Makes 6 burgers
Total time: 1 hour || Active time: 30 minutes
There are plenty of ideas out there for what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers, and those creations are some of my favorites in the world. But what if it’s the beginning of November and you don’t yet have any Thanksgiving leftovers? Well, how about I transport you to the day after Thanksgiving; except without all those dishes, without all the travel and without all of those classic “jokes” where your great-uncle twice removed tries to make you eat turkeys?
Enter the from-scratch Thanksgiving Burger. It’s an unholy carbfest: think stuffing that’s stuffed in a roll! Lentils provide that proteiny burgerness, mushrooms add that earthy umaminess and hazelnuts aren’t only deliciously festive here, but they add great texture, too. And of course, you’ve got to have cranberries. Here, they are dried and studded throughout the burger like ruby jewels, providing little bursts of tart sweetness. All of the stuffing stand-bys — your celery, sage and thyme — are accounted for, too. You’re basically eating a beautiful Bob Ross landscape of the prettiest autumn foliage you ever did see. But in burger form. And believe me, you will give thanks with every bite!
~Canned lentils work super great here. But if you don’t have any, make sure to account for the time it will take to boil some up.
~I used kale as my green, but it wasn’t completely untouched. I rubbed it with a little olive oil and salt. I think, though, that arugula (plain and unadultereated) would be a fantastic green to use instead.
~Mayo was my spread of choice for sure. I think ketchup would be too overpowering with these babies.
~I can see some food processors not doing the best job of chopping hazelnuts. If yours is such a machine, chop them by hand, using a clean kitchen towel over the cutting board and your chef’s knife. PS don’t bother peeling the hazelnuts. The skin doesn’t disturb anything here.
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Small yellow onion, diced medium
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dry rubbed sage
4 cups baguette sliced into cubes
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup hazelnuts [see note above]
I cup cooked lentils (brown or green)
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries
6 sourdough rolls
Kale [or your preferred greens, see note above]
Vegan mayo (storebought or homemade)
Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan non-stick (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat. Saute onion in one tablespoon olive oil for about 3 minutes with a pinch of salt, until translucent. Add mushroom, celery, garlic, black pepper, thyme and sage and saute for 7 to 10 minutes, until mushrooms have released most of their moisture.
Add baguette cubes, and drizzle in the other tablespoon of oil. Toss bread to coat in the mixture and cook for 5 minutes or so, tossing often, to lightly brown the bread.
Add the vegetable broth and use your spatula to really mush the bread up in the broth, so that it absorbs all the liquid and resembles stuffing. Let it cook about 3 more minutes, to sop up all the flavor.
While everything is cooking in the pan, place hazelnuts in food processor and pulse until they are chopped (not pureed.) Pieces should range from itty bitty to pea sized. Transfer nuts to a large mixing bowl. (No need to clean it out for the next step.)
Add the lentils to the food processor and puree until relatively smooth. Now add the bread mixture from the pan into the processor and pulse 10 to 15 times. You want the mixture to hold together, but there should still be mushroom and celery visible, it shouldn’t be a puree.
Transfer this to the mixing bowl with the hazelnuts. Add in the cranberries and salt. The cranberries like to stick together so make sure you separate them. Combine thoroughly, using your hands if need be, to form a firm but still malleable mixture. Taste for salt and pepper.
Let the mixture cool completely. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or so, just to help it firm up and let the flavors meld a bit.
Rinse out your cast iron, and preheat on medium-high. Roll the burgers into 6 equal sized tennis balls. Wash your hands often and keep them a little damp during this process for that the burgers don’t stick to your hands. Flatten into 1 1/2 inch thick patties.
Cook in a thin layer of oil for about 4 minutes on each side. Serve on buns with greens and mayo. Die of happiness!
YUMMMMMM my kids love burgers! This has to bet the best thing I have ever seen. We always made crazy leftover sandwiches growing up. I am so excited.
These bad boys are cooking in my cast iron pan as we speak! The only thing is that the mixture is a bit liquid-ey. Any suggestions? Maybe let the mushrooms cook down more?
Little tears of joy are forming in my eyes just looking at this…..
I got 9 burgers so I guess yours are huge. And, I agree, why all the celery hate? It’s crunchy.
I made these for dinner tonight and they were amazing! I am bringing the plant-based, whole-food portion for everyone to try this Thanksgiving and these will be the star. Thank you for all your recipes. Everything has been great.
I made these tonight, with no variation to the recipe, and I could not get my patties to stay together when cooking. Like a few of the other people who left comments, I’m left with a delicious pile of mush. Any suggestions as to what could have gone wrong?
Oh we don’t want mush! Add more bread, and keep cooking until it comes together.
So excited to try these – and I have a half bag of kale left over from the Potato and Kale enchiladas (thank you Veganomicon) I just made.
These look so good Isa! I’m not American but decided I am going to celebrate thanksgiving this year and make these burgers! Love from London xx
I CANNOT FIND THE AMOUNT OF LENTILS TO USE IN THE RECIPE AND AM WRITING OUT MY GROCERY LIST. HELP!
Such an airhead! Found the amount!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I made these stuffing burgers last week (they were amazing), and I got to thinking, how would these work minus the burger and served just as stuffing? I would probably leave out the second half of the recipe (lentils, cranberries, nuts), but do you think it would dry out? Should I add a little more broth before throwing the delicious mush into the oven?
Super silly question….would the recipe be ruined without garlic and onions? I’d love to make them, but a family member has severe allergies to them!
How necessary are the nuts for the flavor and texture? Any substitutions, or should I just leave them out?
Oh damn, Isa! These are so good. I am making them (again!!) for a ppk potluck, but I can’t stop eating the goo! It is SO good!
What are baguette cubes? Is that bread? What area in the store would I find them at?
I can’t find cremini mushrooms,what type can be used in its place?i really want to make these for Thanksgiving and serve with gravy over them:))
I am planning to serve this as a loaf at Thanksgiving, but am giving it a trial run this weekend. Can you suggest a glaze to top the loaf with or a sauce to serve it with? I am soooo excited! I baked some gluten-free french bread last night to use in the recipe, and I am off to the farmers market now to grab some celery!
Im going to shape them into more of an oblong shape and serve with homemade creamy cranberry bbq sauce, Topped with greens. NOM.
@2:40 Lisa…I believe Cremini mushrooms are sold as baby (porto)bello mushrooms.
These tasted absolutely delicious, but as others said, mine came out super moist and mushy. They did not hold their burger shape in the pan, and we ate them as balls of mush. I used extra bread and only 1/2 the vegetable broth, so I don’t know how to fix it. Unfortunately, we didn’t know to take the hazelnuts out of the shells before they went in the blender so none of us could really eat them anyway.
We were looking for a stuffing substitute and gave these a trial run today. Awesome! Isa, you’re my new favorite web goddess and can’t wait to cook more of your stuff. Really nice flavors here. I used chanterelles because they’re great and plentiful in the PNW this time of year. I threw the kale into the pan when frying the patties to wilt it beforehand, and drizzled a dash of walnut oil over the top. They were softer than I would like, but I should add that I’m not precise with measurements, I go by texture. Here’s what I’ll do next time- a little more bread, and more of the crusty bits; leave the nuts on the chunky side, and maybe give them a little bread crumb coating to crust it up.
Made these yesterday with wholegrain bread instead of a baguette, and they wouldn’t bind together. Ended up pressing the mixture into a greased muffin tin and baking them, but they still wouldn’t quite stick together. Subsequently I’ll be eating these with gravy and mashed potatoes – so still awesome, but not burgers =/
Would it be alright to use ground sage instead of dry rubbed? I’m thinking between 1/4-1/2 tsp is the right conversion?
Yeah sounds good!
Becky L Duncan
I took this to my family’s early Thanksgiving as my main dish. I 86ed the bun and smothered it in gravy. So good and so easy. I over pureed a bit and will leave it more chunky next time. Still amazing! Will have a repeat on proper Thanksgiving soon. Yay, Isa!
I don’t see a printer friendly button on here.
How can I print this great recipe without
printing like 20 pages?
Made this last nite for me and my wife… came out purrrfect. Thanksgiving in our mouths. Isa we love you.
just adding my vote to the “made it, loved it” box. Thanks Isa!
These are incredible! I made them a day in advance and opted to bake them since I was skeptical that I’d be able to keep them in one piece if I tried to flip them in a skillet. They came out perfectly, reheated beautifully and were delicious served without the bun with a little cranberry sauce on top. My first vegan Thanksgiving was a success! Thank you Isa!
This is amazing! Better than I could have dreamed. WOW!
Just made these for a potluck and the omnis loved them! Asked for the recipe! Total success and going into my regular rotation. Time to be thankful all year round! My heart is full of gratitude for your awesome recipes Isa!
What’s the nutritional value?
I made these patties for thanksgiving with mushroom gravy. So delicious! Thank you for the recipe! They were enjoyed by vegans and non vegans with great cheer!!
I made these today because I went to a friend’s for Thanksgiving and didn’t have any leftovers. I used canned lentils, walnuts, and stale ciabatta. They were absolutely delicious and exactly what I craved. Thanks for all you do, Isa – you have really redefined vegan cooking and eating!
i could eat my fingers while eating something like this…
These have been dubbed “probably the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten” by my carnivorous boyfriend. We followed the recipe (except the celery) and ate them open faced on ciabatta with arugula and cranberry chutney. Thank you!!
Just made these for a house full of kids. They were a hit! Rarely do we find something that everyone can enjoy. We all thank you!
Christa @ Edible Balance
Wow, I’m drooling here!! Any chance these would work without the bread to make it grainfree??
I made these for my vegan daughter for Thanksgiving and we all thought it was delicious. Followed the recipe exactly. Served without the bun as part of the meal.
I made these burgers for Thanksgiving Day and served them with your mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy. They were so outstanding! The recipe made 16 smaller patties. I only had 2 left over. A good amount of prep work, but boy are they worth it! I will definitely make these again. The vegan mashed potatoes were also the best! Thanks Isa for such good ideas and wonderful food. Love your videos.
I made these for thanksgiving! I added some breadcrumbs to make them a bit less mushy and baked them for a SUPER long time at 375, flipping them every 15 minutes until they were browned and firm. They were fantastic on a plate, on a bun, on a salad, etc. Everyone requested the recipe!
This recipe was amazing! Even the turkey eaters loved it! Thanks!!!!
Hey I want to make these for Christmas! These look so amazing and I’ve been hearing about them this whole season everywhere and I’ve just been needing a reason to justify spending the money on the hazelnuts and Christmas is a good reason!
I have a quick cooking question regarding the recipe. Do you think I could use fresh cranberries in some way rather than dried? I’m not big on dried raisins or cranberries and I think fresh ones would make it nice. Do you think that’d work and if so should I just put like halved berries into the mix the same amount as the dried ones as is? should I boil them a bit first? Thanks.
Sorry if that was already asked, there were too many comments to read through.
I’ll probably post and link and talk about this recipe on my blog before and after I make it. 🙂
I made these with gluten free bread and they were fantastic! It tasted like Thanksgiving in my mouth….loved them so much we are making them for the holidays (along with some recipes from my new Isa Does It cookbook).
Just made up a double batch, my second time making these. Love, love, and love.
I made these the week after Thanksgiving when I realized the small pan of dressing (“stuffing” for non-Southerners) I made was not sufficient for my craving, and I called them my after-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving croquettes. Very, very yummy; they took me back to Thanksgiving dinner with every bite (akin to Anton Ego from Ratatouille :o) ).
I sub’d half the baguette for cornbread (because I like cornbread stuffing) and used pecans instead of hazelnuts. I didn’t dare put this carb avalanche in between bread, so I simply served it over mixed greens. Delicious!
Thank you very much for this and Happy New Year!
Jesus this looks good! Making ASAP, thanks! 🙂
I would rate these about a 5 in terms of inspiration but only a 3.5 out of 5 in taste when made according to recipe because while they had a fairly good flavor they were still somewhat lacking which is unusual for PPK recipes. Tonight I will make gravy to top them for added flavor. For the future, here are my notes:
Be generous with onion/garlic, sage/thyme plus add some tamari along with salt. Measure out black pepper to at least 1/4 tsp. Investigate various poultry seasoning blends to discover other herbs to add to the mix. Maybe rosemary? Dash of Worcestershire sauce?
These came together quite easily as burgers and here are my notes to making these work:
Start by cutting up four slices of bread which should equal enough for recipe and leave them in a bowl to get stale. Preferably overnight. I used Alvarado St. Bakery’s “California Style Complete Protein’. Four slices gave me four cups.
I got 5 burgers which means each one has less than one slice of bread in it. Not as carb heavy as originally thought.
Cook 1/2 cup lentils in 1/5 c. H2O for 30-40 minutes. This should yield slightly more than 1 c. cooked lentils.
Smack 1/2 c. whatever nuts you’re using in a ziplock bag with hammer. I used pecans.
Saute veggies, add seasonings and nuts. Then add bread, then broth. Bread will begin to brown and you can mush it up in the large pan with a fork just fine. Liquid will be absorbed into bread and it does break down/pull together into stuffing.
I only processed lentils and not stuffing. Mixed them together in a large bowl & stuck in freezer to cool faster. I would probably process lentils less next time by possibly just using potato masher on them in a bowl, thereby avoiding food processor entirely.
NEXT STEP IS HOW I MAKE ALMOST ALL MY VEGGIE BURGERS>>>>>>
Have a plate of preferred flour next to your bowl where you’ve divided mixture into portions and rolled into equal sized balls. Drop one ball at a time into flour and roll around while compressing it. Use as much or as little flour as necessary. Then squash down into burger. Tidy up edges while compressing inward. Use spatula to fish out of flour and onto sheet to await cooking or onto a square of foil to wrap up for later use.
These held together as burgers just fine and could easily be baked as well as fried. Looking forward to making these again and experimenting on boosting overall flavor.
I can make my own burger in the house! lol. This is the best thing I love in searching different blogs coz I can always learn new things 🙂