It's no small secret that there are serious health benefits to plant-based diets (lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cholesterol, to name a few), but even so, for hard-core carnivores, forgoing meat is easier said than done. Fortunately, there's wide range of delicious options out there that deliver the essential proteins without sacrificing flavor. Our current obsession? The veggie burger at by CHLOE, chef and Cupcake Wars champ Chloe Coscarelli's new fast-casual vegan eatery in the heart of N.Y.C.'s Greenwich Village. "The patty is hearty and the combination of lentils, walnuts, and tempeh or brown rice give it great texture," she tells InStyle. "Add whatever toppings you prefer—my favorite is lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, red onion, and beet ketchup." Below, her go-to recipe for making the burger at home.
1 8-oz package tempeh or 1 cup cooked brown rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can lentils, rinsed and drained
1 cup walnuts, toasted
½ cup all-purpose flour, or gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp canola oil
1 bun or two slices of bread
1. Fill a large pot with enough water to reach the bottom of a steamer basket. Using a knife or your hands, break tempeh into four pieces and place in the basket.
2. Cover and steam for 20 minutes. Check the pot occasionally and add more water if necessary. Steaming the tempeh will remove bitterness (if using brown rice simply skip this step).
3. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté onions until soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and cook a few more minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Reserve skillet for later use.
4. Add steamed tempeh (or rice), lentils, walnuts, flour, basil, salt and pepper to the onions in the food processor. Pulse until the walnut pieces are very fine and the mixture comes together. If necessary, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix with your hands. Adjust seasoning to taste.
5. Form the mixture into eight burger patties with the palms of your hands.
6. Heat canola oil in reserved nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and pan-fry patties in batches, adding more oil as needed. Flip the patties, and let cook until they are nicely browned on both sides.
7. Remove patties from pan and drain on paper towels.
8. Top patties with desired toppings, place on buns, and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way ($17; amazon.com)