I have a confession. *Deep breath*
In the 3 years of being vegan, I have never made a homemade veggie burger. *Gasp*
It feels so good to get that off my chest. *Sigh*
There are so many veggie burger recipes out there, I’ve been indecisive and lacked motivation to sift through which ones sound spectacular and which ones appear average. Most of them looked plain and average to me. If I’m going to try to replicate the meat dish of all meat dishes, I don’t want it to be so-so. Avoiding the challenge was a way to avoid the risk of failure. Of ruining the notion of “burger” all together.
Well I finally risked it. And man, these were not so-so. These were BANGIN! I went through a few recipes and liked the technique of chilling the patties before cooking them. When it comes down to the ingredients, this was another fridge cleaning masterpiece. The last few sundried tomatoes, only 5 mushrooms in the drawer, some limp celery, and spare artichokes in the freezer to add to the filling. Not even an onion to my name. These were spectacular! The texture was perfect. Literally – the oats and flax give these bad boys a stick-to-your-ribs feel without feeling grainy. And they were sturdy enough not to bread apart in the pan.
I highly recommend serving these on English muffins. We happen to be lucky enough to live across the street from the best homemade English muffins in the Southwest that are so large, one side suffices per burger. As for the toppings, be creative. I loved the sprinkle of dill over a thin spread of Veganaise. My token omnivore put a little mozz and catsup on top. After one bite came the reassuring “mmmmmm.” After finishing the second burger, this was declared to be one of the very best meals to come out of my kitchen. This burger is here to stay.
KB's Bangin’ Veggie Burgers
Makes: 4 patties
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total Prep Time: 1 hour
½ c. dry red lentils, rinsed
½ T. canola oil
½ c. celery, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ c. mushrooms, diced
4-6 sundried tomatoes, minced
½ c. artichoke hearts, chopped (thawed from frozen or canned)
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
½ c. rolled oats
2 T. ground flax seed
4 English muffins
Arugula or spinach
Chopped kalamata olives
Bring the lentils and 4 cups of water to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender and falling apart, 15-20 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside. If you are using sundried tomatoes that were not packed in oil, rehydrate them by throwing them in the pot with lentils for 5-10 minutes. Pick them out with tongs when soft.
While lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add celery and cook until it starts to become translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and stir until it becomes fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and additional broth or water if pan becomes too dry. Cook until all veggies are tender, 6-8 minutes. Remove and transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.
In the large mixing bowl, add 1 cup of lentils (you may end up with extra). Smoosh everything with a potato ricer at first to break lentils apart, then use your hands to knead everything together. The mixture will be really moist as you mush the lentils, and you can stir in additional lentils if you’d like. Add oats and flax and continue to mix until everything start to stick together. If the mixture is still too wet, add more flax and oats by the tablespoon. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Form the mixture into 4 medium patties (or meatless balls, or quarter pounders, whatever you feel) and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When the patties are nice and stiff they are ready to cook.
Preheat (toaster) oven to 450°F. While the oven is warming up, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet over high heat. Lower heat slightly when oil is hot and add patties. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer patties to oven to continue cooking until the middles are hot, about 5 minutes. You can also add the English muffins in the oven to toast along with the burger, or throw them in the toaster at this point.
To assemble: Spread some Veganaise over one side of the English muffin and sprinkle with dill. Follow with a layer of spinach or arugula. Place burger on top and follow with sliced tomatoes and olives. If you are using giant English muffins, feel free to use one side per burger. If you are using smaller ones, put the Veganaise on one side and the burger/toppings on the others.