Years ago, I followed a recipe for a vegan pâté that used walnuts and sherry vinegar. I remember thinking at the time, “This sherry vinegar better be worth buying, because I don’t know when I’ll ever have an excuse to use it again.” But once I tried it in the vegan pâté recipe, I was a total convert. Whether it’s to flavor salad dressings, stews, soups or marinades, it can really bring out the best in a dish.
This burger came together, because I was thinking about that old vegan pâté recipe. And so, here we are with a flavorful walnut lentil burger that holds up on the grill. You can enjoy these burgers year-round, whether you grill them outside, pan fry them on the stove, or bake them on a lightly greased cookie sheet in the oven. This recipe makes 4 burgers. Once again, I recommend using sherry vinegar, but if you can’t find it, feel free to use balsamic vinegar. It won’t be the same, but it will still be good.
Of course, you can top this burger with whatever you want, but I recommend some greens, grilled sliced mushrooms, miso mayo (2 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise + ¼ tsp white miso) and dijon mustard. If you do nothing else, don’t skip the dijon mustard! It has an awesome synergy with the fresh rosemary, walnuts and sherry vinegar. I hope you enjoy this burger, as much as we did!
Rosemary Walnut Lentil Burgers
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup raw walnuts
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar (see note above)
3 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 cups cooked green lentils
1 cup cooked bulgur
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ cup flat leaf parsley
1 cup julienned carrots
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced OR ½-1 tsp dried rosemary
1 Tbsp flax seed meal
1. In a large skillet, add red onions, olive oil and a dash of salt. Sauté over medium-low heat for ~10 minutes or until the onions start to turn a bit golden. Then, stir in the walnuts and garlic, and sauté another 3-5 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly, to help toast up the walnuts. Then, add the sherry vinegar and soy sauce. Keep stirring until it completely reduces (another 1-2 minutes).
2. In a blender or food processor, add 1 cup cooked green lentils, ½ cup cooked bulgur, the walnut-onion mixture from the skillet, garlic powder and fresh parsley. Pulse until it becomes a nice, mostly smooth, paste. Spoon into a large mixing bowl.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients (the rest of the lentils, rest of the bulgur, carrots, etc) to the large mixing bowl. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to combine. Taste, and adjust seasonings, if necessary (does it need more salt? Little more vinegar?). If the mixture feels too wett, add a bit more flax seed meal (another tsp), and wait about 15 minutes. Test again to see if it’s a little more firm.
4. For this recipe, I made 4 burgers out of the mixture, and thus, the time below are for making 4 burgers. If you make more than 4 burgers, the burgers will take less time to cook on each side. In addition, everyone has a different version of how “charred” they like their burger. Adjust accordingly for size and desired level of “char”. TO GRILL: Line a gas grill with a large piece of non-stick aluminum foil. Shape 4 burgers out of the burger mixture, and brush with olive oil. I used a gas grill at 450º F, and grilled for 4 minutes on each side. TO PAN FRY:Add 1-2 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet, and warm over medium heat. Shape 4 burgers out of the burger mixture. Fry over medium-low heat and allow to cook for ~4 minutes on each side. TO BAKE:Preheat the oven to 450º F. Line a large cookie sheet with non-stick aluminum foil. Shape 4 burgers out of the burger mix, and brush them with olive oil. Place the burgers on the non-stick aluminum foil. When the oven reaches 450º F, bake for 4 minutes, then remove the cookie sheet, flip each burger, and . return it to the oven. Bake for another 4 minutes.
5. Top with your favorite toppings and serve :)