Cashew-leek burgers with bulgur and lentils

I should have learnt my lesson last week when making burgers that they’re a bit of a faff. These took almost two hours to make (although the recipe says one hour – I’m a slow cook) and I really did think I’d spent two hours making something that was going to turn out to be a disaster.

The lentils and bulgur wheat didn’t absorb their water and although I could just about drain the bulgur wheat, the lentils were soggy and I thought there’s no way these burgers are going to firm up.

Still, I persevered, and they didn’t fall apart too much in the frying pan but even after they’d come out of the oven they weren’t that firm but they tasted okay and I could imagine them being great cold, stuffed into pitta bread with salad. Not a recipe I’m going to be making again though (not that I would need to for a while – there’s four leftover in the freezer)


Cashew-leek burgers with bulgur and lentils (makes 8)
Taken from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way

75g brown or red lentils
50g bulgur wheat
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 medium leeks, cleaned and finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato purée
50g toasted cashews
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
50g toasted breadcrumbs

  1. Bring the lentils and at least 475ml water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are cooked and beginning to fall apart. Transfer to a baking sheet or mixing bowl to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 150ml water to a boil. Stir in the bulgur wheat with a pinch of salt, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for about 7 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their moisture and it evaporates, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and wipe out the sauté pan.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in the sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are completely softened and beginning to caramelise, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato purée and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms and stir to mix.
  6. Combine half of the lentils, half of the bulgur wheat and half of the leek mixture with the cashews, eggs, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until uniformly pureed but still slightly chunky. Add the puréed mixture and the remaining lentils and bulgur wheat to the remaining leek mixture in the bowl. Work in the breadcrumbs. Shape the mixture into 8 patties.
  7. In a large ovenproof frying pan or non-stick sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the patties and cook until browned on each side, 6-10 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through.
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  1. first trial on any recipe is always a learning experience. cook the lentils a little less next go-they mash pretty easily when properly cooked (not overcooked) and honestly, some texture from whole or nearly whole lentils might be nice. i think you could have saved a boodle of time if you have two burners on your hob by cooking the lentils simultaneously with the leeks and then preparing the other two short-cook ingredients. I’ll wager that you could even add the bulghur to the lentils at the end of their cook to absorb excess (flavorful) liquid. these are just my thoughts.

    disclosure: i haven’t made these but i am planning to as my daughter has suddenly declared that she is now vegetarian. while i’m unwilling to change the way we prepare food for our family, i am willing to try more vegetarian meals and this sounds pretty decent. I may use an egg as binder, if needed- we have chickens and eggs are good food (unless you are vegan. then, nevermind)

  2. Thank you for your honest review of the recipe. I’ll be sure to refer to this when i make these so that I am freshly aware of the potential pitfalls. Daughter is thrilled that I am willing to prepare vegetarian dishes (I do like meat. a lot.). I think it surprised her greatly that I am looking for veggie meals that will satisfy the whole family.

    I love the avatars that your page applies to people posting comments. I especially like the horned, peruvian-potato-crab. Best regards.

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