Walnut “Bean” Burgers

  • Yield: 4-6 servings


3/4cup uncooked brown or green lentils
1-1/2cup water
2tablespoons cider vinegar
1tablespoon olive oil (plus more for frying the burgers, as needed)
1cup finely minced onion
2teaspoons minced garlic
1teaspoon dry mustard
10-- mushrooms (about 2-inch diameter), minced
3/4teaspoon salt
1/2pound baby spinach, finely minced (optional)
1/4teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2cup finely minced walnuts
-- whole wheat breadcrumbs (from toasted whole wheat sandwich bread)
-- Grated cheddar for melting on top (optional)


  1. Place the lentils and water in a medium-small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Lower the eat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and the water is completely absorbed.  (Don’t worry about overcooking the lentils.  Soft is good in this recipe, and we want all the water gone.)  Transfer to a medium-large bowl, add the vinegar, and mash with a fork or a potato masher.  Set aside.
  2. Place a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, and wait about a minute.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, and swirl to coat the pan, then add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.  Add all the remaining ingredients except the walnuts and bread crumbs, and sauté over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.  Turn up the heat for the last minute or so, to let the moisture evaporate.
  3. Stir the sautéed mixture into the lentils, along with the walnuts and bread crumbs.  Mix thoroughly, then cover the bowl (or transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid) and chill for at least an hour (longer okay).
  4. Form 4-inch patties about 1 1/2 inches thick, and fry on both sides in a hot, oiled pan until heated through and crispy on the outside. You can also broil then for 5 to 8 minutes on each side (until golden and crisp).  Top with some grated cheese at the last minute, if desired, and let it melt.
  5. Serve hot, with desired accoutrements.

*Source for original: Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary edition copyright 2006