I had been trying to avoid buying a ton of premade, packaged vegetarian burgers and fake (vegetarian version) chicken lately. They are certainly convenient. And tasty. But like any packaged food, you gotta read the ingredient label carefully. Health wise I always prefer those with fewer ingredients (ie. fillers and preservatives), but sometimes it doesn't happen. Sometimes you choose the least of the evils at the grocery store. My priority is those with non-GMO soy. I really wish Morningstar Farms would make ALL of their stuff with non-GMO. But I guess I should be happy that they're at least doing some now? But even the ones with decent ingredients are still not as good as a homemade version where I can control the salt, make them gluten free if I want to, etc. We went through a long phase where we ate some sort of packaged fake meat up to 4-5 times a week. And then I didn't let us get any for a month or two. And now I think we're settling somewhere in the Middle. (Isn't that where we all strive to be, really? In the "just right" place of every situation?) This week we bought frozen fake buffalo chikn tenders to make Buffalo Chikn Salad. But I didn't buy the packaged veggie burgers. I made it my mission to try to make them from scratch for the first time.

I went to Pinterest for inspiration, and found this great recipe. Then I modified it a bit. My version is wheat free and I swapped the variety of olives, mushrooms and some spices.

Note: I'm getting better at measuring ingredients to create recipes, but I'm still not remembering to take photos of each step! Woopsie-daisy! 


VEGETARIAN LENTIL MUSHROOM BURGERS Makes about 4 big burgers. If you want to double the recipe to freeze for easy lunch or dinners, I would cook first, then freeze.

1/4 Cup rolled oats 1 Cup cooked lentils (I accidentally made almost triple this amount because I measured dry; ended up with a lot of lentils to experiment with!) 1 small package sliced portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped 1 Tblsp soy sauce (or liquid amino's) 2 Tblsp worcestershire sauce (vegan if available) 1/4 Cup black olives (or any olive you like) 2 dashes herbs de provence 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 1 clove garlic or garlic powder equivalent 1 small onion or onion powder equivalent Olive oil, salt, pepper

  1. While cooking the lentils, chop olives in food processor or by hand. Do not process too long - you do NOT want olive puree! Empty into small bowl and set aside. Pulse oats in food processor to make them a finer consistency, like tiny breadcrumb-size; empty into small bowl and set aside.
  2. Sautée garlic, onion and mushrooms in a few drops of olive oil until browned.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. Crinkle + reopen sheet of aluminum foil (helps keep from sticking and helps to get good outer texture of burgers); cover in light coat of cooking spray.
  4. Once lentils and mushrooms are cooked, carefully (since they're hot!) put in food processor with soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Process until mixture is combined, but not pureed. Add oats and pulse just until combined.
  5. Carefully remove blade from food processor or empty contents into a big bowl (I just try to avoid messy dishes where possible). Mix in olives; add salt + pepper to taste.
  6. Scoop 1/3-1/2 C portions of the mixture into your hand, roll into ball and plop onto pan, flatten into a patty with palm + fingers.
  7. Cook for 15 minutes on each side, flipping in the middle. Serve with your favorite burger toppings!

Take a deep breath for a moment to appreciate what you’ve just created, and are about to enjoy!

Tell me in the comments (near the blog title): Have you ever made burgers from scratch? What kind?