Now that PLANT is serving meals in addition to baked goods, I’ve been able to flex my vegan cooking muscles more. I love the preciseness of baking, but I also love all the possibilities of vegan cooking too, and getting to create whole dishes with various components. And besides, one cannot just survive on sweet treats, but you gotta balance it out with some savory eats too, amirite?
So when I was thinking about the first dish I wanted to make at PLANT, it was a no-brainer: veggie burgers. I’ve had my fair share of good, bad, and ugly vegan burgers all over the world, and I thought I’d give it a shot. :) There are so many different kinds of veggie patties, but this time I went with lentils as my protein base, but also added some black beans just because I had some lying around. I love lentils! They’re so tasty and nutrient-packed– you will probably see a lot of lentil-dishes from me in the future.
For the vegan burger buns, I make a trip to the Baker’s Table by Kyungridan, Noksapyeong, since they have a good selection of vegan European bread. 1,000won per bun, if anyone is interested, and you can pre-order if you’re going to buy a lot like me.
Vegan Lentil Bean Burgers
Makes 8 patties
1 cup dry red lentils, picked through and cleaned
4 cups water (rough estimate)
1 stalk leek, chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 stalk celery
1/2 cup carrots diced into small pieces
1/3 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 Tbs olive oil, plus more for frying
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
salt (about 1 tsp) and pepper to taste
extra flour, to easily form patties
1. In a large pot, add the lentils and water. Bring to a boil and then after about 5 minutes, reduce to low heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally until all the liquid is gone. The lentils should be soft enough to mash and just starting to break down, but not overcooked to the point where they are completely mushy. If they are still too firm, add more water and continue cooking and stirring.
2. In a fry pan, add a glug of olive oil and saute the garlic, leeks, celery, and carrots until the carrots are fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the cooked lentils and sauteed veggies into a large mixing bowl. Add the black beans and use a fork to slightly break down the beans with the lentils (leave some whole for more texture).
4. Add olive oil, dijon mustard, vital wheat gluten, salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon (or your clean hands), gently mix everything together. If the mixture is too wet to make patties, add a little all-purpose flour or corn starch to thicken it up.
5. Begin to form patties with your hands. Use some flour to prevent everything sticking to your hands too much. Place the patties on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 180C for about 10 minutes, or until the patties have browned slightly on the outside.
6. Once they are done, you can assemble your burger with whatever toppings you like. I like to fry each patty in a little oil for a little crispy crust (about a minute on each side), before making the burger. If you will eat them later, just wrap the patties in foil and freeze. Defrost and heat up on a frying pan.
I filled my burger with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and dill pickle slices, and then topped it with a healthy dollop of cashew cheese and ketchup. The cashew cheese is super easy to make; just blend together soaked raw cashews, a splash of lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Add a teeny bit of water to help it all blend up. It really adds a depth of flavor and creaminess to the burger. I’d love to experiment with more vegan cheese recipes in the future~
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