Mother Nature has been so fickle lately, flitting between gray, dreary, and frigid one day to 63* and sunny the next. She's a tease, I tell you, and I am ready for her to make up her mind. I've spent the last two months hoping for a big, big snowstorm, eager for a Winter as entertaining as last. But now that we're into February with no more than a few inches on record, I'm over it. Spring can dig in her heels and stay permanently, as long as she brings sunshine, warmth, and backyard barbecues with her. There are only so many casseroles and stews and butternut squash one can take in one season!
Last weekend I grew tired of waiting and took matters into my own hands when I made our weekly menu. I've had veggie burgers on the brain for over a year since discovering my favorite veggie patty, ever, at Boylan Heights here in Charlottesville. I am not a vegetarian, but I do eat a mostly vegetarian diet and am a fan of beef only on the rarest of occasions. What I love about that Boylan Heights veggie patty, and now this veggie patty, is that it doesn't try to imitate the taste or texture of meat. Instead, the actual ingredients of the patty are allowed to shine - in this case mushrooms, lentils, and Kalamata olives. Yum.
For an extra-summery feeling, try serving the patties on english muffins adorned with lettuce, red bell pepper, alfalfa sprouts, sliced cucumber, and tzatziki. I promise you'll feel better about the state of the weather, at least for the evening. Also, if you read through the comments on the Post Punk Kitchen post linked in the recipe below, you'll find many variations and substitutions for the ingredients in this burger. Just in case mushrooms or olives aren't your thing.
This is not similar in taste or texture to the Boylan Heights veggie patty, and that is not what I was going for. If you're interested in the BH recipe, you can find it here. I'll make it eventually, but it seems a bit complicated/time consuming and at this point I am happy to just visit the restaurant and let the chefs there make it for me. Plus, their sweet potato fries are the best around.
Lentil, Olive, + Mushroom Veggie Burgers
from post punk kitchen
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced medium (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- fresh black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1-1/4 cups lentils (I used dried lentils cooked in veggie broth, but the original recipe calls for canned)
- 1 cup breadcrumbs, divided (I used panko)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350*F.
- Heat a large, non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for about 3 minutes with a pinch of salt. Add mushrooms, garlic, black pepper, thyme, and parsley and saute for 7 to 10 minutes, until mushroom is cooked.
- While mushroom mixture cooks, place the olives in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Remove from food processor and set aside.
- When mushroom mixture is cooked, add to the food processor. Add all of the other ingredients EXCEPT 1/2 a cup of the breadcrumbs. Pulse until mostly smooth, but there should still be some texture. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs to the burger mixture, along with the chopped olives, and thoroughly combine.
- Divide the burger mix into 6 equal pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Form mixture into patties, spray with a little more cooking spray and bake for 15 minutes. Flip burgers and bake for 12 to 15 more minutes, until nicely browned. (I also pan-fried these instead of baking them, which was tasty too).