I had a craving for a burger burger. Not a beet burger, or a falafel burger, or a black bean burger, or a curried eggplant burger–just a plain old burger that I could put on a bun with ketchup and pickles and not have the flavors clash or my daughter give me that look that says, “Okay, what does this one taste like.” The kind that tastes like a burger. A veggie burger, that is. So if you’ve also been craving a regular–but delicious–burger that contains no soy or nuts or gluten and that you can make with ingredients that you can pronounce (and that you probably have in your kitchen right this minute), you’ve come to the right place.
I love these burgers’ lightly herbal flavor all on its own, but I couldn’t resist serving them with a little chipotle mayo just for a bit of kick. Chipotle mayo is the easiest thing in the world to make if you have my tofu-cashew mayo on hand and a can of chipotles or some frozen chipotle cubes. Whenever I open a can of chipotles in adobo sauce, I puree whatever I don’t use in the blender and then freeze it in an ice cube tray; then I pop the cubes out into a freezer bag to keep frozen until I need them. To make chipotle mayo, I defrost one cube (two tablespoons pureed chipotles) and add mayo to taste–in my case, I used about 1/2 cup of mayo for a pretty spicy sauce.
I served the burgers on buns with all the usual accompaniments along with steamed broccoli and some oven fries. (I followed this hash brown recipe but cut Yukon gold potatoes into fry shapes and baked them for about 30 minutes). Leftovers were great for lunch the next day served bun-less atop lettuce and tomato with a little of the chipotle mayo, and if you can’t eat 6 of them within a week, they should freeze well. If you’re wondering how kid-friendly they are, I can tell you that my daughter liked them more than frozen burgers from the grocery store, which, for a teenager, is high praise indeed.
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 1 medium onion
- 6 ounces mushrooms, washed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 cups cooked lentils (green or brown), well drained
- 1/3 cup old fashioned oats (certified gluten-free, if necessary)
- 2 tablespoons potato starch or cornstarch (see note below)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or wheat-free tamari (omit for soy-free)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- Generous grating black pepper
- Mix the chia seeds and warm water in a small bowl and set aside. Chop the onion finely. Place the mushrooms into the food processor and pulse until they are finely minced. Mince the garlic.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to brown, adding a splash of water if they begin to stick. Stir in the mushrooms and garlic and another splash of water. Cover and cook until the mushrooms soften (about 2-3 minutes), stirring often.
- When the mushrooms have softened, transfer them to the food processor and add the lentils. Pulse until the lentils are just combined with the mushrooms. Add the chia seed mixture and all remaining ingredients and pulse to combine well. It’s okay if a few lentils remain whole, but the mixture should be more sticky than crumbly. If it seems too wet, add a little more oats.
- Scrape the mixture into a bowl and set aside for about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or with parchment paper.
- Shape the burger mixture into 6 patties, each about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick. Place them on the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes. Since ovens can vary, check them after 25 minutes to make sure they are firm in the middle but not burning and give extra time if necessary.
- Use a spatula to remove the burgers from the baking sheet. Serve at once or refrigerate for later use.