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Ultimate Veggie Burgers Revisited

Back in 2002 when I developed the recipe for Ultimate Veggie Burgers in Vegan Planet, my goal was to make a firm-textured patty that looked more like a burger than a veggie. What I came up with was a combination of cooked lentils, ground walnuts, and (most importantly, for the texture) wheat gluten flour. Judging by the volume of positive e-mails I’ve received about it over the years, I’d say the recipe was a success.

What I like most about the basic recipe is that it can be modified in a number of ways. Sometimes I leave out the ground flaxseed mixture and they turn out fine. Sometimes I add garlic. Other times I saute the onion (rather than leaving it raw). When I don’t have cooked lentils on hand, I just mash up whatever beans are handy, although the resulting burgers are lighter in color, but still delicious. I’ve even left out the walnuts, opting instead for a little more each of the lentils and wheat gluten.

The recipe is very flexible and fun to experiment with. You can also trade in burger rolls for brown gravy and serve them as cutlets. If you’ve somehow missed out on this old standard from Vegan Planet, you might want to given it a try. And if you come up with your own variation, I’d love to hear about it.

Ultimate Veggie Burgers
Serve on burger rolls with all the trimmings or top with brown gravy. (Adapted from Vegan Planet.)

1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup walnut pieces

3/4 cup cooked brown lentils, well drained
1/4 cup grated onion
1/2 cup wheat gluten flour (or more, if needed))
1/2 teaspoon browning sauce (such as Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for frying

1. In a blender combine the flax seeds and soy sauce, blending until viscous. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts to coarsely chop. Add the lentils, onion, wheat gluten flour, browning sauce, flax mixture, and salt and pepper to taste. Process until well combined, but with some texture remaining.
3. Shape the mixture into 4 patties, adding a little more wheat gluten flour if the mixture is too wet. Place the burgers on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the burgers and cook until browned on both sides, turning once, about 4 minutes per side.

Serves 4