I think it is time for a new burger recipe. I have to be honest, these days I make burgers when I don’t feel like eating salad or raw veggies, to force myself to eat some greens. I wrap them in not one but two collard greens, fill them with more veggies, sauerkraut and some Eggplant Mayo, and the greens practically eat themselves.
Not that this needs to be your reason to make these burgers, you can also just feel like a good burger, because these really are. I’ve been making a version of these for years, and it all started when I was cooking for a client who didn’t like veggies, really loved meat (a lot) but wanted to eat vegan.
I was drawing from all kinds of umami inspo to try to get to know which (plant-based) meaty ingredients would trick him into the other, greener, watery ingredients. Mushrooms, lentils, buckwheat, miso, sundried tomatoes and a bit of smoked paprika (and a reluctant bottle of tobasco) all helped with the more salad-y stuff. The first three of which made it into this recipe.
It’s the grounding combo of mushrooms and lentils that give these the deep satisfaction that you hope for from a burger (not just a veggie burger). Wes doesn’t handle lentils well (huge sad face) which means I don’t make this exact version very often. It also means that when I do, they are all mine, which is how I know they freeze really well (once cooked) and are ready to pop into your toaster oven to add excitement to a salad, or to wrap in the kale that needs using up (that you neglected to smoothie up that morning because you’re pregnant and green smoothies should really make themselves, shouldn’t they?).
They are not as crunchy and texturally stimulating as our original Veggie Burger, but they do more closely resemble a real burger and are a little bit lower maintenance to make. You still have to do some soaking the night before (or morning of) though, so don’t forget to plan accordingly.
Despite the fiesta of (really hard to photograph sex-ily) brown, before you even wrap these burgers in collards, they are very good for you. We use a combo of shitake mushrooms (detoxifying, antiviral, antitumor, and immune boosting) and cut them with protobello mushrooms (a little bit cheaper, also help to detoxify and discharge muscus) but any mushroom or combo of mushrooms will work.
Lentils are high in protein and fiber and are speedy to cook, there is not need to ever buy canned lentils. The buckwheat adds body (and is slow to break down, so you won’t get hungry quickly) and the oats dry things out in the way that breadcrumbs would, minus the gluten and overly processed vibe (tips on cooking it here). The sunflower seeds add more protein than beef, so I thought they were the appropriate beef sub. They also add some healthy fat satisfaction, good texture and keep things nut-free (but most nuts would sub in well, just chop them up).
The onions go in raw, as does the garlic. This may seems weird, but try to resist giving them a sauté before adding them, they taste best this way, I promise, and they retain more nutrients. My Mom used to make real burgers this way when we were kids, with beef mixed with raw onions and a bit of ketchup or bbq sauce (while we ate it raw out of the bowl…) and they were delicious, which is where I got the idea from. The onions still cook, but they retain their juiciness and shape, there are fewer dishes and everybody wins.
If you are like me these days and need little tricks to talk yourself into eating salad-y things, these burgers might be it. They might also just be a delicious but healthy respite from the burgers you (or someone you know) is currently enjoying.
Top with avocado (or Guacamole), sliced steamed (or fermented or pickled) beets, grated carrots, Homemade Ketchup or Sprouted Broccoli Mustard, Sauerkraut, Eggplant Aioli, or broccoli sprouts, and wrap in a collard green (or two). You can also wrap them in iceburg lettuce and top with a tomato slice, Ketchup and Mustard and pretend you’re at In-N-Out if that’s more your vibe right now. I do that sometimes too.
- ½ c Green Lentils, soaked for 8-10 hours, drained, rinsed and cooked with one piece of kombu
- 1 small sheet of Kombu (see above)
- ½ c Buckwheat, soaked for 8-10 hours, drained, rinsed and cooked
- ½ c Sunflower seeds, Soaked for 6-10 hours, drained and rinsed
- 2 c (175g) Shitake Mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 lg (150g) Portobello Mushroom, roughly chopped
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp Fresh Thyme (or rosemary), chopped
- 2 Tbsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- ¼ c Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (plus more for baking them in)
- 1 c Rolled Oats (not instant)
- 1 Red or Yellow Onion, finely diced
- 3 Tbsp Chia Seed, ground in a spice grinder
- Sea(weed) Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350*F
- In a food processor, blend cooked lentils (plus their cooking kombu), buckwheat, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, vinegar and coconut oil until blended but not too smooth.
- Add the ground chia seeds and continue to blend until well combined.
- Transfer contents to a large bowl stir in the diced onion and rolled oats.
- Let sit for 15 minutes or so (put in the fridge if longer) to give the oats time to absorb some of the extra moisture.
- Shape into patties (makes 10 large-ish) and line up on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Drizzle with (or crumble on) a couple of tsp of extra virgin coconut oil.
- Bake for 20 minutes, pull out, flip the burgers over and bake for another 20 minutes (or less time if the patties are smaller).
- Serve in a collard green or ice burg lettuce bun with sliced beets, avocado, broccoli sprouts, homemade ketchup and mustard or just serve on top of your favourite salad.
- Once cooked and cooled, these freeze well (just stick in your toaster oven to defrost/reheat)