Monday, August 24, 2009


... not vegan.

I was never huge into beef alternative-type burgers. I like beef. I really do. (Sorry if this grosses you out, Lori) I love greasy, plain, smokey, slightly burnt good ol' fashioned burgers. Usually with those church barbeque type burgers, it's all about what you put on the burger, not the burger itself. In Japan they make these beautiful "hamburgers" (if you can even call them that), and eat it like steak. It's a fancy dinner on a fancy plate kind of meal. And I love it like that. I love a huge range of ground beef mixed with a few things, formed into a flat, round (or oval) patty, to be happily devoured.

But then in high school I discovered the gardenburger, and surprisingly loved it! And I didn't know what to do with myself. So once in a while I buy them, and once in a while I crave them, and that's about it. I leave the making of them to those who do it for money.

... But THEN, I came across this recipe in my Everyday Food Great Food Fast cookbook, and have been secretly drooling over it since. And I finally told Blake I want to make it for dinner. He was a little skeptical, but agreed, and we were both stunned at the delicious beauty of the burger. You MUST try it. Vegetarian, meat-over alike, you are going to love this burger.

Lentil Walnut Burgers with Parsnip and Yukon Gold Oven Fries
Serves 4
Lentil Walnut Burgers:
3/4 C lentils, picked over and rinsed
3/4 C walnuts
1/3 C plain dried breadcrumbs (I didn't have any, so I just processed about 1 slice of toasted whole grain bread and it was awesome!)
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 t ground cumin
2 t ground coriander
1/4 to 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 T olive oil
1 L egg

for serving:
thinly sliced tomato
thinly sliced cucumber
red onion relish (just some super thinly sliced red onion, soaked for 30 minutes, and tossed with red wine vinegar)
yogurt-cilantro sauce*
cilantro leaves

* yogurt-cilantro sauce:
3/4 C plain low-fat or fat free yogurt
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 T fresh lemon juice
salt to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the lentils in a small saucepan, and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cover, and cook until the lentils are tender but still holding their shape, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well and cool.
  2. Meanwhile, spread the walnuts on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven until fragrant and darkened, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
  3. In a food processor, combine the walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, 1-1/2 teasspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; process until finely ground. Add the lentils and 1 T olive oil, pulse until coarsely chopped (some lentils will remain whole).
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg. Add the lentil mixture; mix well. Divide into 4 equal-sized parts; roll into balls, and flatten with the palm of your hand into 3/4 inch thick patties.
  5. Heat the remaining 3 T oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the burgers; cook over medium-low heat until crisp and browned, turning gently with a thin-edged spatula, 8 to minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
Parsnip & Yukon Gold Oven Fries:
2~3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into thin strips
3~4 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into thin strips
4 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Toss the parsnips, potatoes, oil, salt and pepper together until coated well. Place the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Place in the oven and bake until outside is golden and cooked through, about 25~30 minutes. Serve warm.


Anonymous said...

So, you're amazing! I wish you were my personal chef!

Lillian said...

Come live in Indiana, and I'll have you over for dinner every night! Seriously, I miss you, Melissa. Wish you lived closer.