Alrighty yumsizzlers! Today we’re working on some lentil and mushroom burgers, some oven baked fries, and a little cabbage and carrot slaw. This is a killer vegan meal. Wait, what? Rewind…did I just say vegan meal???
Yup, there ain’t nothing wrong with an amazing veggie based meal and this one doesn’t disappoint. Now, I love me some meat, but there’s something super satisfying about tucking into a proper vegetarian meal. These lentil and mushroom burgers are nice and flavorful, a little spicy, a little meaty, a little lentil-y, but most of all completely delicious.
Moist…Moist Moist MOIST MOIST MOIST
The key to a great veggie burger is managing the amount of moisture. Too much and you end up with a ball of goop, too little and you end up with a burger that falls apart. For this recipe we strike the perfect balance of moisture, so that we end up with a crispy outside, and textured inside. There are two steps in this recipe where I take control of the moisture content. First is while sauteing the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. This step not only builds up an amazing flavor base, but also cooks out a lot of the water in the onions and mushrooms. That’s an amazing double whammy!
The second way we control moisture is in the final mixing by using bread crumbs. Some veggie burger recipes use oats, some use big chunks of bread, some even use chia seeds! My preference is for panko breadcrumbs (not just for these burgers, but for most bread crumb applications). I’ve found that panko breadcrumbs manage moisture better than other kinds of binders, for some magical reason even if you use a little too much or too little, panko breadcrumbs even out a level of ‘goop’ better than the other options.
Usually I would use an egg as an additional binder (check out my black bean burger recipe), but we don’t need it here because lentils are super starchy. The starch from the lentils acts as a glue in the final mixture, we just need to give it a little time to set up and get soaked up by the mixture.
Let’s Get Cooking
The first step is to get the lentils into a pot of salted water. Pop that bad boy on the stove and get it up to a rolling boil, bring it down to a simmer, and cook the lentils for 15-20 minutes until they’re nice and soft. You can use any kind of lentil, but green works the best, some of the other kinds get too mushy, or are too tough. Tasting the lentils as they cook will give you a good idea of the different textures you can get from one kind of grain (always taste as you go, you never know what you’ll learn).
While the lentils are cooking I’m going to chop up some onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Add those all to a pan and get them nice and browned. This is a step where we can get out some of that moisture, and build up a solid flavor foundation…double whammy! Keeping it simple here, just a rough chop (it’s all going into a food processor), a little olive oil, some salt and some pepper (don’t forget the salt, it helps to draw the moisture out of the mushrooms and onions).
Secrets Are Fun!
Once the lentils are cooked and the veggies are browned it’s time to bring it all together with a little secret ingredient. SHHHHHHHHH
Drumroll please and our secret ingredient is…..chipotle in adobo sauce! It’s one of my favorite flavor enhancers, chipotle in adobo has this great smoky flavor that goes SO well with veggie burgers. It definitely adds a bit of spice to the dish, if you don’t like spicy substitute 3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce, or half the chipotle pepper and use 1.5 tbsp of BBQ.
Combine the lentils, mushrooms, onions, and chipotle in the food processor, pulse it until you get the right consistency, still some whole lentils but mostly they’ve been pulverized. Pop the lentil mixture into a bowl, fold in some bread crumbs, a little olive oil, some garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes before forming it into patties.
Cook them over a grill, on the stove top, or bake them. And Boom! Got yourself some Lentil burgers! This is when you can have fun and be creative (well, you should be doing that anyway…), get some toppings on there! Literally anything crunchy would go great with these burgers, simple lettuce, cole slaw, or something else cooked like a fried green tomato or onion rings.
Onto the fries! Honestly, having eaten these fries for two days in a row now, they are better than a LOT of the fried fries I’ve gotten in my life. They are uber crispy, super fluffy, and have that real fry flavor that oven baking usually doesn’t give you. I implore you to make them, they are fantastic…seriously.
These fries are oven baked, but in order to get them super crispy I’m going to par-boil them first. Basically what that means is I’m going to get my sliced potatoes into a large pot and bring it up to a boil, then cook my potatoes until they’re juuuust fork tender, then drain them and get them in a bowl. The par-boiling is going to bring out a lot of the starches in the potatoes and give us the nice fluffy interior. I’m using large baking potatoes for this, they work the best.
Once the potatoes are juuuuust tender we get to do some tossing! In a large bowl I’m going to season the mostly cooked potatoes with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried rosemary, and paprika. Then give that bowl a vigorous tossing. I mean really knock those potatoes around. No worries if some of the potatoes get broken while tossing, when was the last time you got a batch of fries that were all the same size?
For the tossing what you’re looking for is a slushy of potato starch and spices to form on the outside of the fries. That’s going to give them the super crispy outside, without us needing to fry anything. Woo, saved calories!
Bake the fries on a high heat (450 degrees) for 20 minutes, flip them over, bake for another 20-ish minutes and you’ve got yourself some amazing fries. I’m so into these, they’re going to be a summer BBQ staple for sure, screw those bags of frozen fries.
For the slaw, I’m keeping it simple and light and going for a vinegar style dressing. Just slice the cabbage as thinly as possible, grate up the carrot, finely shop some white onion.
Then get the dressing ready, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, mustard, a little honey, salt and pepper, badda bing badda boom. Got yourself some slaw! Toss it all together and let it sit for a bit before serving. This slaw is a really nice refreshing alternative to the heavier mayo based slaws.
And dinner is served! Delicious lentil and mushroom burgers, super crispy baked fries, and an amazing fresh slaw.
Vegan Lentil and Mushroom Burgers
Crispy Oven Baked Fries
Fresh Cabbage and Carrot Slaw