Meatless Monday: The Ultimate Veggie Burger

 

Before I jump into the recipe, I was pondering Meatless Monday.  Why is it important? Well, we all have families, loved ones, and people who we care for deeply.  They are the reason for Meatless Monday.  

The goal of Meatless Monday is to encourage healthy eating through vegetables and whole grains, so that we can take care of our bodies, and in turn, hopefully live longer and healthier for the ones we love.  I am encouraged by the fact that my two-year old loves Tofu and Edamame.  I count that as a major success!

I have two reasons for making Meatless Mondays a priority.  Here they are:

My babies!  Now, if they’d only stop growing up, that would be wonderful.

So, Meatless Monday…do it for yourself and  your family.  Your body will thank you.

I have tried to make many a veggie burger.  They are usually mushy and bland.  This one was neither.  The use of cashews and mushrooms gives it a meaty flavor without trying to replicate a real hamburger.  Give yourself about an hour for prep, but it is an hour you won’t regret.  Plus, you can freeze the ones you don’t use!  See notes at the end of recipe.

The Ultimate Veggie Burger

From Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:
3/4 cup dried brown lentils
3/4 cup bulgur
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp table salt
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup leek or scallion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. cremini or white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup unsalted cashews
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used light sour cream)
2 cups panko

Instructions: 
Bring lentils to boil in 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, until falling apart. Drain in a mesh strainer, dry and set aside. While lentils are cooking, boil 2 cups of water for bulgur, add bulgur and turn off heat. Let it cook until water is absorbed. Put bulgur aside. In a large pan, heat oil. Add onions, celery, garlic and leek or scallion, and cook for about 8 minutes. Set aside, then add mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. In a food processor, process cashews until fine. Combine cashews, lentils, and bulgur with cooled vegetables and cashews. Add mayonnaise. Food process (pulse) in batches until mixture is cohesive but roughly textured. Stir in panko, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into 12 patties. Cook on the grill or in a pan, about 5 minutes per side. 

**These freeze really well.  You can make them completely, but don’t cook.  If you’re going to freeze, add 1/2 tsp of panko bread crumbs for each patty you are planning on freezing.

 

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