Homemade Veggie Burgers

29 12 2010

It’s like they say, the 12th time’s the charm. Oh, they don’t say that? Well, I guess I am taking some liberty with the saying, then.

Back when I started No Meat November, I set off on a mission to find a reasonable replacement for beef burgers. I used to like Gardenburgers in college, but have since learned to steer clear of pretty much any processed vegetarian fare, as it has more salt than a square acre in the Bonneville Salt Flats. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point. Processed food = salty.

Here is the nutrition panel for your standard issue Gardenburger, along with the ingredients list. On the surface, it looks pretty good, but 400 mg of sodium for something that only has 100 calories is kinda out of whack. Considering you will likely put in on a bun, and bread products are pretty high in sodium, it’s a one-way ticket to high blood pressure and water retention.The ingredients list is long and involved, and, while most things are pronounceable, some are definitely questionable.  But, I digress. Getting back on track…  image image

For this week’s Test Kitchen Tuesday, 2Chili provided the recipe he wanted. I was completely shocked that it was a veggie burger, because the boy has suffered through quite a few disastrous veggie burgers.

We’ve tried multiple black bean burgers, lentil burgers till the cows come home (ironic choice of wording, huh?), and the one I thought was the best, a TVP (textured vegetable protein) burger. For what it’s worth, 2Chili  thought the TVP burger was the worst. We couldn’t be more different.

Last week, he handed me a magazine that our realtor sends out called “American Lifestyle.” It was opened to a recipe for Red Lentil Veggie Burgers, garlicky yam fries and spicy mango ketchup. Of course, for 2Chili, yam fries and spicy mango ketchup were not contenders, but he suggested the lentil burger. imageI happened to have all the ingredients required on hand, and even had lentils and bulgur prepared. It was veggie burger destiny.

The burgers are chock-full of chopped veggies, and thus take a bit of prep time, so this is a good make ahead on the weekend project, which is what I did. Last night, all I had to do was heat them up and add some mashed potatoes on the side.

I had very low expectations for these burgers, as I am used to the disappointment of providing what I think is a good veggie burger only to get two thumbs down. But, amazingly, he had his dinner eaten before I even finished assembling mine, and I didn’t hear any rumbling in the other room. In 2Chili land, that means something was a hit!


Veggie Burgers

Downloadable Word Document Recipe

Original Recipe Inspiration: The recipe is a modification of “Red Lentil Veggie Burgers” from a magazine called American Lifestyle.

Time Required:

  • 15 minutes to chop veggies
  • 10 minutes to sauté veggies
  • 1 hour to chill patties
  • 10 minutes to sear patties
  • 12 minutes to bake patties

Skill Level (out of 5): PlatePlatePlate 

2Chili’s Taster Rating (out of 5):StarStarStarStar

The Cook’s Taster Rating (out of 5): StarStarStarStar

Makes: 8 patties


  • 1 cup cooked bulgur or brown rice (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced (1/c cup)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Canola, olive, or grapeseed oil spray
  • 5 ounces broccoli, florets and stems finely chopped (1.5 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and grated (1 cup) and squeezed to remove excess liquid
  • 3 ounces shitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 ounces fresh or defrosted frozen shelled edamame beans, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons yellow curry powder (if you don’t like curry powder, perhaps replace with Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook bulgur and lentils according to package directions
  • Chop all vegetables
  • Spray a large skillet with oil, and heat over medium heat
  • Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring until translucent and fragrant but not brown, about 3 minutes
  • Add the broccoli, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and edamame beans and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are fragrant but still crunchy, about 2 minutes
  • Add the curry powder, and cook, stirring for 30 seconds
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in salt and pepper
  • Let cool slightly
  • Transfer the lentils, bulgur, and vegetable mixture to a large bowl, add egg, and mix until well combined
  • Scoop out ½ cup of the mixture, and with wet hands, pack it firmly into a tight ball as if forming a meatball
  • For the ball into a 3-inch patty about 1 inch thick
  • Place the patty on a sprayed baking sheet and repeat to make 8 burgers
  • Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Spray a large skillet with oil and heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking
  • Place the burgers in the pan without crowding (work in batches) and sear until they are light golden on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side
  • Transfer the burgers to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes to warm through completely


For one patty made with no added salt. Click to enlarge.

image image

The Verdict: 2Chili said this is the best at-home veggie burger he has had yet. These were somewhat laborious due to all the chopping, but, the end result really was good. The original recipe didn’t call for an egg, but after trying to get them to hold together somewhat unsuccessfully, I added the egg and that seemed to do the trick., as they held together pretty well. 2Chili thought they were good because all the veggies gave them a bit of a crunch, instead how he described previous veggie burgers, “pasty.” Since there are  only two of us, I froze 6 patties, so we’re set on veggie burgers for a while. Gotta love healthy convenience foods!




2 responses

29 12 2010
Edward - If You Can Read, You Can Cook Read-Cook edwardra3

Can you taste the lentil in these? I’ve always hated lentils and have gone without eating rather than have them. For these burgers, I’d also have to remove the mushrooms because I’m allergic. I like the occasional veggie purger but finding them without mushrooms is a real PITA.

If 2Chilli doesn’t like sweet potato fries, he has to try them Smashburger style. Smash-fries are tossed with olive oil, garlic, and rosemary. They make regular fries taste boring.

29 12 2010

Hmm, I would say you really can’t taste the lentils because of all the other veggies. 2Chili does not like lentils and he was not bothered by these. You could easily leave out the mushrooms – they don’t strike me as crucial and you certainly don’t taste them. Amazingly, 2Chili does like sweet potato fries, just not “garlicky.” He is not big on rosemary, though. You see my dilemma! 😉

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