Fourth of July and Canada Day (July 1st) seem to launch summer – the food, the picnics, BBQs, and kids breaking from school. For us, summer essentially started two weeks ago. Our teachers went on strike, so the kids abruptly left school two weeks early. Our girls will be going into grades 8, 5, and kindergarten in September. Our eldest had her grade 7 graduation this year, and our youngest her preschool graduation. Milestones. There’s been a lot going on to wrap up our school year, and I’ve enjoyed some simpler with the girls these past couple of weeks. (Not completely simple as we just got a pup, more on that in another post!)
With the kids home unexpectedly early, training a new pup, and also getting ready for the cover shoot for my next book (this Sunday, more on that in another post too), I’ve really enlisted their help with more work around the house, including some of the food prep. The older girls mostly, as it’s far more productive, and they are really curious about ingredients and the process. For instance, one of their favorite lunches is a quinoa bowl. I usually speedily prepare it, but lately I’ve had them take turns. As busy as it can be in the kitchen (we don’t have a ton of counterspace), it’s really enjoyable. Feeling in the moment with them, enjoying the simplicity of preparing easy, tasty, healthy food. That’s been lovely. Mind you, there’s a little competition going on regarding whose quinoa tastes best! Geez! Well, better than squabbling over toys.
We also tried a new burger recipe, discussing what ingredients and flavors might work together well. Eldest girl is quite artistic so she was drawing characters on our recipe plan. That recipe still needs some development. But this burger recipe does not! These Lentil Walnut-Apple Burgers are tucked away in the burgers chapter in LTEV. I wanted to show people in that chapter just how fantastically delicious whole foods vegan burgers can be! Our family loves these, and I think the kids quite enjoy the small bites of sweet apple inside the otherwise very savory burger (as do I). Don’t skip the apple, I promise it works!
Along with the burgers, I’m sharing my recipe “Almonnaise”. It’s a fresh take on mayonnaise, made by blending presoaked almonds with a few essential seasonings. No, it doesn’t taste quite like mayonnaise. Nor like vegennaise. It tastes different, but I think that different is better. With a creamy, rich texture and more-ish flavor that you expect from mayonnaise – just fresher and healthier. Scrumptious on veggie burgers and sandwiches, but also wonderful in green wraps, baked spuds, and wherever you’d like a dollop of creamy/salty/rich sauce. I love it, but then those of you that have LTEV know that I am a little saucy.
These burgers will be a hit year-round, and especially for your Fourth of July and Canada Day BBQs and celebrations. Enjoy! (p.s. If you’re looking for a festive dessert, this pie was a hit for many folks last year.)
Lentil Walnut Burgers (link to print/share)
These savory burgers will surprise you with little bites of sweetness, courtesy of fresh apple. Plus, they hold together quite well, without being too starchy or heavy. Makes 9-11 patties.
1 tbsp olive oil or water (for saute, see note for skipping saute and cooking onions/garlic with lentils)
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
3 medium-large cloves garlic
1/8 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper (generous is good)
2 cups cooked green lentils (will need about ¾ cup dry lentils, see note)
1/2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce (omit for wheat/gluten-free version or use a gluten-free vegan worcestershire)
1 ½ tbsp mild miso (I use Genmai brown rice Miso)
1 tsp dried thyme (or 2-3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves)
3/4 tsp dried sage
½ tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp sea salt
¾ – 1 cup ground steel cut oats (or ¾ – 1 cup rolled or quick oats; see note for firmer burgers) (use gf-certified oats for gluten-free option)
3/4 cup raw walnuts (or can toast to enhance the flavor)
1 cup apple (firm, crisp apple like Gala, Fuji, or Yellow Delicious), peeled and diced (in small cubes) – *toss with a squeeze of lemon juice (see note)
In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the water/oil. Add the add onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and let cook 7-8 minutes until onions have softened. Meanwhile, in a food processor, add the cooked lentils, worcestershire sauce, miso, thyme, sage, basil and salt, and blend through. When onion mixture is ready, add this to the food processor and puree through again, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Add the oats and walnuts, and pulse through a few times to break up the walnut (but not fully pulverize, leave in a rough chop). Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add apple and mix through until well combined. At this point, you can refrigerate mixture until ready to fry in patties (refrigerating for at least 1⁄2 hour will make it firmer and easier to form). Take scoops of the mixture and form into patties with your hands. In a non-skillet over medium-high heat (use a wipe of oil unless you have a very good non-stick pan), add the patties, flatten gently on the pan, and fry for 6-9 minutes on each side, until golden and a crust has developed; flip them over only once or twice (the second side will cook quicker than the first).
Serving Suggestions: Instead of whole-wheat burger buns, try serving in pitas, or a folded whole-grain tortilla with your favorite fixings! Try a dollop of “Raw-nch Dressing”, p<>, or a large romaine salad tossed with “Classic Caesar Dressing”, p.<>.
Saute Note: Some days you might want to skip the step of sautéing the onions and garlic. If you’re having one of those days, simply toss the onion and garlic in with the dry lentils and water (see lentil cooking note below), and cook through while the lentils simmer. You can omit the oil and salt, and simply add a titch more salt with the puree (lightly round the ¼ tsp salt in the pureed mix).
Leftovers? Use leftover patties in sandwiches, much like a pate, or crumble and add to other fixings in a pita or wrap sandwich.
Oats Note: For ground steel cut oats, simply add steel cut oats to a food processor or blender and process until very fine, like a coarse flour. If you don’t have steel cut oats, you can substitute quick oats for the ground steel cut oats. These burgers form patties that will hold together, but are still fairly soft. For firmer burgers, add another ¼ – 1/3 cup of oats.
Lentils Note: If cooking lentils yourself, use about 3/4 cup dry lentils to about 1 ¾ – 2 cups water. Add a bay leaf, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer covered for about 35 minutes or longer, until lentils are tender and the water is mostly absorbed. If the lentils are tender but there is extra water, either drain off the water, or remove cover and simmer until water has evaporated). Of course, feel free to use canned or packaged cooked lentils in a pinch!
Apple Note: You can also grate the apple for the mixture if you prefer. Use a large-holed grater, and then toss the grated apple with the lemon juice as per directions. Also, if refrigerating the mix for more than ½ – 1 hour, reserve the apples. This mixture can be refrigerated up to a day or two in advance, however, the apples will lose their texture and taste if they sit in the mixture that long. So, if preparing burgers in advance, you can prepare the entire mixture and refrigerate, and then stir in the chopped apple later, before getting ready to pan-fry the patties.
‘Almonnaise’ (link to print/share)
This thick, rich sauce can easily take the place of mayo for your favorite burgers or in sandwiches. You might just find yourself topping it on just about everything, from baked spuds to pasta, beans and rice, or just a big ol’ dollop on a raw salad. Make a double-batch (see note); it is that good! Makes about 1 cup, single-batch.
¾ cup soaked (and drained) raw almonds (see notes)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar or lemon juice
¼ tsp dill seed (or ¼ scant celery seed), or omit either, see note
¼ tsp ground mustard (optional, see note)
¼ + 1/8 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup + 1-3 tbsp water
optional: 1-2 tbsp neutral flavor oil (ex: organic almond, avocado oil – omit for oil-free, add another splash of water if needed)
Using a blender or immersion blender and deep cup or jar, puree all ingredients (starting with 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp of water) until very, very smooth, scraping down sides as needed. (A high-powered blender works best to achieve a smooth consistency, but a standard blender or immersion blender can step in, just takes a little longer to smooth.) If texture is very thick, add another 1-2 tablespoons of water (or more, if needed). I like this mixture fairly thick, so if you want to thin it out more, go ahead and add more water until you have your desired consistency.
Almonds Note: Soaking almonds makes them softer for pureeing, and will give a little creamier consistency (plus make the blending easier). If you don’t have time to soak the almonds, go ahead and still use ¾ cup of raw almonds – and just add more water. You will need to start with ½ cup, and then add another tablespoon or two if needed to get the mixture blended and thinned out a little. I use raw almonds that have the skins intact, so this ‘naise has some flecks of color from the almond skins. If you don’t want this color, feel free to use blanched almonds, or remove the almond skins after soaking (it’s easy, they slip off)!
Double-Batch Note: The blender has an easier time working through this mixture if you double the batch. It’s not essential, but if you think you will use it up within 4-5 days, consider a double whammy!
Kid-Friendly: I love this ‘naise best with the dill seed and also the dried mustard, but our kids like it without the dill (or celery seed) and dried mustard. Also, our children like the addition of just 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast to this mix – give it a try!
Another shout-out to Emma Potts for these mouthwatering photos!
Do you have any inventive burger toppings? Share your fave toppings and inspire others too!