Wild Mushroom Lentil Burgers with Cashew Garlic Sauce

Who knows what got into me today, but holy moly, I woke up and wanted a burger. And not a dry, wimpy, boring burger either. Something with guts. Something I could sink my teeth into.

Veggie burgers typically give meat-eaters grounds to criticize vegetarian cooking because, well, they suck. Rare is the day when I come across a flavorful, non-sawdusty patty with creative toppings and bread that is not an afterthought. It’s also tricky to find one that is made with high-quality ingredients, and is also vegan-friendly and gluten-free. Let’s just say that is all about to change.

The inspiration for this meal, as usual, came from nature. There are mushrooms littering the forest floor, and woody herbs are the last green survivors of the first frost. The temperature in Copenhagen is steadily dropping, the trees are almost bare, and boy is it getting dim. I looked out the window at 4:30 to definite twilight. This burger was going to be a dark one.

I thought about all the foods I am loving at the moment: mushrooms, olives, black lentils, rosemary–anything with a deep flavor and dark spirit. Combining these from a taste perspective didn’t worry me, but texturally I wasn’t so sure. It’s difficult for a veggie burger to nail juiciness without dampness, to be light enough without it crumbling into pieces. Well, the gods were smiling on me today, as I nailed it on the first try.

Because I am all about balance, I wanted a light-colored, and rich and creamy condiment to bless the top of this beast. Mayo is the obvious choice, and if you eat eggs, go for it. I wanted to keep things vegan, so I looked to cashews. It’s important to soak the cashews for optimal digestion, and also to make them soft enough to blend into a sauce. You can do this the day before.

I crowned the burger with quick-pickled onions. This is not one hundred percent necessary of course, but it tastes awesome; I highly recommend.

Wild Mushroom, Lentil and Olive Burgers with Cashew Garlic Sauce
Makes 6-8 patties

Ingredients:
1 cup beluga lentils
Knob of ghee or coconut oil
1 red onion, sliced
Couple pinches sea salt
2 cups / 175g mixed wild mushrooms, sliced (shiitake, oyster, chanterelle…)
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons tamari
½ cup / 80g sunflower seeds
15 kalamata olives
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
1. Wash and drain lentils. In a medium saucepan, cover with 2 cups water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce to simmer and cook until tender (about 20-25 minutes). Remove lid off to cool and set aside. Drain if there is any water left.

2. In a frying pan heat a knob of ghee or coconut oil. Add sliced onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about five minutes, then add garlic, rosemary and thyme. Cook for a few minutes, then add sliced mushrooms. Allow the mushrooms to cook without stirring for a few minutes so that they brown on one side. After five minutes, stir mushrooms and add tamari, stir to coat. When mushrooms are cooked, remove from heat and set aside.

3. In a food processor grind sunflower seeds until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add cooked lentils, mushroom mixture, mustard, olive oil, and plenty of cracked black pepper. Pulse to blend. You may need to help this process by stirring once in a while. Avoid adding too much liquid – the mixture should be really thick. Season to taste.

4. Pit and roughly chop olives. Add to the food processor and stir to combine (you want them to remain in fairly large chunks).

5. Form 6-8 balls with the mixture, slightly smaller than a baseball. Press to flatten into patties, but keep them thick. Press around the outside edge to prevent them from cracking.

6. You can warm the burgers two ways. Remember that they are already fully cooked, so all you need to do is heat them up.

Frying pan: heat a knob of ghee or coconut oil and cook the burger on one side until golden, 4-6 minutes, then flip and cook on opposite side. Serve.

Oven: Cook burgers in a 375°F/ 190°C oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through bake time.

7. Serve burgers open-faced on a slice of whole grain sourdough toast, or in a high-vibe pita. Garnish with anything you like! I used Cashew Garlic Sauce, pickled onions (recipe here), and a pile of greens.

Cashew Garlic Sauce:
½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
Scant ½ cup water
1 small clove garlic (start with just ½)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chives
½ teaspoon sea salt
Squirt honey or maple syrup

Directions:
1. Soak cashews for at least 4 hours, up to 12. Drain and rinse well.
2. Add cashews to a food processor or blender, which ever is the most powerful. Add ½ clove garlic, all other ingredients and ¼ cup of water. Blend on high and add the remaining water in increments until the desired consistency is reached – not too thick, not too runny. Season to taste and add the other half clove of garlic if desired.

Other toppings:
Spinach
Arugula
Massaged kale
Pickled onions (recipe here)
Avocado
Dijon mustard

*   *   *   *   *   *

The video from the last event has just been released! This one is from MADE space in Berlin and it was amazing! Check it out…

MADE Presents: New Appetite from MADE on Vimeo.

85 comments

  1. jessica

    I’ve made these a few times now because the flavor is delicious! But they are consistently too wet to hold together on their own without the addition of some grains of some sort. Do you have any suggestions for what I might be doing wrong?
    Thanks!

  2. Eileen Carpio

    As I was making these burgers I thought this is going to be great, especially because of the olives. Then when I took my first bite it took a lot of control not to get up and grab my phone to post a comment, (as there is a strict no phone at the table rule in our home). So, calmly, and later, I can now tell you these are going to be at my table A LOT this winter! Yuuuuuuummmmmyyyyyy! Thanks so much 🙂 And thanks from my family. Sadly there are no left overs 🙁

  3. Diana

    When you say “knob of ghee” what/how much of ghee is that? I’ve seen it a few times in your recipes thanks in advance all your food looks amazing

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  5. Manuela

    Hi Sarah! I just made cashew sauce and I’m in love! I added a little extra garlic and served it with baked sweet potato fries. A match made in heaven!

    I’ve never made sauces with soaked raw nuts before and I’m amazed by how creamy it tastes. No more need for mayo 🙂

    Thank you so much for all you do. You’re an inspiration!
    With love,
    Manuela

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  11. Danika

    I used this recipe as a base and subbed in what I have available in he fridge. So far I’ve made it 3 times, first was mushroom and carrot with thyme, second was mushroom, sweet potato, carrot, and basil, and third was carrot, dill and basil. Each time they tasted great! I make mine as mini patties as they do fall apart easily. I’ve eaten them as burgers, in wraps, and with a side of rice.
    Thanks so much for the recipe!

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  13. Story

    I can’t stop eating your life-changing bread and tomato-sunflower seed pate, and now am forced by virtue of your intrinsic awesomeness to try this recipe. However, knowing that I will love these burgers before even tasting them, I plan to make a double recipe and freeze the uncooked patties. Would this work? Or should I cook them first and reheat?

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  15. Angela

    Made this with a few alterations (due to lack of ingredients): capers instead of olives, tahini instead of sunflowers, and some oats. So good, even when I got distracted, left my pot of lentils on boil instead of simmer, and they tasted a wee bit scorched! The end product was not at all burnt tasting in spite of my mishaps 🙂

    • Jenna

      Hi Angela,
      What amount of capers did you use instead of olives (if you can remember I know its been a long time!). Thanks so much!
      Jenna

  16. Kellie

    Hi,
    I’m a recent convert to your blog and am looking forward to your recipe book… Just a quick general question – about soaking/sprouting grains/nuts/lentils etc – I notice you don’t add it to your recipes (well the one above anyway), I haven’t read your whole site and you may have covered this elsewhere, why is this? Do you think it is necessary?
    Thanks for your time,
    kellie

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  19. Virginie

    Made this last night Sarah (not the whole meal, just the patties). As per usual, DELICIOUS. I can’t wait for your book to come out!

  20. Shreya

    Hi Sarah! Just had these delicious veggie burgers… I think you may rename them to ‘Best Veggie Burgers Ever’ 🙂 and the Cashew Garlic Sauce was so yummy!!!
    Thanks once again for such a wonderful recipe 😀

  21. Ariadne B

    Oh oh oh! This is beyond amazing.. I wanted to make the cashew cream but just couldn’t resist them hot off the pan. Thanks for sharing!

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  23. Denise

    These are DELICIOUS. But, I will say…I had a little trouble keeping them together. Soooo…I put the rest of the mix in a loaf pan and I am making it into a faux meatloaf. Still waiting to take it out of the oven. I think my mistake with the burgers was…I didn’t read the instructions carefully (shuffling feet in shame…) and I smashed them into pretty thin patties…instead of keeping them thick. I also added oatmeal and some chia seed in the hopes they would stay together better. On to the cheesecake!

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  27. Vi

    Sarah, I’ve just discovered your website, and I find it fantastic. I’m sure I’ll become a frequent visitor.
    This cashew sauce of yours, it’s exactly what I have been needing. I was having troubles figuring out a way to replace cream cheese to create vegan salad dressings and sauces such as this. I tried a few things, but they didn’t quite worked. So, thank you very much.
    How long do you think it will last in the fridge? I know it would be great to do it when needed, but it would be very helpful to have around, ready to use.
    Best wishes from Argentina.
    Vi.

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  29. Kayla

    I recently stumbled upon MNR and I absolutely adore your approach to food, Sarah. Perfect balance of health and enjoyment. Love love love. These burgers are delicious – definitely a new go-to recipe for me. 🙂 Yum.

    A few commenters mentioned they had trouble with texture: I found mine held together beautifully by simply soaking the lentils for about 3 hours instead of cooking them. I used red lentils (not sure if that played a part, but it’s worth mentioning) and omitted the olive oil because the mixture was already quite moist. The rest of the recipe was the same. Hope that helps!

  30. Renae

    I made these tonight, with high hopes. The texture is seriously lacking and I followed the recipe to the letter. Would the addition of some quinoa or other grain help give these some “bite”? I like the flavor very much. The biggest surprise was the Cashew sauce, wow! Amazing stuff. I can’t believe there isn’t any dairy in it!!

  31. Laura

    Made three of you’re recipes tonight (this, life changing bread, beet & kale salad) what a wondrous dinner and treat for my family as I introduce them to your recipes. This burger was out-of-this-world delicious.

    Thanks Sarah!

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  33. Lana

    I made these for an office holiday potluck (for sceptical meat-eaters, I might add) and was worried about them holding together. so, I added 1/2 cup of homemade bread crumbs (not processed until they were crumbs, but until they were small chunks) and added an egg. I also baked and pan fried. I’m also curious if a flax or chia seed “egg” would work to make vegan!
    They held together really well and everyone really enjoyed them!!

  34. Rebecca

    I prepared this recipe but it came out so mushy. I was so excited to make it! But even after I tried pan frying in coconut oil it was more like a spread than a mix to make patties out of. Any suggestions as to what to do differently?? Thanks!

  35. Chloe

    These were delicious! I didn’t have any more exciting mushrooms on hand, but they were very tasty with plain old creminis. Excellent flavour!

    Thanks for another great recipe!

  36. Mack

    It’s really an “oh. my. goodness” kind of meal! 😉 I can see that there’s so much “goodness” in its contents. Mushroom is one good source of nutrients. It contains fiber that is good for an individual’s digestive system. It also has vitamin D, which promotes healthy teeth and bones.

    Mack Shepperson

  37. Anonymous

    The verdict is in……This burger is GREAT!! I prepared it without the bun on a bed of mixed greens for my 25th wedding anniversary. My husband loved the meal! thankfully he is always willing to try new things. This is a keeper!!

  38. Anonymous

    Because of their use of clone host fakes the gods have created a blameless society where nobody takes responsibility for the destruction which has occurred.
    The BODs, CEOs and wealthy are fakes fresh out of high school, the gods no longer push anyone into it and instead used temptation, and the result is devistation the gods won’t “make up” to the disfavored anymore.

    The antients used Christinaity to initiate the “Beginnning of The End”. Along the way they used it to initiate other tools which they will use to further mankind into decay and towards the Apoocalypse:::USA, “democracy”, capitalism/corporations.
    Of the tools they have used, religious, political, economic, social is by far the most damaging and seems reserved for those who have experienced each tactic:::
    The god’s social tool promoted moral decay, whether sexual, behavioral, professional, etc. It created an enviornment where indecency is the norm.

    The dogs are dead.
    And they’re still incurring evil from their prior life(ves).
    Junior Seau is a good example::The real, a 20-something in her next life, making progress, so the gods allow her clone host fake to committ suicide, allowing her off the hook incurring evil in her prior life. AND close the restaurant, her legacy in capitalism.
    Al Davis should be so lucky.
    The antient’s leaders, politicians, celebrities, corporate executives, scientists/professionals are clone host fakes, fresh out of high school who woudln’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. Without the gods doing their jobs THROUGH THEM they’d only be good for playing with themselves.

    There was a very real perception that bi-racial was much worse for the white than it was for the person of color. The liberal culture, which was designed and promoted with the god’s tools to achieve their Apocalyptic goals, screamed racism when there was a very reasonable explanation for this reality::::
    In this white punishment known as the United States the person of color has already adopted the disfavors/temptations intended for another race. But by associating/mating with a person of color the white is newly adopting the disfavors of another culture.
    And this is the reason why people of color are not welcome in the United States. The gods control everything:::The perception they want to create, the thoughts they want you to have.
    People of color can’t recover from absorbing the temptations from two cultures. And why they become more and more like so many blacks in America:::Veterans at absorbing the temptations of two cultures.
    To further illustrate this is why California’s educational system/funding was ranked #1 when California was white:::Education being the basis of the affluent economic system. Now even public higher education has become unaffordable.

    The gods behave monsterously in the course of managing Planet Earth, matching our decay, but they demand people be good if you are to have a chance to ascend as a child in a future life.
    Not only is doing the right things important (praying, attoning for your sins, thinking the right way:::accepting humility, modesty, vulnerability), so is avoiding the wrong things important as well:::”Go and sin no more”.
    You NEED active parents who share wisdom to have a real chance to ascend into heaven in a future life, and you MUST be a good parent as well to have that opportunity in your next life.

  39. Anonymous

    WOW! These were amazing! I made them as soon as I saw the recipe. I happen to have a dozen jars of dried wild mushrooms, and everything else on hand, so perfect!
    I’m allergic to cashews, and because of soaking time, I didn’t bother to use a substitute.

    The only thing I changed: I omitted the olive oil in the batter. I’m trying to cut fat for weight. I just added an extra Tbs of mustard to help it stick together. My burgers held together great. I think the key is not to overcook your lentils.

    The pickled onions; AMAZING touch!

    I ate mine on a spinach salad, my hubby had his on a bun with the fixin’s. The second night we had big salads with a lentil burger and poached eggs on top.

    YUMMMM! As usual!! LOVE your blog! Everything I make is awesome. I’ve made the best ever lentil salad 4 times in two months.

  40. Steph

    Sarah, just made these tonight for dinner! So so good! I’ve had to go gluten free and it’s been a big adjustment. Using sunflower seeds in place of breadcrumbs is genius! I love learning new tricks like this. It makes the transition much easier-as does a mouthwatering burger. Great flavors. If you love olives, this is your burger! And the cashew sauce is top notch. I’m thinking about freezing a few for another time. Thanks 🙂

  41. Sylvia

    I made these last night with depuy lentils because I couldn’t find beluga… I wouldn’t recommend it, they were pretty runny and mushy. But what would be a good alternative then? Wild rice?

  42. Pea Green Cactus

    I made these babes yesterday and they were magnificent! (The rosemary and the olives were magical. I need to incorporate rosemary into more veggie dishes! I thought it only went well with meat, for some reason.) Also, the sauce… !!!

    I’m so glad I found your blog (via http://www.yesandyes.org), thank you for all the lovely recipes and nutritionist’s insight, Sarah!

  43. Martina

    Hi Sarah, I live in Berlin and would have LOVED to come to that event by “MADE” – how is it possible to get information on your live appearances ahead of time?
    Your blog is great! Thanks for inspiring me!

  44. Elise

    This looks absolutely divine. It has been so cold and wintery on the East Coast this week and this burger looks like just the thing to warm us up! Yum.

  45. No Trash Project

    I just discovered your wonderful blog. I don’t know what took me so long to find you. I am in love with what you do. Your photos are exquisite and your recipes are fresh and exciting. I can’t wait to pore through them for inspiration in my kitchen. Thanks for all your incredible work!

  46. Jana

    wowwwwwww,wow,and again wow – I am blown away! so many fantastic ingredients, I have to say that I was never craving burgers, but NOW I am:-)))lots of smiles+hugs from wet Berlin…

  47. Eileen

    OH MY. THis burger looks so good! And the sauce…I’ve been thinking about making a batch of cashew cheese, but I think I might step it up a notch and try this amazing-sounding sauce. 🙂 Yay!

  48. Latiesha

    Oh my yummyness! Sarah, which way do you think this is made better? in the oven or pan fried? thank you am looking forward to giving this a go! 🙂

  49. Anonymous

    I can’t wait to make this!
    And that event looked really cool– your food looked so delicious and you were so eloquent during the interviews 🙂

    I tried to make hummus from the leftover almonds from almond milk but it was too sweet and not quite right. Maybe you can post your personal favorite way of using the nut meal some time?

  50. sweet road

    Wild mushroom burgers sound amazing, and because they have that almost meaty flavor you could probably convince meat eating friends to test it out. Also, what is that bun? It looks amazing!

  51. Rachel (Two Healthy Plates)

    Wow this burger looks great! I wish you had posted this a couple of days ago when I was looking for a lentil based veggie burger. I decided on a sweet potato lentil burger for dinner tomorrow – already bought the ingredients or I probably would have switched my mind!!!

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