We are always driven to find great recipes to the foods we love. Everyone loves burgers but not everyone eats meat and I would have to say that lately we have not been eating as much red meat as we used too. With that being said the burger has evolved and veggie burgers have become a normal menu item in a lot of the burger joints. My first taste goes back to the late 80’s, a garden burger at a local restaurant which had a vast menu of burgers. I loved the nuttiness of it along with the meatiness from the mushroom and chickpeas. I still love a good beef burger once in a while but I am determined to hone a recipe for a flavorful, held together veggie burger packed with flavor and just a bit of punch, and especially because it is one of Nicoletta’s favorites.
Years have past and Nicoletta and I have tried many vegetarian burgers, along with our own concoctions but still had not found one that would light up our taste buds, not until one night while out with family at a new restaurant that opened in a trendy area of Edmonton known as 124 street. “Relish”, known for its gourmet burgers, compilation of regular and sweet potato fries along with craft beers, and a veggie burger. Nicoletta and I shared the burger and I have to say to date the best vegetarian burger that we have ever tasted. Crispy on the outside, then you bite in and there is this rich creamy inside, vast in spices, nutty, and bean flavors, accompanied with a great bun toasted to a nice golden brown, and condiments and we have a winner, an inspiration for Nicoletta and I to come up with a recipe that matches or surpasses this veggie burger.
We found a recipe in the Canadian Living magazine, special issue on quick and easy vegetarian, for a curried lentil burger and we both said that the ingredients seemed to coincide with what we had tasted at Relish. Excited and anxious to get going on this we gathered up the ingredients needed and off we go. Some red lentils and Cremini mushrooms cooked to a nice textured consistency will give us the meatiness we need. A smidge of red curry paste along with the spiced curry cashews gives us that spicy kick and nuttiness we so love. Of course we need some onion and garlic to elevate and also smooth out some of the edginess of this burger, a bit of breadcrumbs to hold this baby together and then into the food processor we go all blended forming a medium coarse thick puree that smells so good I am tempted to taste it right now and so I do and it tastes wonderful, can’t wait to fry these puppies up and get a nice crust on them, but first have to mold them. We used a patty forming mold which works wonderfully, but you can use your hands too which is always a lot of fun, then off to the fridge to set up for a few hours, and the birth of our Curried Lentil Cashew Burger was complete.
Not leaving well enough alone I decided some hand cut potato fries would be the best partner for this burger, which I double fried making them crispy and so smooth inside seasoned lightly after fying with some sea salt. Also decided that tempura onion rings placed lovingly on top of the veggie burger held in place by the melted brie cheese we used by the way bought at a boulangerie in the old Strathcona area of Edmonton, a place to find great breads and some cheese but be prepared to wait in line. Some lettuce and this great relish I received from one of the people at a local Ramen house which just opened up on 124 street called “Prairie Noodle House” which has amazing ramen and appetizers along with this relish made from pickling a type of radish, you would have to taste this pickled radish, it is so amazing in flavor and when I asked them what it was and how much I enjoyed it they gave me some to take home and I knew that this would be a great condiment for our curried lentil cashew burger and it was. The flavors of this veggie burger amazing, a bit of spice from the patty along with that wonderful golden crust encasing the creamy, nutty, meaty flavors of the insides of this beauty, the melted brie so good and gooey, a nice crispy bite from the tempura onion rings, freshness and crispness of the lettuce, and a bit of acidity from some ketchup and mustard and all housed in a nice toasted hamburger brioche bun, again one from Nicoletta’s handmade ones, I am salivating again. Let’s not forget those wonderful fries crispy on the outside smooth and fluffy on the inside perfect dipped in some ketchup then slowly bite after bite enjoying them immensely.
You gotta try these, they are so good but also filling, I would share one with someone you love, it is always fun to share food.
Warning: This burger is a two handed affair, also several napkins needed. lol
Song of the day: “Closer to the Heart” by Rush.
- 1/2 cup cashews (we used curried chily cashwes)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cups white or cremini mushrooms, washed and chopped
- 1 onion, chopped, minced
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper
- 1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp curry paste
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley (or cilantro if you like it)
- 4 slices Brie cheese (or Gouda, or Raclette)
- 4 leaves lettuce
- pickled radish, optional
- few fried onion rings, optional
- 4 hamburger buns
- ketchup and mustard, optional
- If your cashews aren't toasted like ours, toast them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to food processor.
- In same skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat; cook mushrooms, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, stirring often, until no liquid remain, about 5 minutes. Add to food processor.
- Add lentils and curry paste to food processor; pulse to combine. Mix in bread crumbs and parsley (or cilantro).
- Shape into 4 1-inch thick patties.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat; fry patties, turning once gently, until crispy, about 16 minutes.
- Top each with 1 slice of the cheese and the fried onions.
- Sandwich patties with lettuce, radish and sauces in buns.
And here’s another good recipe for a veggie burger, Marvelous Mushroom Veggie Burger on an English Muffin:
And if you like salmon, we’ve got you covered with an amazing Grilled Salmon Burger: