Homemade veggie burgers are just… the best.
Think: lightly spiced lentil-chickpea-carrot-brown-rice-cashew-curried patties, soft and textured with a lightly browned outside, brushed with olive oil and smothered in fresh, juicy mango and a handful of good ol’ cilantro.
As much as I dislike the word “patties”, there is no denying. That right there is what’s up. L-O-V-E.
A few months ago I got a really heartfelt email from one of my readers. It was one of those times where you read an email from someone and you feel like you know them because they make a joke about themselves on the second line of the email that makes you laugh out loud. It’s like they just reached out and passed you a peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookie you through your speckly, smudged, kid-fingerprinted screen and now you’re best friends and you’re craving more cookies.
This particular email-er so much mentioned that she had a great veggie burger recipe for me. I felt really special and veggie-burger inspired. Then three months passed, and the recipe was still sitting in my inbox, and my screen was still speckled and kid-fingerprinted. I love you kiddos and pleasepleaseplease stop touching my screen. Me? Type A? Nah.
Better late than never, friends. Better.late.than.never.
This is called re-falling in love with veggie burgers. They were even more gorgeous and delicious than I was expecting. Moist and textured and packed with the most nutty, spicy, perfect flavors. And now I have fourteen – as in 14 – that’s one four – of them in my fridge, so that looks like a veggie burger for lunch and dinner for something like, oh, the next SEVEN DAYS. I might get sick of them. Not! I could eat these forever and they would never get boring.
Ways I have been enjoying them:
- Raw. That sounds bad, but I did it, and how do mashed beans taste so good? Wowz.
- On a burger bun, with fresh mango and cilantro and yogurt.
- Smashed up on a tortilla, with fresh mango and basil. *favorite*
- On a focaccia bun, with traditional burger toppings. And by traditional burger toppings, I mean melted cheese and ketchup. It didn’t even go together. I ate it and loved it.
- Wrapped in a pita.
- Crumbled on a salad. Maybe?
- Smashed and dipped with chips.
- Specifically, pita chips.
- Drizzled with plain yogurt.
- Mango chutney.
- Fresh cucumber slices.
- Olive oil.
#5-14 are just dreams that have yet to come true. But I still have a million and one left, so that leaves plenty of time for veggie burger experimenting.
A huge thank you to awesome Amber for inspiring this recipe, and to all of you kind and caring readers who take the time to be my friend via email. I like you guys.
And I like it when we all make veggie burgers.
- 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 (28 ounce) can lentils, rinsed and drained, or 3½ cups cooked lentils
- 1 heaping cup cashews
- 3 large carrots, peeled and shredded
- 2 yellow onions, minced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice
- up to ½ cup vegetable broth
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- Combine the rinsed beans in a large mixing bowl. Begin cooking the rice.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Toast the cashews in the dry pan until golden brown; process in a food processor or blender until fine crumbs form. Add to the mixing bowl.
- Heat the oil in the skillet and add the onion and garlic. Saute for 10 minutes over low heat, until soft and fragrant. Add the carrots and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes until soft, adding more oil if necessary. Add the vegetables to the mixing bowl.
- Mix in the spices with everything already in the mixing bowl. Add the cooked rice and stir to combine.
- Transfer to a food processor or blender and process until a doughy consistency forms. Add a few tablespoons of vegetable broth if needed to keep the mixture moving. I like to keep some texture to the mixture.
- Stir in the panko crumbs and form into patties. See notes for different ways to cook them!
2. Brush with olive oil and fry in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, flipping after a few minutes. These will be really soft but still have a browned, crispy exterior.
3. Bake as directed, and then fry as directed, so you get the firmness from the baking and the golden brown from the frying.
I did all three ways and the bake+fry combo was my favorite!