Fast Nut Burgers

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

TIME: 20 minutes

If you have a food processor, these take almost no time, making them perfect for lunch or a fast dinner. And you can make a batch of twelve, then shape and freeze them (see Forming Veggie Burgers), almost as easily as a batch of four. (You can even precook them, freeze them, and defrost in a microwave, albeit with some sacrifice in flavor.)

1 medium onion

1 cup walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, or other nuts, preferably raw

1 cup (raw) rolled oats or cooked short-grain white or brown rice

2 tablespoons ketchup, miso, tomato paste, nut butter, or tahini

1 teaspoon chili powder or any spice mix you like (to make your own, see Chili Powder), or to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 egg

2 tablespoons peanut oil, extra virgin olive oil, or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

Grind the onion in a food processor. Add the nuts and oats and pulse to chop, but not too finely. Add the ketchup, spice mix, salt, pepper, and egg. Process briefly; don’t grind the mixture too finely (the results will not be terrible, but a little tougher, if you do so). Add a little liquid water, stock, soy sauce, wine, whatever is handy if necessary; you want a mixture that is moist but not loose.

Let the mixture rest for a few minutes if you have the time, then shape it into 4 to 6 patties. (You can make the burger mixture or even shape the burgers up to a day or so in advance. Just cover tightly and refrigerate, then bring everything back to room temperature before cooking.) Put the oil in a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the burgers to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, more or less undisturbed (you may want to rotate the patties for even browning), then turn. Lower the heat a bit and cook on the other side 3 or 4 minutes more, or until firm.

Serve on plates with any of the accompaniments listed in Serving Burgers, or on buns with the usual burger fixings. Or cool and refrigerate or freeze for later use.

Variations

Nuttier Nut Burger. Handled carefully, these are fine. They’re a bit more delicate, but they taste great: Use 11/2 cups nuts and reduce the oats or cooked rice to 1/2 cup.

Nut-and-Seed Burger. Substitute up to 1/2 cup sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds for half of the nuts or oats.

Vegan Nut Burger. With a little ground nori, these are so good: Omit the egg. Use miso or nut butter, not ketchup, and use soy sauce for the liquid. Add 1/2 sheet crumbled Nori Chips to the food processor.