Tasty Meatless Burgers are packed with healthy veggies and are way better than store-bought. In fact, they’re the best meatless burgers that we’ve ever tried. Unlike other meatless burgers that attempt to mimic real meat, these amazing burgers highlight just how delicious vegetables can be.
I used an America’s Test Kitchen recipe as the inspiration for these burgers.
I’d like to say that making the mixture for these patties was quick and easy. Well, actually, making the mixture was pretty easy, but was not at all quick.
However, the time spent making these meatless burgers was well worth it.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Table of Contents
A lot of veggie burger recipes use some sort of beans as the main ingredient. In addition, the store-bought varieties tend to be a chemistry set in terms of the ingredients.
These burgers, however, do neither. Rather, they include an assortment of different vegetables complimented by a handful of other ingredients.
- The Vegetables: The vegetables included lentils, cremini mushrooms, onions, leeks, celery and garlic.
- The Nuts: It’s not unusual that veggie burgers contain some type of nut for added protein. These burgers are no exception. The nut of choice was raw, unsalted cashews.
- The Fillers: I used two different fillers in these burgers: Bulgur and Panko breadcrumbs.
- The Binder: Often eggs are used to bind the ingredients together. For these burgers, I used mayonnaise. It worked like a charm.
- The Rest of the Ingredients: Bringing up the rear are Kosher salt and black pepper for the seasonings, and vegetable oil for cooking the veggies and the burgers.
Steps in Preparing Various Ingredients for Meatless Burgers
Step 1: The Lentils
Remember that I said that making the mixture for these burgers was not quick? The reason was that there were different steps in preparing the ingredients.
I used dried lentils in this recipe. To make the lentils usable, they needed to be cooked.
Therefore, I cooked the lentils in salted water until they were tender. This took about 25 minutes.
Then, I drained the lentils in a wire-mesh strainer and transferred them to a paper towel lined baking sheet to dry out.
It was important to remove as much of the liquid from the cooked lentils as possible. The reason was to avoid a mushy burger. Therefore, once I had transferred the lentils to the lined baking sheet, I took more paper towels to blot as much of the liquid as possible.
Step 2: The Bulgur
While the lentils were cooking, I turned my attention to the bulgur.
Before the bulgur could be usable, it needed to be softened. To do this, I microwaved some water until it was boiling. Then, I added some salt and the bulgur wheat.
After giving the bulgur a stir, I covered the dish and let it sit for about 20 minutes until the water was absorbed. Then, I drained the bulgur in a wire-mesh strainer.
I used the back of a large spoon to press as much of the water as possible out of the bulgur.
Step 3: The Onions, Leeks, Celery and Garlic
Next, I heated some vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil was hot, I added the onions, leeks, celery and garlic.
I cooked the vegetables, until they started to turn slightly brown. This took about 10 minutes.
Once the vegetables were cooked, I transferred them to a rimmed baking sheet to allow them to cool.
Step 4: The Mushrooms
For the mushrooms, I added some more vegetable oil to the skillet used for the veggies over medium-high heat. Once the oil was hot, I added the sliced cremini mushrooms. I cooked them, stirring occasionally until all of the liquid had evaporated. This took about 12 minutes.
When the mushrooms were cooked, I added them to the rimmed baking sheet with the veggies.
Making the Meatless Burger Mixture
At this point, the lentils were cooked and well drained. Also, the bulgur was softened and well drained. In addition, all of the veggies were cooked and cooled.
Now was the time to actually make the meatless burger mixture.
First, I added the lentils, bulgur wheat, cooked veggies and mushrooms to a large bowl. Then, I added the cashews that I had finely chopped in my food processor along with the mayonnaise.
Next, I stirred everything together.
There was a lot of the mixture. Therefore, I transferred half of it to my food processor that I used to chop the cashews.
I pulse processed the mixture until it was coarsely chopped. This took about 15 pulses. I transferred this to a large bowl and processed the remaining mixture.
After transferring the remaining processed mixture to the bowl, I added the Panko breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
I stirred the mixture together until everything was well blended. At the end, I actually used my hands for the final blending.
Forming the Meatless Burger Patties
Before forming the patties, I weighed the mixture. This is something that I routinely do to ensure that each of the patties was the same size. I know that I’m a total nerd here!
I knew that I wanted to make 12 patties. It turned out that each one was roughly 4.4 ounces.
I shaped each portion into a tightly packed ball and flattened it on a piece of parchment.
One of the beauties of this recipe is that the formed patties can be frozen until ready to use.
Since it’s just the two of us, I kept two of the patties out and froze the rest.
I heated some vegetable oil over medium heat in a large skillet. When the oil was hot, I added the patties. I cooked the patties until they were golden brown on each side. This took about 7 minutes per side.
I served the Tasty Meatless Burgers on buns with lettuce, tomato and onion. I added some French fries on the side. The burgers were amazing! In fact, the Master Taste Tester was so impressed that he’s had them for four nights in a row!
The Tasty Meatless Burgers are equally amazing served like Salisbury steak with mushroom or onion gravy. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
The mixture for the burgers uses regular mayonnaise as a binding agent. Although the mayonnaise is dairy-free, it is not vegan. You could, however use vegan mayonnaise in this recipe. I am not a vegan, so would hesitate to say that the burgers would be vegan even with the vegan mayonnaise substitute.
As I understand it, there are different categories of vegetarians. If the vegetarian eats eggs, then this recipe would be vegetarian.
You can use canned lentils in this recipe in place of dry lentils. However, you will need to drain and thoroughly rinse the lentils before placing them on paper towels to further dry out.
You can substitute regular breadcrumbs for the Panko breadcrumbs in a 1 to 2 ratio. Specifically, the recipe calls for 2 cups of Panko, so you could use 1 cup of regular breadcrumbs.
These burgers freeze well. In fact, I regularly freeze the burgers and cook the burgers without thawing them.
Feel free to substitute portobella or white mushrooms for the cremini mushrooms. You can also use a mixture of different mushrooms. If using the white mushrooms, however, the taste won’t be quite as rich.
For another delicious meatless burger, try my Portobella Mushroom Burgers.
Tasty Meatless Burgers
- ¾ cup dried brown lentils, rinsed well and picked over (See Tip 1)
- 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt, divided
- ¾ cup medium-grind bulgur
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 cups finely chopped onions (1 large onion or 2 small onions)
- ½ cup finely chopped celery (1 large rib)
- ½ cup finely chopped leeks, (white and light green parts only)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ¼ pounds cremini mushrooms, sliced (See Tip 2)
- 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup (2.67-ounces) mayonnaise
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs (See Tip 3)
- Add lentils and 1 teaspoon of salt to 3 cups of boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain cooked lentils in a wire-mesh strainer. Spread drained lentils on a triple paper towel lined large-rimmed baking sheet. Blot lentils with additional paper towels to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Set aside to cool.
- Add 2 cups of water to a microwave-safe container like a large measuring cup. Heat the water to boiling in the microwave. Remove from microwave. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and the bulger; stir to combine. Cover and let stand until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Drain in wire-mesh strainer, pressing excess liquid out with the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, leeks and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Spread vegetable mixture on a large-rimmed baking sheet to cool.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in the same skillet used to cook the onion mixture. Add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms brown and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 to 12 minutes. Spread cooked mushrooms on baking sheet with onion mixture. Cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
- Pulse process cashews in food processor fitted with a steel blade until finely chopped, about 15 pulses.
- Transfer lentils, bulgur, onion mixture, and mushrooms to a large bowl. Add mayonnaise and finely chopped cashews. Stir until combined.
- Transfer half of burger mixture to food processor fitted with steel blade. Pulse process until coarsely chopped, about 15 pulses. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining burger mixture; combine with the first batch.
- Add Panko breadcrumbs, remaining 1 ½ teaspoons of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Correct seasonings. (See Tip 4)
- Divide mixture into 12 equal portions, about 4.4 to 4.5 ounces each. shape into patties that are roughly 4-inches in diameter and ½-inch thick. May be covered and refrigerated for several days or frozen at this point.
- Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 to 4 burgers. Cook until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, about 7 minutes.
- Serve as desired.
- Yield: 12 Tasty Meatless Burgers.
Chula’s Expert Tips
- May use 15-ounce can of lentils in place of the dried lentils. Drain and rinse the lentils well. Spread on paper towels as described above.
- May use white mushrooms or portobello mushrooms in place of the cremini mushrooms. May also use a mixture of mushrooms.
- Can substitute 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs for the 2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs.
- When making the burgers, it’s important to remove as much of the moisture as possible from the lentils and bulgur. If the mixture seems too mushy, add more breadcrumbs until it easily forms a cohesive ball.
- To use a 24 ounce package of mushrooms from places like Same or BJ – makes 16 Meatless Burgers.
1 cup of brown lentils with 1 ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt in 4 cups of water
1 ½ Tablespoon Kosher salt, divided
1 cup Bulgur with ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt in 3 cups of water
3 cups chopped onions
¾ cup chopped celery
¾ cups finely chopped leeks, white and light green part only
3 cloves garlic
24 ounces cremini mushrooms
1 ½ cups cashews
½ cup mayonnaise
3 cups Panko breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon black pepper