Loaded Quinoa Lentil Burgers with all the Fixings 

Today, I’m pulling out all the stops. 

This week, I felt like putting together something big. Enormous. Sensational. Between experimenting with my new camera and trying out recipes from my vegan cookbook, I thought about what to bring you next. Since the recipes I post usually go with what I’m feeling at the time, I opted for these vegan burgers. I cannot tell you how many burgers I’ve made in the past month. 

I’ve been craving umami a lot since I stopped eating meat. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, umami refers to one of the flavours your tongue can detect, along with sweet, sour and bitter. Umami is what you would call the savouriness of a dish. Unfortunately for me, I tried to replicate that by eating a lot of salt- obviously not a good idea. 

 Good old Google came in handy here, by suggesting that I introduce umami rich foods into my diet, such as mushrooms, sweet potatoes and balsamic vinegar. So what did I do? I incorporated all these elements into the ultimate feel good vegan burger. Mushrooms fried and dressed in a balsamic vinegar reduction, sweet potato fries on the side and gorgeous crispy onion rings, how could one ask for more? 

But wait! There is more!!!! These pickled red onions are about to be your next guilty pleasure. The crisp bitter flavour of the onions just works perfectly with the soft mild avocado, and don’t get me started on what it does for the burger as a whole. It just works and I don’t know why yet- but when I find out, trust that you’ll be getting a post about it. 

I’m working on a couple more science posts to bring you because I realized that I haven’t been doing that a lot lately and I send you all my apologies in the form of this burger. Don’t take my word for it – go out and try it! 

Loaded Quinoa Lentil Burgers with all the Fixings.                                          makes 4 patties


For the burger patties:

  • ½ cup uncooked brown lentils
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • A handful of fresh rosemary
  • 4 burger rolls

For the pickled onion:

  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 150ml of white vinegar
  • 2 heaped tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 250ml water

For the onion rings:

  • Enough vegetable oil for shallow frying (my estimate is 1 cup)
  • 1 large white onion, sliced cross-sectionally to yield rings
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

For the sweet potato fries:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into fries
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced tomato
  • Mayonnaise/Vegannaise
  • Barbecue sauce



Make the burger patties:

  1. In a large saucepan combine the lentils and quinoa and cover with the water. Cook for 20 minutes or until you can see the white tails on the quinoa and the lentils are soft. Set aside to cool.
  2. Coat the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil on high heat and fry the mushrooms and garlic until the mushrooms are dark brown and have softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently until the balsamic has reduced and most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
  3. Add the lentil quinoa mixture, mushrooms, parsley and rosemary to a food processor. Pulse until you have a thick mixture that holds together and can easily be shaped into patties. This took me about 2 minutes. If your mixture is too heavy for the food processor, then you can add 2 tbsp of water to ease it along.
  4. Shape the mixture into 4 patties and at this point you can either refrigerate them to cook later or cook straight away. This recipe is freezer friendly, separate the patties with parchment paper and seal in an airtight plastic bag.
  5. Heat a skillet on high heat and brush with olive oil. Cook the patties for 5 minutes on either side before flipping. Serve immediately

For the pickled onion:

Dump the red onion at the bottom of a 500ml glass jar. In a measuring cup, stir together the vinegar, sugar, salt and water. Pour it over the onion and fill up the jar with as much liquid as possible. Give the jar a good shake and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

For the sweet potato fries:

Start by soaking the chopped sweet potatoes in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain before adding the cornflour, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and sugar and tossing to coat. Lie in a single layer on a baking tray and roast for 25 minutes without turning. Serve hot.

For the onion rings:

Heat vegetable oil in a deep saucepan to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and water to make a thick batter. In a shallow dish, crush the cornflakes till they resemble breadcrumbs and stir with the cayenne pepper. Dip the onion rings first in the batter then the cornflakes and fry for 3 minutes or until deep golden brown, turning once halfway. Serve immediately.

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