Thanksgiving Burgers

Or: lentil-rice-cranberry-thyme-walnut burgers.

That’s what these really are, but that’s far too long a title, and I like Thanksgiving Burgers better anyway. Each one of those ingredients is important though, and with one missing, this burger just wouldn’t be the same.




Around Thanksgiving, there are always sandwiches talked about that have all the season’s fixings on them. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy. I always think that sounds so good other than the fact that I don’t like turkey, and a stuffing, cranberry + gravy sandwich just doesn’t sound as appealing. Lately, I have been craving a Thanksgiving sandwich, so I decided to make one of my very own.

All of the ingredients and flavors in this burger are what remind me of Thanksgiving. And all of the flavors bring me comfort during these cold months.

Lentils: I was cooking lentils the other day and they smelled so buttery. I thought they would be the perfect base for my Thanksgiving burger.
Brown rice: A hearty grain that I love on its own and in vegetarian burgers.
Cranberries: Can’t have a Thanksgiving burger without the cranberries. A sweet/tart punch among the many savory flavors in this sandwich.
Thyme: I am obsessed with it. It is the perfect-to-me cold weather seasoning.
Walnuts: Can’t get enough of putting walnuts in food. They add a great crunchy texture to these burgers.

I would never pass up the real Thanksgiving dinner for one of these burgers, but they will from now on quickly satisfy a Thanksgiving craving whenever one hits. Although these burgers are great plain + right out of the skillet, they are even better on a bun, with melted cheese and sautéed mushrooms.

Thanksgiving, in a burger. Healthy, comforting deliciousness:




Thanksgiving Burgers
Yields 5
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  1. 1 cup prepared green or brown lentils
  2. 1 cup prepared brown rice
  3. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  4. 1/2 cup rolled oats
  5. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  6. 2 celery stalks, diced
  7. 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
  8. 1/2 cup walnuts
  9. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  10. 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  11. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  12. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  13. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  14. 1 tablespoon ground flax
  15. Buns, optional
  16. Cheese of your choice, optional
  17. Sliced mushrooms for topping, optional
  1. There are a lot of little parts to this recipe. I found it easy to do all the little parts as my lentils and rice were cooking, then everything was ready to put together at once.
  2. While the lentils and rice are cooking, place the dried cranberries in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. This will rehydrate them. Let sit for about 25 minutes.
  3. Pulse the 1/2 cup rolled oats in a food processer until they resemble a coarse crumb. Remove from the food processor and set aside in a small bowl.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced celery and onion. Cook for several minutes, or until the veggies are softened and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In a pan over medium-high heat, toast the walnuts. I place them in the pan and toss around for about 5 minutes, or until they smell fragrant and are slightly golden. Once toasted, remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Once all of the parts are prepared and the lentils and rice are slightly cooled, add 1 cup lentils, 2 minced garlic cloves, thyme, salt, pepper and onion powder to a food processor and process until mixture is paste-like.
  7. Add the cranberries, celery and onion and pulse a few times, just to lightly incorporate. You want to retain chunks of the veggies and cranberries.
  8. Add 1 cup of rice, toasted walnuts and ground flax to the food processor and pulse several times, just to lightly incorporate. You want the burgers to have texture to them, rather than being completely smooth.
  9. Add the mixture to a large bowl and add the pulsed oat flour, a little at a time, until the burgers come together and are just slightly sticky. You want to be sure they will stay together when cooked.
  10. Add olive oil to a pan and once hot, add patted out burgers, cooking on the first side until toasted and golden brown. Flip burgers, and cook until other side is toasted and golden brown.
  11. While the burgers are cooking, add the sliced mushrooms to a pan with olive oil and cook until softened. If you want, add some white wine in with the mushrooms and cook until all liquid is absorbed.
  12. Place burgers on a bun and if desired, top with cheese and sautéed mushrooms.
  13. Enjoy!
  1. On their own, these burgers are vegan + gluten free.
  2. These burgers cook well right after putting everything together, but cook even better if mixture is refrigerated a few hours. If you have the time, refrigerate several hours after oat flour is mixed in.
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