There are days when even a meat-loving fool like myself needs something a little more packed with veggies and a little less meaty. I could never be a vegetarian – things like this, this and this are just too delicious to pass up! – but I don’t eat meat every day. Red meat, in particular, is a very rare treat in my house (I’ve been known to have very intense cravings for steak every once-in-a-while).
I’ve started a new habit when I go out to restaurants: I’ll order a veggie burger but ask for some bacon on it. I know, I know, I’m guaranteed a questionable look from my waiter, but sometimes I crave the substance of a burger but don’t want all that ground beef. Add a little bacon on top and you get the best of both worlds.
These veggie burgers are loaded with lentils, mushrooms, onions, walnuts, herbs and spices to make them extra flavourful. And, I’ll admit, I’ve even tried making them with chopped up bacon in the patty! Kind of like a faux veggie burger. Whether you opt for the full-veggie or faux-veggie version, they’re a really tasty burger to bite into, especially when topped with some melty havarti cheese, roasted red pepper guacamole and alfalfa sprouts.
Wait… alfalfa sprouts? Yes! I bought them on a whim, more out of curiosity than anything. I mean, I had a rabbit growing up and it ate tons of alfalfa, so why was it sitting in my grocery store? Turns out they’re pretty good! They give a nice crunch and freshness to the burger, kind of like lettuce. You could even use bean sprouts!
I also need to give a shout-out to this pretty special guacamole. As if regular guac wasn’t good enough, I tossed in some roasted red peppers, cilantro and Sriracha sauce for an added kick. Definitely a keeper! I chose a jalapeno havarti, which I highly recommend, but regular havarti will also do.
These burgers don’t have quite the same texture as a regular burger, but if you cook them for long enough they’ll get a crispier exterior. The walnuts add some much-needed crunch, and if you’re up for it, so does some crispy bacon!
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 3 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can lentils (540 ml), rinsed and drained
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 8 slices Jalapeno Havarti cheese
- 1 avocado
- ¼ cup roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Sriracha sauce, to taste
- Alfalfa sprouts (optional)
- 4 burger buns
- In a large, dry skillet, toast walnuts for about 5 minutes until fragrant; set aside.
- Add oil, mushrooms and onions to skillet and saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another few minutes.
- In a food processor (or blender), pulse mushroom mixture, lentils, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper until well blended. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and mix in cilantro and bread crumbs.
- Shape mixture into 4 patties and cook them in a large skillet about 10 minutes per side or until crispy. Add 2 slices of cheese to each patty for the last couple minutes of cooking for melty cheese.
- Meanwhile, make guacamole. Mash together the avocado, roasted red peppers, cilantro, salt, pepper and sriracha sauce.
- Serve burgers on buns with guac and sprouts, if desired.