Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin and Sunflower Seed Burgers

I told you you'd see some repeat ingredients. What? I'm allergic to nuts. I like seeds. There just aren't that many kinds of seeds readily available. So I eat a lot of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. And so does my family.

I used to think that pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds were just something to add a nice crunch here and there. And indeed they do just that. But first the buttermilky seed purée I incorporated into the Dreamy Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup and now these burgers have convinced me that there is way more to seeds than crunch. They are actually quite flavorful and filling. Kind of earthy when raw, smoky when toasted. And you know what else is great about them? They're super cheap, especially when you buy them in bulk. You should add them to your list of staples.

As I was making these burgers, I got nervous every step of the way. This is because I was making them before my epiphany about how flavorful seeds are. I feared they would end up bland or weird. But then they ended up coming together nicely, from a texture perspective, and then they baked evenly, which was affirming because I'd never baked a veggie burger before (I usually pan fry) and was delighted to find that baking doesn't result in a dry or crumbly burger. And then, finally, they were SO YUMMY. No individual ingredient took center stage. The flavors combined into something completely unique and, I guess, well, savory. That's the best word I can come up with. The earthiness of the seeds + the little spice kick from the cheese and hot sauce + the herby undertones from the cilantro and parsley = delectably savory. If I had to identify a favorite veggie burger, I am still partial to spicy black bean burgers (both generally and in my own kitchen), and I still encourage you to try out those inside-out chickpea burgers of my early blogging days if you haven't yet. But, frankly, I can't wait to make these again next week. They are so delicious and easy. They've sealed the deal: I will never eat a Gardenburger again.

Pumpkin and Sunflower Seed Burgers collage

uncooked seed burgers

Where aesthetics are concerned, however, they leave something to be desired. Veggie burgers aren't photogenic. I tried.

baked seed burger

But look how happy I look eating mine!

me eating seed burger

With my bra showing! And my cute daughter being all cute and cute for the camera!

Dinner is so wonderful when you are eating super awesome healthy delicious seed burgers next to the goofiest toddler in the world!


Oh, you wanted the recipe? Here you go.

Pumpkin and Sunflower Seed Burgers
Inspired by a nut burger recipe from Edible Twin Cities, Number 22, Fall 2010

3 ounces raw sunflower seeds
4 ounces raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or more cilantro)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard (optional)
1 teaspoon Tapatio or other hot sauce
1 tablespoon lemon (or lime) juice
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 slices day-old bread, torn into small pieces
1 cup shredded chipotle cheddar (if you can find it) or pepper jack cheese
1-2 shallots or green onions, chopped (or 1/4 cup regular onion)
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing baking dish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet, toast seeds over medium heat, stirring frequently, until starting to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.

In a mixing bowl, using a fork, beat together egg, herbs, mustard, hot sauce, lemon juice, paprika, salt, and cornstarch. Add torn bread, stirring to moisten. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the bread to absorb some moisture and the seeds to cool completely.

Place the shallots or onions and celery in food processor. Pulse a few times until they are finely chopped. Add toasted, cooled seeds, bread mixture, cheese, and olive oil. Pulse several times, until the ingredients are well combined but the consistency still has a bit of grittiness to it. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions, about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2 an inch thick. Shape each portion into patty, place on a greased baking dish and bake for 15-18 minutes, until lightly brown and firm to the touch (mine were done right at 15 minutes).

Serve on whatever bread you prefer with whatever vegetables and/or condiments you prefer. (These are great on English muffins with guacamole!)


  1. I know I'm probably supposed to comment on the burgers (which sound amazing by the way- Edith, you are sort of a hippie artsy creative culinary genius) but all I can focus on right now is your daughter's long locks of hair. When did her hair get so long???? It's so frickin cute! It's time for some hair accessories! She's just beautiful, and I can't stop staring at her.

  2. Yum. I love all forms of burgers, especially veggie burgers when done right!! I'm excited to try this recipe!

    Sadie's hair IS really long! It kind of grew a lot in a short time!!! It's super cute and is the shag look, she's such a hipster baby.

  3. Re: Sadie's hair: I know! It just grew a lot all of the sudden! And it's totally shaggy. The left side is much longer than the right and she has a giant cowlick in the center of her head. It's cute and suits her wonky personality.

    Re: burgers: Thanks, Nic for calling me a hippie artsy creative culinary genius. My dream in life is to be any kind of hippie artsy creative genius. (Or even just mediocre but likable.) These burgers really are super good. Lisa - you'll love them. They are better than the mole enchiladas.