Mushroom Lentil Burger is a dense, meaty, flavorful vegetarian/ vegan burger made with real food ingredients.
Most carnivores will shudder at the thought of a veggie burger. Potato patties or Aloo Tikkis in another form are all the rage in India, or have been. Brands like McCain or Yummiez are trying to bring a frozen food revolution in a new market, and burger and sandwich shops are slathering spicy versions of fake mayo or ‘vegetarian mayo’ on pieces of bread.
Indians have a curious liking for soggy and saucy things. Just two days ago, I was sipping coffee at a snack stand. One customer bought a Veg sandwich – that soggy thing with hot green chutney and tomatoes and cucumber on it. The sandwich guy squirted a flood of runny ketchup all over two pieces of the sandwich. A few minutes later, the customer was back with half the sandwich still on the plate, asking for more ketchup. What is this fascination for chutneys and ketchups and sauces? The gooey white ‘vegetarian mayo’ is the new kid on the block and eating anything slathered with it is ‘in’. Go figure!
If you are a vegetarian in India, you might look upon that gooey white thing called ‘mayo’ as an integral part of the burger. But to me, the patty is what makes or breaks the burger. And of course, there are many more condiments than the white stuff which is not real.
Yes, I hate mayo, especially the fake synthetic version called vegetarian mayonnaise. I may actually enjoy a good fresh made aioli in a bind. But I’m more like Bruce Willis or Mathew Perry in The Whole Nine Yards – I firmly believe ketchup and mustard are what make a burger!
I think I am getting off track here. The real star of this post is this meaty, hearty, wholesome meatless patty made with real food. So this burger patty is dairy free and soy free too. I think it can be gluten free too depending on the oats you use. You can add on as many condiments as you want.
I tacked on some cheese making this nonvegan, but you can choose any dairy free cheese brand, or just omit the cheese altogether. Another surprising aspect was that I did not add any oil to the pan this time, nor did I use any spray. I did add oil to the patty mix, extra virgin olive oil, which gave it a nice flavor.
Oats have become my favorite binder or breading ingredient. They are so healthy and fiber rich, and they puff up and absorb all the moisture. They also give robust texture to the patty.
I scored a bottle of Mrs. Dash earlier this year from the US, thanks to the mater who walked up and down unfamiliar grocery store aisles to get it for me. I was waiting for a special enough recipe to use it, because I have to make it last for a long, long time.
Burgers are notoriously hard to photograph. These photos are taken very casually and at night, so they’re not that great. But I love this recipe so much that I just had to share it with you. I have made mushroom burgers before using tofu or TVP, but am using lentils the first time.
The lentils have to be under cooked – they should be whole but break down when you press them between your fingers. Toasted walnuts add depth of flavor and some fat which helps in binding it all together. These mushroom lentil burgers have very few ingredients – lentils, walnuts, mushrooms, Mrs. Dash, black pepper and hot sauce, oil. The hot sauce is actually optional, so is the pepper.
Here is the recipe for my Mushroom Lentil burgers – the patty itself is vegan, and you can keep the burger vegan too based on the condiments you use.
Mushroom Lentil Burgers Recipe
- ½ cup dry red masoor lentils
- ¼ cups walnuts
- 3 cups mushrooms chopped
- 1 cup 3 minute oats
- 2 Tbsp Mrs. Dash Original
- ½ tsp fresh black pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1-2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
- 3-4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Burger buns
- Cheese slices
- Wash and rinse the masoor lentils and cover them with water. Keep about an inch of water above them in the pot. Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes and switch off heat. They should be Al Dente by the time they cool down.
- Chop mushrooms and sauté them in 1 tsp oil until they release their juices. Switch off heat. Don’t throw away this ‘stock’ because it has max flavor.
- Roast the walnuts and cool them.
- Add drained lentils, mushrooms and walnuts to a food processor and mince. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl.
- Add Mrs. Dash seasoning, black pepper, hot sauce and mix lightly with a spatula.
- Now add in the oats and mix well. Add salt but don’t overwork after adding the salt.
- Set aside for15-20 minutes. The oats will puff up in this time and absorb the moisture.
- Now add the oil on top of the patty mince and mix lightly again. The mix will be moist but will hold together.
- Form patties with your hand and grill them in a nonstick pan. I did not add any oil to the pan and that still worked well.
- The oats add a lot of body to the patty and also allow the surface to crisp up.
- Serve the patty in the burger, and dress burger according to choice.
The cheese is almost unnecessary here. The Mrs. Dash seasoning adds so much herby flavor! I add onions, tomatoes, pickle, lettuce, ketchup, mustard and some creamy dressing to my burger.
And low carbers, you can crumble these patties and add them on top of your salad or eat them with veggies. The taste, texture and look of these is just like a cheeseburger. So make this burger, dig into it and sing my praises :).
Let me know how it goes!