Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lentil-Walnut Burgers with Caramelized Sweet Onions and Mustard Greens

hyper-critical (and sometimes lazy) tiny voice VANQUISHED.
Lentil-Walnut Burgers with
Caramelized Sweet Onions & Mustard Greens.

'Cause everything's better with grainy mustard. Even the tiny voice knows that.

One of the (many)  little voices inside of my head used to have a lot to say on the subject of veggie burgers. At the grocery store it would be all naggy and judgmental. I'd stand in front of the display of veggie burgers contemplatively and then... "Shelling out five bucks for this frozen package of machine-made garbage is DUMB. We could make 'em better AND cheaper. Stop being so damn lazy. You're better than this." So I'd leave the freezer section empty handed but vaguely self-possessed and hit up the bulk bins. Triumphantly returning to my kitchen, I'd assemble the ingredients to DIY some veggie burgers like nobody's business. But, inevitably, the little voice would appear again, only this time cloaked in laziness and defeat. "Ugh. Why are we doing all of this work for? Homemade veggie burgers are never that good. You're just going to eat one and forget about the rest. Don't even bother. Let's watch some TV." 
This cycle repeated itself for years, so veggie burgers never happened 
and because of that I was sad for a very long time.
Notice the use of past tense? That's because things have changed, my friends.
And I am the one who has changed them.
I killed that naggy, judgemental, lazy, defeatist little voice. Killed it dead. 
Or at least knocked it into silent submission.
And I used this recipe to do it. 

Lentil-Walnut Burgers with
Caramelized Sweet Onions and Mustard Greens.
(makes 12 standard sized burgers)

1c brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1/2c uncooked bulgur
1 1/4c raw walnut pieces
3Tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2c rinsed, torn and tightly packed mustard greens
1Tbsp ground flax seed
3Tbsp boiling water
1Tbsp finely ground sea salt
2tsp ground black pepper
2tsp crushed red pepper
1tsp smoked paprika

extra salt & pepper to taste

Formed burgers, before cooking.

Place lentils in a medium saucepan, add 2c water and bring to a boil.
Stir, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. 
Drain thoroughly and set aside.

Prepare bulgur according to package instructions. 
Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Combine ground flax seed with 3Tbsp of boiling water and whisk to combine.
Set aside until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Heat 1.5Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.
Add diced onions and cook, stirring frequently, until transparent and browned, 
about 8-12 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
Add greens and cook 2-3 minutes, until wilted. Set aside.

Add lentils, bulgur, walnuts, flax seed mixture, 1.5Tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and paprika to the bowl of a food processor.
Process for 25-30 seconds, until mixture is well incorporated
but some larger pieces still remain.
Add cooked onion and green mixture.
Process for 10-15 seconds more.

At this point, taste the mixture and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Use your hands to form standard-sized burgers, about 3" across, and place on
parchment-lined baking sheet.
I found that the burgers cooked best when left to set up for 20-25 minutes beforehand.

Pan fry in a bit of olive oil, cooking over medium high heat for 6-8 minutes on each side, or bake on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350 for 18 minutes,
flipping halfway through.

Extra burgers can be kept uncooked, wrapped in parchment and refrigerated for 2-3 days or frozen for up to a month.

Burger-less no more.


  1. What would be a good replacement for the mustard greens?

  2. Curly or Lacinato kale would be a great replacement. Just give the mix a taste test before forming the burgers to see if it needs any extra seasoning. :)

  3. Any idea of what I could replace bulgur with to make these GF? They're gorgeous!

    1. Thanks! I think short grain brown rice would work well- originally intended to use it but was too impatient to wait out the cooking time. ;)

  4. How many walnuts should I use? (I don't see them in the ingredient list) Thanks! This recipe looks awesome!! (:

    1. Yikes! Can't believe I left them out of the ingredient list- just updated the post with the correct amount. Thanks for letting me know!

  5. Thanks, Kara, for coming up with a perfect ratio of ingredients, no small accomplishment!

    Grilled, these gave a nice crust burger-sensation, and the texture is perfect.

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback- I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the recipe!! I'm actually making up a new batch today, my third so far! :)