Caramelized onions and walnuts…WOW! The title alone says it all, doesn’t it? This caramelized onion walnut burger is my latest vegan (and gluten-free) burger recipe and it is as deliciously superb as all my others–and that’s a tough act to follow! Walnuts give it a wonderful rich taste and of course add healthy omega-3 fatty acids to its nutrition. I use sprouted red rice in this variation for those of you who are gluten-sensitive (black rice also works beautifully) and both are a nice source of fiber and protein but if gluten-sensitivity is not an issue for you, you can also replace the rice with the same amount of cooked whole farro or wheat berries. Of course my staple pureed black lentils are a constant in this variation; I couldn’t do without them!
Caramelized Onion Walnut Burger
- Chewy Base:
- 1/2 cup dry red or black rice
- 1 cup canned black lentils rinsed and well drained (packed!)*
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium sweet onions chopped (makes 3 cups raw chopped)
- 1/2 cup ground raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- GETTING EVERYTHING READY:
- Preheat a medium pan and when hot, add the olive oil and 3 cups chopped raw onions and cook, uncovered while stirring for a few minutes.
- Turn down the flame to a simmer and continue to cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, until the onions are caramelized to a golden brown, then turn off the stove and cover until ready to assemble. You will end up with 1 cup cooked caramelized onions.
- Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup dry red or black rice in 2 1/2 cups boiling water and cook uncovered, until water has evaporated (about 20-25 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. You will end up with 1 1/4 cup cooked rice.
- Place the raw walnuts in the bowl of a small food processor and grind until medium fine (it shouldn't be a powder) and set aside (you will end up with 1/2 cup ground walnuts).
- Place the rolled oats in the bowl of a small food processor and grind until coarsely ground (it shouldn't be a powder) and set aside.
- Place the canned (or cooked) lentils (make sure they are well rinsed and drained and they are well packed in that cup!) in food processor and grind, scraping the sides to form a paste. Transfer to a cup and set aside.You will end up with about 3/4 cup pureed lentils.
- Place the caramelized onions, ground walnuts, ground oats and pureed lentils in a medium bowl and stir gently with a spoon.
- Add tomato paste, dijon mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper and stir again.
- Add the cooked rice last and, using your hands, "dig in" and work the mixture so that it forms a ball.
- Form into 7 equal patties (I like to use a big ice-cream scooper to make them more regular & compact and finish forming the patty with my hands). you can refrigerate or freeze at this point until ready to grill.
- When ready to grill, drizzle a little olive oil in a large non-stick skillet and heat over high heat. When the pan is very hot, place the patties on the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Optional: Use a pastry brush to coat each patty with BBQ sauce (if using) on both sides (about 1 Tbsp per patty) and serve on soft wheat buns with garnishings.
Recipe for my BBQ sauce, if using: