Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Bookmark Project: Walnut Oatmeal Burgers

Cauliflower, potato, onion, cabbage, beetroot, sweet potato, corn, beans, black eyed peas, kidney beans, lentils, brown rice, wheat, soy granules, tofu.

These were some of your guesses when I asked about the two main ingredients of this veggie burger.

All good guesses, and to be sure, over the years I have made veggie burgers with most of these ingredients. But when I spotted this veggie burger on the blog Everybody Likes Sandwiches , the recipe sounded outlandish enough that I just had to bookmark it and try it.

So, dear readers, the two main ingredients of this burger are oats and walnuts!

Mamatha guessed oats correctly (congratulations :D) as did an anonymous reader. No one guessed that this burger is also chock-full of walnuts.

I followed the burger recipe quite closely. It could not be simpler. Walnuts are ground up, then combined with oats, flavored with onions, garlic and herbs, seasoned and the mixture is held together with eggs and some milk. The burger mixture is refrigerated for an hour or so, then formed into 8 hearty patties. At this step, one expects to brown the patties in a skillet, but after browning, this burger is actually cooked in some stock. This was another unusual step.

My modifications (based on what I had on hand): using 2 eggs instead of 3, using dried oregano and thyme in place of the sage, using sooji/rava (semolina) in place of the breadcrumbs and using mushroom stock instead of vegetable stock.

As they were browning, the kitchen filled up with a very savory and unmistakably meaty smell. Not meaty enough to put me off, but meaty enough that it might fool a meat-eater into thinking that this is a "real" burger! There is some chemistry going on here which turns the combination of a nut and a grain into something quite unexpected. These burgers are tasty and very hearty. With all the grains in the burger, we decided to forgo the buns- they would have made the meal too carb-heavy even for me.

To go with the burger, I wanted something crunchy and savory. I had been leafing through Ellie Krieger's book The Food You Crave and a recipe for baked onion rings caught my eye. So, in response to Kamana, who asked, "I can never get my onion rings to crisp and stay that way. how do you fry yours?", the answer is simple- I don't fry them :)


The recipe called for an unusual ingredient to coat the onion rings with some sought-after crunch and crust. I got several guesses for this ingredient- cornflakes, panko, rice, coconut, semolina, vermicelli- but Manisha was spot-on when she guessed that the onion rings were baked and that the crust was made with crushed kettle chips. Yes, indeed these onion rings are coated with crushed potato chips. Manisha, how did you know?

The recipe for the onion rings is here. I added other spices (aleppo pepper, oregano, basil) to the buttermilk mixture and also the crushed potato chips for some extra flavor, and otherwise followed the recipe closely.

For once in my life, I opened a bag of potato chips and did not scarf them down in a few nanoseconds. Instead, I placed them in the food processor and helplessly watched them being pulverized. It was a bit of a challenge to crush the potato chips into a fine powder, and to get them to cling to the onion rings, but we did our best and the results were fantastic. The onion rings are incredibly crunchy and addictive!

Finally, my sincere thanks to all those generous souls who left me fantastic suggestions for the Boston trip. I'm only going there next month but will return with a report of everything that I managed to fit into the oh-so-short trip.

Meanwhile, I have some cabbage and avocados in the fridge and there are some black beans soaking on the counter. Let's see what I can make with these ingredients! Have a great week, everyone.


  1. Sounds too rich to be real Nupur -- oats and nuts! I wonder how they would be with steel cut oats. I must admit I am not a veggie-burger fan, but this looks so inviting :)

    Yummy onion rings too!

  2. It's ironic you are posting this. Just last weekend a friend told us about walnut veggie meatballs they had. My friend's mom made it for her daughter's husband who's veggie. They served it with all other items on the table for xmas dinner, and everyone ate them happily not realizing they were meat-less! :)

  3. Looks and sounds good! I just got back from buying some ingredients to make your fabulous looking chocolate cake to feed my regular 'cake-hunger pangs'..I'm working on a paper- so maybe sometime into the night I'll take a break and bake..:). How dark was the bitter-sweet chocolate you used. I bought some 70% chocolate- will that be ok, or should I have gotten something 'darker'?

  4. walnut and oats seems yummy!

    And so they were chips... what fun :)

  5. I was just waiting to know whats there in the onion rings... Interesting :)

  6. Healthy ones! love the onion rings, nice click

  7. Hey Nupur
    The burgers sound yummy..will definitely give them a try. And I love Ellie's baked onion rings-these days it has become my favorite thing to make when I crave fried goods...

  8. I've had oven baked onion rings on my must-try list forever. These pics made me drool recently. And then you went ahead and made it, too :-D

  9. I just h ad a really good veggie burger at, of all places, the hospital. I certainly don't want to go back there, but I am craving the veggie burger. Will need to try this one - I love walnuts.

  10. Hi.. me just newbie in this blogging world and have been fan of your when I received this award I just thought of passing this to you as I really love your blogs !!
    So do collect your award @ my blog.. Congrats !!

  11. Linda- It is so rich with all those nuts, but tasty and nutritious too :) Steel cut oats might be too "nubby" for this use, I would recommend sticking to old-fashioned oats here.

    Jennifer- LOL, I can totally see these burgers fooling people as well! They are made with walnut meat, after all ;)

    Lavanya- That choc should work.

    Raaga- Yes, they were apna potato chips, it is a fun recipe :)

    Vidhya- Now you know!!

    Parita- Thanks.

    Rara Avis- They certainly satisfy the craving for fried crispy foods :)

    Manisha- Aha- drool-worthy pics indeed! These are dead easy to make and taste very very good :)

    Amy- Oh dear :( Not the happiest place to look for a good bite to eat, and I hope you never have to go back. This burger is definitely worth a try!

    Several tips- thanks.

    Kanchan- Thank you for the award! It is very sweet of you to give it to me.

  12. Long time reader. Deluriking to say, you are one of my "I love your blog" awardees :)

    Your Pav Bhaji recipe is a great hit with my guests!

  13. Oh, those onion rings look delish, Nupur!

  14. Hey Nupur I brought a whole bag of Daliya- because it looked pretty nuts I know. Now I have no clue what to make with it. Can you post any recipes with daliya?

  15. The Print Lover- Why, thank you very much! :)

    A_and_N- They tasted even better!

    SJ- I don't have ANY daliya on hand at all- so no can do, unless you want to send me some of your daliya ;)
    Have you tried the food blog search engines? Try searching for "daliya", "dalia" and "cracked wheat".

  16. Hey, I check your blog once in a few months....and today somewhere i saw you mentioned that you are visiting Boston next month.
    I live in a town outside of Boston, and you are most welcome to stay with us.
    It would be great to meet up!

    Take care,

  17. these look fantastic - I want to try both of them. Nuts and oats sound just the thing for meaty burgers.

    I have one question - do the burgers soak up all the stock or can you reuse the stock? This is such an unusual step that I am curious.

  18. nice!

    Can these be made and frozen for later use (just reheat and use)?


  19. Yashodhara- Thank you, that's a very sweet offer :)
    As it happens, we are staying with a couple of different friends, so we are all set for this trip. Hope all is well with you!

    Johanna- The burgers soaked up most of the stock, and what I did was pour out the rest (did not reuse it) and wiped the pan and oiled it again for the next batch. You can get away with adding less stock than is mentioned in the recipe. But the oats do soak up quite a bit of the stock and swell up.

    Ajay- I have not tried freezing the cooked burgers, so you will have to try that for yourself to see if it works.

  20. Yes! I knew these were potato chips the minute I saw them. A tad late, I guess. Saw them on Not without salt as well. Fried, sinful goodness.


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