These ultimate meatball burgers (vegan lentil burgers) are from the new cookbook by Sophia DeSantis, Vegan Burgers & Burritos. They are packed with whole food ingredients and no shortage of flavor.
I’ve been blogging buddies with Sophia DeSantis for many years now. She is the writer, recipe creator, and photographer behind the food blog, Veggies Don’t Bite.
Vegan Burgers & Burritos
Sophia specializes in comfort food that has all of the robust taste of its more indulgent brethren, but with healthy, whole food ingredients instead. As a mom of three, she also makes meals that anyone would enjoy – kids and grown-ups alike.
So I was excited and not at all surprised when I heard the name and topic of her first cookbook – Vegan Burgers & Burritos. The book includes 27 burger recipes, 26 burritos, 19 sauces, and 4 sides.
Photos sweeten the deal on convincing readers to try a recipe, and to clearing up any questions on how the final product should look. Luckily, Vegan Burgers & Burritos doesn’t skimp in this area. Each recipe includes a photo.
The recipes are suitable for a wide range of eaters, as they are all plant-based, gluten-free, and refined-sugar free. (Obviously, if you’re gluten-free, you’ll want to find buns/tortillas that match your needs as well.)
She also shares tips on how to tweak recipes to make them even more kid-friendly.
The recipes are broken down into levels that range in difficulty from levels 1 through 4. So if you’re a beginner in the kitchen, you’ll know where to start.
The recipe I’m sharing today is categorized as level 2.
Ultimate meatball burger (Vegan lentil burgers)
The first recipe that called to me was the ultimate meatball burger.
Lately, I’ve been craving a vegan meatball sandwich with plenty of pizza sauce slathered on top.
There are lots of pre-made vegan meatballs out there. However, the great thing about making them at home, versus buying a bag from the frozen section, is that you know exactly what goes into them.
The hearty base of these burgers is lentils. So often veggie burgers are made from black beans, pintos, or vital wheat gluten. But vegan lentil burgers really appeal to a lentil-lover like me. You can make your own lentils from scratch, or save a step and buy pre-made.
These vegan lentil burgers are filled with all kinds of good-for-you ingredients like mushrooms, kale, oats, and walnuts. They are packed with flavor coming from thyme, basil, oregano, and sautéed garlic. Finally, they are finished with a spread of pizza sauce.
Sophia includes a quick-and-easy pizza sauce recipe in the book, and that’s noted in the recipe below. However, I happened to have some extra pizza sauce in the refrigerator from a recent vegan taco pizza night. So I opted to use that instead.
The vegan meatball burgers have a wonderful, savory flavor. I can only imagine they’d also be perfect rolled into balls, browned, and served with vegan lasagna or on a meatball sub. It’s the recipe that keeps on giving!
And a big dollop of tofu ricotta on top would not go amiss here!
Ultimate meatball burger (Vegan lentil burgers)
Ultimate meatball burger
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- 2 cups chopped kale, stems removed
- 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup Low-sodium veggie broth or drizzle of oil, for sautéing
- 1 ½ cups cooked brown or green lentils
- ½ cup bread crumbs (gluten-free if needed)
- ½ cup oats (gluten-free if needed)
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup Quick-and-Easy Pizza Sauce (recipe below)
- 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 to 5 buns
- Quick-and-Easy Pizza Sauce recipe below
- Chopped sautéed kale
Quick-and-easy pizza sauce
To make ultimate meatball burger
- Sauté the mushrooms, kale and garlic with broth or oil over medium heat until the mushrooms are soft and the liquid has evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
- Place the the lentils, bread crumbs, oats, walnuts, sauce, thyme, basil, oregano and salt in a food processor and pulse until well chopped. You want a crumble like texture. Check to make sure the mixture sticks together, and if it doesn’t, pulse some more, but make sure it doesn’t turn into a purée. You can also add a bit more pizza sauce if it doesn’t stick yet, however, you don’t want it to be too wet.
- Place the mushrooms, kale and garlic into the processor, making sure not to add any leftover juices, and pulse a few times until everything is well chopped and incorporated. If the ingredients aren’t mixed after a few pulses, put the mixture in a bowl and mix it with your hands.
- Place the mixture into a bowl, and put it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes; an hour is best. Making this the day before and letting it sit overnight is optimal. This helps all flavors marinate and leads to a sturdier burger.
- To cook, shape the mixture into patties. If you’re not using a nonstick pan, then you may want to prepare the pan by brushing it with a tad of oil to avoid sticking. Place the patties in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat for 15 minutes on each side. Pans and stovetops vary, so begin to check the patties at 10 minutes. If you try to slide your spatula under a patty and it won’t give, then it isn’t ready and needs to cook longer.
- You can also bake the patties on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 375 degrees F (191 degrees C) for about 20 to 25 minutes on each side. Allow the patties to cool and set for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Serve on buns with the toppings of your choice.
To make quick-and-easy pizza sauce
- Put the tomato paste, broth, thyme, basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, maple syrup, crushed red pepper and black pepper in a bowl and mix well.
Try more recipes from Vegan Burgers & Burritos on these other blogs:
- Chipotle Lime Burrito Bowl at Glue & Glitter
- The Down Home BBQ Burger at A Virtual Vegan
- Fall Harvest Burrito at Veggies Don’t Bite
- The Autumn Burger at Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen
- Greek Burritos at Veggies Save the Day
- Wrapped-Up Chili Rellenos at The Vegan 8