Meatless Monday Recipe: Lentil-Mushroom Burgers
While reading Scott Jurek’s new book Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness I stumbled upon a lot of yummy-sounding vegan recipes I was eager to try, and this week I put the Lentil-Mushroom Burgers to the test. I’ve made lentil burgers before using a recipe I found in one of my mom’s hippie cookbooks, a remnant of a before-kids macrobiotic kick. But those things tasted awful—like soggy lentils doused in cumin. With flavorful ingredients like walnuts and meaty-tasting mushrooms, this recipe was a big upgrade.
I followed it pretty closely, but opted for regular lentils instead of slightly smaller green lentils. I picked kale as the green and used baby bella mushrooms. I had planned to grill my lentil burgers, but after 20 minutes, it was clear they didn’t want to cook over a bed of charcoal. Inside and into a sauté pan they went. The verdict: great flavor, but a bit mushier than I would have liked. And, unlike the photo would suggest, these burgers definitely don’t need buns.
1 cup dried green lentils (2 ¼ cups cooked)
2 ¼ cups water
1 teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ¼ cups finely chopped onion
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
2 cups fine bread crumbs (see Note)
½ cup ground flax seed (flax seed meal)
3 cups finely chopped mushrooms
1 ½ cups destemmed, finely chopped kale, spinach, or winter greens
2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
In a small pot, bring the lentils, water, parsley, 1 garlic clove, and ¼ cup of the onion to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 35 to 40 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft.
While the lentils are cooking, combine the walnuts, bread crumbs, and flax seed in a bowl. Add the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and paprika and mix well.
Sauté the remaining onion, remaining garlic, the mushrooms, and greens in the oil for 8 to 10 minutes, then set aside. Remove the lentils from the heat, add the vinegar and mustard, and mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon to a thick paste.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the lentils, sautéed veggies, and bread crumb mixtures, and mix well. Cool in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes or more.
Using your hands, form burger patties to your desired size and place on waxed paper. Lightly fry in a seasoned skillet, broil, or grill until lightly browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Extra uncooked patties can be frozen on wax paper in plastic bags or wrapped individually in aluminum foil, making for a quick dinner or wholesome burger for the next barbecue.
Note: To make the bread crumbs, you’ll need about half of a loaf of day-old bread (like Ezekiel 4:9). Slice the bread, then tear or cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces and chop in a food processor for 1 to 2 minutes, until a fine crumb results. The walnuts can also be chopped in the food processor with the bread.
“Lentil-Mushroom Burgers” from Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman. Copyright © 2012 by Scott Jurek. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
—Hollis Templeton is an associate editor and resident vegetarian at Fitbie
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