Vegan Burger

Allright, I have to admit, I have been trying to create the perfect vegan burger for a long time now without much success. I mean, really, much like the typical ones I had tasted before, they were either too mushy, or too obviously “healthy-tasting” (that’s the French foodie in me speaking!!) or just tasted too “complicated,” if you know what I mean. This is of course….up to now: I remedied all that! 

This is the best vegan burger I have ever eaten and I am not just talking nutrition-wise. The ingredients are indeed superb— I’ll get to that in a minute– but I am talking tasty, chewy, not mushy, almost “meaty” as a juicy burger you can sink your teeth into! Here is how I managed to achieve all that, using power nutritious ingredients: I use cooked farro as my base (I keep it intact, not ground) which gives it that chewy-nutty texture, then, I add puréed lentils (canned is fine–here is a brand I like) and sautéed diced cremini mushrooms which give it that “meaty-ness”, and finally I “bind” it all together with ground oats and  seasonings. It is loaded with protein and fiber; rich in vitamins and minerals; and a source of healthy, unsaturated oil– it is firing on all cylinders!

You can enjoy it plain or topped with my homemade BBQ sauce (click here for recipe).

You can watch me make it in my own kitchen, here–it’s so easy! I recommend using a grill pan like this one(it doesn’t have to be fancy, I got mine at Kohls!)

 

Cuisinicity Tip 1: I like using black beluga lentils for this recipe, but French lentils or brown lentils will do. Just follow package instructions as each is a little different. You will need about ⅓ cup dry lentils to make the 1 cup cooked lentils you need. I personally use canned organic black beluga lentils (see links for a couple brands below recipe).
 
Author: Catherine Katz
Serves: 4 big patties
 

Ingredients:

  • Chewy Base:
  • ½ cup dry whole farro
  • “Meatiness”:
  • 1 cup canned black lentils, rinsed and well drained (packed!)*
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (optional)
  • 2 cups raw cremini mushrooms,rinsed & diced (8 oz)
  • Binding:
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt

 

Instructions:

  1. GETTING EVERYTHING READY:
  2. Preheat a medium shallow pan and when hot, add the 2 cups diced mushrooms and cook until tender (DO NOT add any oil!) for 10-12 minutes and water has evaporated, and transfer to a cup and set aside.You will end up with 3/4 cup cooked diced mushrooms.
  3. Meanwhile, place ½ cup dry farro in 1¾ cups boiling water and cook uncovered, until water has evaporated (about 12 minutes). Transfer to a cup and set aside to cool. You will end up with 1 cup cooked farro.
  4. Place the rolled oats in the bowl of a small food processor and grind until medium fine (it shouldn’t be a powder) and set aside.
  5. Place the canned (or cooked) lentils (make sure they are well rinsed and drained and they are well packed in that cup!) in food processor and grind, scraping the sides to form a paste.
  6. Add the olive oil, if using, and grind again until smooth. Transfer to a cup and set aside.You will end up with about ¾ cup pureed lentils.
  7. ASSEMBLING:
  8. Place the cooked mushrooms, ground oats and pureed lentils in a medium bowl and stir gently with a spoon.
  9. Add tomato paste, dijon mustard, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and stir again.
  10. Add the cooked farro last and, using your hands, “dig in” and work the mixture so that it forms a ball.
  11. Form into 4 equal patties (I like to use a big ice-cream scooper to make them more regular & compact and finish forming the patty with my hands). you can refrigerate or freeze at this point until ready to grill.
  12. When ready to grill, drizzle a little canola oil in a large non-stick skillet and heat over high heat. When the pan is very hot, place the patties on the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  13. Optional: Use a pastry brush to coat each patty with BBQ sauce (if using) on both sides (about 1 Tbsp per patty) and serve on soft wheat buns with garnishings.
 

You can find ready-cooked organic black beluga lentils HERE and HERE!