“For any reluctant vegan who worries that nothing will ever replace the taste or texture of a juicy beef patty, consider the lentil burger. It might not matter so much that lentils are an excellent source of protein, that they are one of the fastest-cooking legumes, or that they are consumed in large quantities all over Europe, Asia, and Africa (even Idaho!). What will impress you is how tender, juicy, and “meaty” they taste. I grew up grilling over campfires, and I know burgers. These are as delicious as they come. Sometimes I’ll even take a few patties with me on long training runs and races.”

“For any reluctant vegan who worries that nothing will ever replace the taste or texture of a juicy beef patty, consider the lentil burger. It might not matter so much that lentils are an excellent source of protein, that they are one of the fastest-cooking legumes, or that they are consumed in large quantities all over Europe, Asia, and Africa (even Idaho!). What will impress you is how tender, juicy, and “meaty” they taste. I grew up grilling over campfires, and I know burgers. These are as delicious as they come. Sometimes I’ll even take a few patties with me on long training runs and races.”

 
Lentil-Mushroom Burgers

1 cup dried green lentils (2 1⁄4 cups cooked)
2 1⁄4 cups water
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1⁄4 cups finely chopped onion
3⁄4 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 cups fine bread crumbs (see note*)
1⁄2 cup ground flax seed (flax seed meal)
3 cups finely chopped mushrooms
1 1⁄2 cups destemmed, finely chopped kale, spinach, or winter greens
2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika

In a small pot, bring the lentils, water, parsley, 1 garlic clove, and 1⁄4 cup of the onion to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 35 to 40 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft.

While the lentils are cooking, combine the walnuts, bread crumbs, and flax seed in a bowl. Add the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and paprika and mix well.

Sauté the remaining onion, remaining garlic, the mushrooms, and greens in the oil for 8 to 10 minutes, then set aside. Remove the lentils from the heat, add the vinegar and mustard, and mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon to a thick paste.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the lentils, sautéed veggies, and bread crumb mixtures, and mix well. Cool in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes or more.

Using your hands, form burger patties to your desired size and place on waxed paper. Lightly fry in a seasoned skillet, broil, or grill until lightly browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Extra uncooked patties can be frozen on wax paper in plastic bags or wrapped.

Makes a dozen 4-inch diameter burgers

*Note: to make the bread crumbs, you’ll need about half of a loaf of day-old bread (I use Ezekiel 4:9). Slice the bread, then tear or cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces and chop in a food processor for 1 to 2 minutes, until a fine crumb results. The walnuts can also be chopped in the food processor with the bread.

 
 
“I first saw these seaweed-wrapped rice packets when I asked a Japanese runner to show me what was in his race pack. I’m grateful I did, because white rice is a great food for cooling your body, especially in hot climates like Death Valley. It’s packed with carbohydrates, it’s not too sweet, and it’s soft and easy to digest. A great source for electrolytes and salt (via the seaweed), rice balls have always been a portable pick-me-up in Japan. These days, you can even find them at convenience stores in Asia. For a soy-free variation, substitute pickled ginger or umeboshi paste for the miso.”

“I first saw these seaweed-wrapped rice packets when I asked a Japanese runner to show me what was in his race pack. I’m grateful I did, because white rice is a great food for cooling your body, especially in hot climates like Death Valley. It’s packed with carbohydrates, it’s not too sweet, and it’s soft and easy to digest. A great source for electrolytes and salt (via the seaweed), rice balls have always been a portable pick-me-up in Japan. These days, you can even find them at convenience stores in Asia. For a soy-free variation, substitute pickled ginger or umeboshi paste for the miso.”

 
Rice Balls (Onigiri)

2 cups sushi rice
4 cups water
2 teaspoons miso
3–4 sheets nori seaweed

Cook the rice in the water on the stovetop or using a rice cooker. Set aside to cool. Fill a small bowl with water and wet both hands so the rice does not stick. Using your hands, form ¼ cup rice into a triangle. Spread ¼ teaspoon miso evenly on one side of the triangle. Cover with another ¼ cup rice. Shape into one triangle, making sure the miso is covered with rice. Fold the nori sheets in half and then tear them apart. Using half of one sheet, wrap the rice triangle in nori, making sure to completely cover the rice. Repeat using the remaining rice, miso, and nori.