I have a little bit of a food hoarding problem. As far as problems go, it’s pretty low on the urgency scale, but I do have a pantry (and fridge and freezer) overflowing with food.
My kitchen has a small pantry closet lined with shelves. When we moved into this house 6 years ago, I had come from a home with a tiny kitchen and I only had one small cabinet for canned and dried goods. This new pantry seemed enormous, and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to fill it. Flash forward to today where I now I have a kitchen overflowing with nuts, seeds, grains, dried beans, and pastas along with a plethora of canned foods, various vinegars, and assorted condiments.
At first glance, one might not even notice that I have a problem. I have a touch of OCD, so everything is neatly organized. I keep most of my grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and flours in labeled jars. Some are in the pantry while others are in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresh.
On closer inspection, it’s easy to see where the problem lies. I have a tendency to buy an ingredient for a particular recipe I’m working on and then just put what’s left in the pantry afterward with no plan for using it. I recently took stock of what I have to discover seven different types of rice, four different varieties of pasta, three types of breadcrumbs, and countless different flours. There are jars of various dried grains, four different types of mustards, and too many hot sauce bottles to count. Let’s not even get into the pre-cooked food packing the freezer.
When Dynise Balcavage of Urban Vegan fame started a month-long Vegan Pantry Raid Challenge on Facebook, I realized this was my opportunity to cook with the ingredients I had on hand and save some money at the grocery store while in the process.
The goal of the challenge is to cook with the food we already have on hand, only buying perishables and necessities such as fresh vegetables, non-dairy milk, and tofu. It’s a great way to cook through pantry lurkers and get creative in the kitchen.
This month, I’ve been cooking through my food stash, making overnight oats, chia puddings, burrito bowls, sushi bowls, stir-fries, and curries. I even enjoyed a little mango sticky rice for dessert a few times. I’m happy to have cooked my way through quite a bit of my stash, and I’ve definitely saved money on groceries.
I’ve had a small jar of lentils in the pantry for quite a while, and my goal early on in the month was to make something with it. Since it’s summer, lentil soup didn’t seem appropriate. I also had an inordinate amount of rolled oats and a bag of walnuts lurking in the freezer. A plan to make Walnut Lentil Burgers was hatched.
This Walnut Lentil Burger recipe is based on my favorite lentil loaf. Leftovers of that beloved loaf make excellent sandwich filling, so why not skip the loaf and go straight to the sandwich?
These burgers are easy to make and chances are that, like me, you already have a lot of the ingredients on hand. They’re hearty and filling, so I have a feeling that even die-hard omnivores will enjoy them. I like to top them with my favorite cashew cheese sauce, lots of pickles, and lettuce and tomato. They would also be delicious with caramelized onions and mushrooms, vegan pepper jack cheese and jalapeños, or even hot sauce and coleslaw.
Lentil Walnut Burgers
Pile these Lentil Walnut Burgers high with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, or whatever your favorite burger fixin’s are.
For the Burgers
- ½ cup toasted walnuts
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons minced onion
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- pinch cayenne, optional
For Serving, Optional
- Whole wheat buns
- Vegan Cheese Sauce
- Sliced tomatoes
Preheat your oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Grind the toasted walnuts and rolled oats in a food processor until they resemble a course meal. Be careful not to over process them, or you’ll end up with walnut butter.
Mix together all of the burger ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mash the lentils as you go. (Using a potato masher helps.)
Form the burgers into four patties. If you have one, a ring mold will help shape them, but forming patties by hand is completely fine.
Bake the burgers for 10-12 minutes. Flip them and bake for an addition 8-12 minutes. They should be golden brown and firm.
Serve the burgers on whole wheat buns with your favorite toppings.
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