Alumni Recipe: Wild Rice & Lentil Veggie Burgers | Natural Gourmet Institute

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Alumni Recipe: Wild Rice & Lentil Veggie Burgers

Posted June 29, 2017

NGI alumna, Laura Lea Goldberg attended the part-time Chef’s Training Program and graduated in 2013. Today, she is a Certified Holistic Chef and food writer in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Her website, LLBalanced, provides easy, nutritious, family-friendly recipes that make eating healthy a pleasure and that help restore balance to your life.

In Laura’s new cookbook, The Laura Lea Balanced Cookbook, the rubber of old-fashioned home-cooking meets the road of new healthy-food. With over 120 approachable, comforting, make-ahead recipes, her first cookbook reaffirms that balance is possible: you can find the joy, relaxation, and healing of cooking for yourself, family, and friends during these frenetic times.

Check out the recipe for these delicious Wild Rice & Lentil Veggie Burgers from her cookbook below!



  • 1 cup raw wild rice, rinsed and drained thoroughly
  • 2 cups plus 1⁄3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large Medjool dates, pitted and chopped into 1⁄4-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1⁄2 cup rolled oats
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 15-ounce can brown lentils, rinsed and well-drained
  • 7 burger buns or English muffins
  • Avocado, tomato, red onion, or lettuce (optional garnishes)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. To a small saucepan, add wild rice, water, and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer on the lowest setting possible. Cover with a lid and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the water looks completely evaporated. Remove saucepan from the heat and keep covered another 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. If you see leftover water when you fluff, just add rice to a colander and drain extra water. Place rice in the refrigerator to cool (either in the saucepan or colander) for 20 minutes.
  2. While rice is cooking, place pecans on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes at 350° F. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. Heat a small sauté pan to low heat and add 2 teaspoons olive oil. When oil moves easily around the pan, add garlic, dates, and onion powder and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is softened and fragrant, approximately 1 to 11⁄2 minutes. Do not allow garlic to start turning brown. Remove mixture from the heat and set aside to cool to lukewarm temperature.
  4. To a food processor, add rolled oats, remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt, pepper, and dried basil. Pulse until the oats turn into a grainy flour consistency similar to cornmeal. Add garlic/date mixture, cooked wild rice, pecans, and lentils. Pulse until the mixture forms a chunky paste—you should still see some whole pieces of wild rice. Taste for more salt and add accordingly—I usually add an extra 1⁄2 teaspoon.
  5. Use slightly dampened hands to form mixture into 7 patties, using 1⁄2 packed cup mixture per patty. Flatten them to approximately 1-inch thickness. Note that this is a dry dough, so you can use a little water to smooth the sides. Place patties on a baking sheet or large plate.
  6. Heat a grill pan to high heat and brush with remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. When grill pan is smoking, add burgers. Allow to cook without touching, until patties have achieved nice grill marks, approximately 3 minutes. Flip using a flat spatula and repeat. Turn heat to low and cover patties with a piece of aluminum foil or a large stainless steel lid. Allow burgers to steam for 3 minutes before serving.

Burgers will keep tightly sealed in the refrigerator for 4 days.

Click the image below to order Laura’s new cookbook, The Laura Lea Balanced Cookbook!