In case naming this website after my dog didn’t automatically qualify me as a crazy dog lady, I just did something even crazier. I ordered a dog DNA test. My curiosity about which breeds created my spotted companion got the best of me. I’m supposed to just swab the inside of her cheek and send the swabs back.
My suspense is growing. What kind of dog is she? A blend of two pure breeds or lots of mutts? Shall we make this more interesting and turn it into a betting game? I bet you a pan of my best brownies that Cookie is half Australian shepherd and half obscure small dog breed, like a Danish Swedish farmdog or schipperke.
Here are some clues: Cookie has merle coloring, floppy ears and a bushy tail that curves slightly over her back. She’s smaller than she appears in photos, about 18 pounds. She’s fast, smart, energetic and ornery. She herds me out of bed in the morning to feed her breakfast. She is not yippy or overly protective. She is a jaunty, outgoing, friendly little clown. What do you all think?
Cookie would have given her left paw for one of these veggie burgers last night. These are the second veggie burgers to make it to the blog. Their incredibly popular black bean and sweet potato burger predecessor is tough to beat. I can’t say that these would win in a veggie burger competition, as they were more difficult to shape (probably because I over-processed the beans) and aren’t flavored with sweet-and-spicy sweet potatoes, but they are a tasty runner-up.
These burgers are made with mostly lentils and some chickpeas, as well as carrots, spices and oats. The recipe caught my eye in Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, Sarah Copeland’s new cookbook. Sarah is the food director at Real Simple Magazine.
Feast is full of utterly gorgeous, unfussy, gourmet vegetarian recipes. Her publisher sent me a review copy, which has been at the top of my cookbook stack since it arrived. Well over half of the recipes are accompanied by beautiful photos, but this photo-less recipe intrigued me because it reminded me of my recent lentil-chickpea salad.
Sarah served her burgers with a yogurt/red harissa spread, but the mention of harissa kept reminding me of Ashley‘s green herb and jalapeño harissa that I’ve been eager to try. I opted for the fresh green harissa and couldn’t resist throwing an avocado into the mix.
The resulting creamy, spiced, herbed goodness would be fantastic on any veggie burger or sandwich. For those of you who have fallen in love with my avocado chimichurri and avocado salsa verde, you’re going to love this one, too.
I have no idea if this untraditional harissa should even be called harissa at this point. I was curious about the difference between the spicier, red harissa paste and more herby green harissa, so I researched the matter last night. Aida Mollenkamp provided the answer: while they go by the same name, green harissa is a more mellow Persian condiment and red harissa is North Africa’s fiery flavoring of choice.
These burgers contain a couple of eggs, which seem to make a big difference in turning the wet patties into well-formed, solid patties when cooked. Vegans, you might be able to substitute some other binder, like ground flaxseed like Angela just did with her Moroccan yam veggie burgers, but I’m not sure how they’ll turn out.
Before pan frying, I experimented by sprinkling three of the burgers with oat flour and the other three with regular flour. The oat flour actually produced a better, more crisp-on-the-outside burger and kept the burgers gluten free. If you want to grill the burgers, you’re going to have to cook them in a pan first (see notes).
Perhaps the best feature of this meal is that both the veggie burgers and harissa can be made entirely in a food processor. I even grated the carrots and chopped the onion and garlic in the food processor (hi, I’m lazy). Then I cleaned out the bowl while I was pan frying the burgers and whipped together the harissa. That was easy!
A NOTE ON FOOD PROCESSORS:
I really do try to keep my equipment to a minimum, but my food processor is an indispensable tool. It can do some things that a blender can’t, like grate carrot and slice zucchini in seconds.
I recently experienced some food processor drama—my grandma wanted her 7-cup KitchenAid back at the same time that a company offered me a super fancy 16-cup food processor, which seemed serendipitous. However, I soon loathed my new fancy-pants processor with all of its bowls and attachments. The machine and accessories could have taken up half of a coat closet, not even kidding! I couldn’t make anything in the smaller nesting bowls without dripping into the larger bowls, so then I had to wash them all. Those bowls took up the entire top rack of my dishwasher.
I finally sent the food processor back and bought Cuisinart’s classic 7-cup food processor for about 100 bucks. So far, it’s been perfect. It has just the features I need and nothing more. I can process lots of vegetables and just dump them into my mixing bowl if I need to process more. The food processor’s bowl, lid and blade only take up one-third of the dishwasher’s top rack.
All this is to say that if you’re in the market for a food processor and don’t have a big family to feed, I recommend the small and affordable, aforementioned Cuisinart. Full disclosure: links to my favorite products on Amazon and elsewhere are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage of your total purchase, which helps me pay my bills. Thank you for your support!
- 1 carrot, peeled
- ½ medium yellow or white onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 cups cooked green or brown lentils
- ½ cup cooked chickpeas
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- Handful fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, optional (not shown in pictures)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce, sriracha or other hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- *Oat flour (can be easily made from oats, see step 1) or flour of choice, for dusting
- High quality vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
- 1 medium to large avocado, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup lightly packed mint leaves (or parsley)
- 1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and stems (or parsley)
- 3 jalapeños, seeded and coarsely chopped (save seeds if you want extra-spicy harissa)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 buns of choice (English muffins, hamburger buns, or flatbread), toasted
- Add some crunch: dill pickles, quick-pickled red onions, or thinly sliced radishes or cucumbers
- Greens, like arugula or spinach, optional
- Tomato slices, optional
- Whatever else strikes your fancy
- *Before you get started, will you need oat flour? If so, blend up some oats in your food processor using the S-blade. Blend until the oats have a fine, flour-like texture. Transfer the oats to a bowl for later.
- To make the burgers: Use your food processor's grating blade to coarsely grate the carrot. Transfer the shredded carrot to a bowl for now. Remove the grating blade and switch to the S-blade. Cut the halved onion into a few slices before adding the onion and garlic cloves to the food processor. Pulse until the onions are roughly chopped, but no more.
- Add to the food processor: towel-dried lentils and chickpeas, eggs, oats, handful of herbs (optional), all of the spices, salt and black pepper. Process only until the mixture has the consistency of a chunky hummus (err on the conservative side here). Stir in the grated carrot.
- To prepare the burgers: Divide the lentil mixture into 6 portions and shape them into patties about 1-inch thick (if your mixture is unmanageably wet, stir in a couple tablespoons of oat flour first). Dust the patties lightly with flour on both sides.
- To cook the burgers: Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, cook the veggie burgers in batches. Cook until the burgers are crispy on the bottoms and the mixture holds together, about 4½ to 5 minutes. Flip the burgers carefully with a spatula and continue cooking until the second sides are firm and brown, about 4½ to 5 more minutes. Transfer the burgers to a plate, then add more oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining burgers until they are all cooked through.
- To make the avocado green harissa: First, clean out the bowl of your food processor. Then add all of the harissa ingredients to the food processor except for the olive oil. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the olive oil while it's running.
- To assemble the burgers: Toast your buns, if you'd like. Top the lower bun with a veggie burger patty, then spread a generous amount of avocado green harissa on top. Top with crunchy condiments, greens, etc. and eat!
Make it gluten free: Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats/oat flour.
Storage suggestions: Sarah says to let the cooked burgers cool completely, then transfer to an air-tight container with a layer of parchment paper in between each burger. Freeze for up to a month. The harissa is best served fresh, but if you have leftover sauce, store it in a small bowl and press plastic wrap against the top to prevent oxidation. The harissa will keep for a day or two.
A note on grilling: Sarah suggests that these burgers can be grilled IF you cook them in a pan first (I think the raw patties would fall right through the grates). Once the burgers are cooked, preheat your gas/charcoal/stovetop grill on medium-high. Rub the grill plates or pan with olive oil, then grill the cooked burgers until the outsides are deeply brown, about 5 minutes. Don't move the burgers other than flipping halfway though cooking. If you want to melt cheese on top of the burgers, add it during the last two minutes of cooking, then close the lid to help the cheese melt.
If you love this recipe: You'll also love my sweet potato and black bean burgers and summer squash tacos with avocado chimichurri.