with cashew cheese, if using and desired toppings!
Spork Foods is a Los Angeles-based gourmet vegan food company owned and operated by sisters Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg. They offer live cooking classes in Los Angeles at Spork Foods (www.sporkfoods.com) and online vegan cooking classes at www.sporkonline.com. Their cookbook, Spork-Fed, is currently in stores, with a foreword by fellow fans and sisters, Emily and Zooey Deschanel.
My Mum used to make this recipe. We called them Big Ben’s Burgers because my younger brother Ben was a miniature human garbage disposal with a big appetite. This was his favourite meal as a kid.
- 3⁄4 cup (95g) wheat germ
- 2 cups (400g) cooked or canned lentils
- 1 cup (120g) bread crumbs
- 1⁄4 cup (40g) onions, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- 1⁄2 tsp ground black pepper
- On a small plate, set aside 2 tbsp of wheat germ for coating.
- In a medium bowl mix together the wheat germ, lentils, bread crumbs, onions, oil, salt and pepper, and mash together ingredients with a potato masher or your hands.
- Divide and shape into 4 patties like you’re making a snowball. Really pack the patties tightly together. Lay down each patty in reserved wheat germ, coating each side.
- Cook in a lightly oiled frying pan on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, flipping occasionally.
- Serve an all-vegan patty with special sauce, lettuce, vegan-cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame bun! YUM!
Big Ben Lentil Burgers from GoVegan! w/Sarah Kramer App.
Available at www.goveganapp.com
Photo by Sarah Kramer
Watch how to make these burgers HERE: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SleirL5C3SU