Veggie burgers are my favourite food of all time. I love a wholesome plant-based patty served on a fresh bun and loaded with condiments. This healthy burger recipe is mild flavoured so you can dress it up any way you like. Add spicy mayo, guacamole, sauteed onions or kimchi to jazz it up! The combination of millet, red lentils, beets and kale gives a colour very close to ground beef. Hence the name!
Making veggie burgers at home is relatively easy. The trick is to make a sticky mixture that doesn’t crumble or squish in a bun. Once you’ve got that down, you can play around with flavours and ingredients. Millet is one of the best grains to the job done, it helps keep this patty recipe whole. If you haven’t cooked with millet before, its a great staple to have in your kitchen. The inexpensive mild flavoured grain is best described as a cross between quinoa and sticky rice. The second ingredient I use to hold everything together is fibre-rich and protein-loaded chickpea flour. If you don’t have chickpea flour, wheat flour will probably work too but you might need a little more. I haven’t tested it with wheat but in theory, it should give similar results. Lastly, I added a few tablespoons of ground flax which is a common egg replacement in vegan cuisine. It also ups the nutritional value by adding some plant-based omega 3. Win-win! If you don’t have chickpea flour or ground flax on hand, you can make them at home by adding chickpeas to a blender and flax to a coffee grinder. You might need a highspeed blender, I use the Vitamix dry container to grind both, but you can always experiment with the gadgets. You absolutely don’t need fancy gear to make this work, it just helps simplify things.
A note about food processors: I make this recipe in the food processor because it’s quick and easy. You can also prepare it by finely chopping all the ingredients for a chunkier burger. If you go this route, be sure to steam your beets beforehand so they incorporate better. If you have a smaller food processor (8 cups or less) you may need to process in batches. I always suggest processing the harder and wetter ingredients first (onions, beets, lentils) since they need to be chopped more. Then I add the stickier ingredients (millet, chickpea flour) last since they’re meant to hold all the wetter bits together.
Homemade veggie burgers are a great way to use up vegetables you have sitting in your fridge. You could swap beets for carrot or sweet potato and kale for spinach or arugula. As long as your base elements stay the same, you can play around with different vegetables. You can use raw or steamed veggies too, it’s pretty forgiving. I’ve made these burgers with raw and steamed beets, both were great.
Beefy-looking Beet Burger with Red Lentils & Millet
- Food processor
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1/2 cup millet
- 2 small beets coarsely chopped
- large handful kale stems removed, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 red onion coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minces
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 3 tbsp miso paste
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp herb de Provence or your favourite dried herb mix
- 1/2 tsp salt* (optional – omit for low sodium version)
- 3/4-1 cup chickpea flour amount needed will vary
- Rinse red lentils and cover in water, set aside to soak for 15 minutes.
- Rinse millet and put it in a pot with one cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let cook until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Drain red lentils and discard water. Add all ingredients except millet and chickpea flour into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add millet and half of the chickpea flour and pulse until well incorporated.
- Add remaining chickpea flour a little at a time until the right texture is achieved. The mix should resemble the texture of ground beef and be sticky enough to shape into balls. The amount of chickpea flour you need will depend on how long you pulsed the ingredients. The mushier they are, the more flour you'll need. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little water to moisten.
- Separate the mixture in 6 to 8 equal parts and shape into patties. Burgers can be cooked on the stovetop or in the oven. Stovetop burgers will be softer, squishier and more tender in the middle. Oven-baked will be drier but firmer in the middle and less likely to squish when you bite into them.
- Stovetop: Heat a large well-oiled pan over low temperature. Add burger patties a few at a time, do not overcrowd the pan. Let patties cook for 5 to 10 minutes then flip and repeat. A low cooking temperature will ensure they cook through without burning on the edge.
- Oven: Preheat oven at 375C. Generously grease a baking sheet or line it with nonstick silicone baking mat and add patties at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes, flip and then bake for another 10-15 minutes. They'll be roughly the texture of falafel.