America's Test Kitchen Lentil and Mushroom Veggie Burgers


  • 1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 ounces cremini or white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 shallot, quartered
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can brown lentils, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 6 slices deli cheese (optional)
  • 6 hamburger buns


  1. Pulse mushrooms, cashews, shallot, and celery in food processor until finely chopped, about 10 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer mixture to large bowl and stir in bulgur, water, oil, and salt. Microwave, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and bulgur are softened and mixture looks dry, about 6 minutes.

  2. Lightly spray base of air-fryer basket with canola oil spray. Vigorously stir lentils, bread crumbs, and mayonnaise into vegetable-bulgur mixture until well combined and mixture forms cohesive mass. Using lightly moistened hands, divide mixture into 6 equal portions (about 1/2 cup each), then tightly pack each portion into 1/2-inch-thick patty.

  3. Space desired number of patties at least 1/2 inch apart in prepared basket. Place basket into air fryer and set temperature to 400 degrees. Cook until patties are golden brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Top with cheese, if using, and continue to cook until melted, about 1 minute. Transfer burgers to plate. If desired, arrange bun tops and bottoms cut sides up in now-empty basket. Return basket to air fryer and cook until buns are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Serve burgers on buns.

  4. Evenly space remaining patties on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Stack patties, separated by parchment paper, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in zipper-lock freezer bag. Bake frozen patties as directed; do not thaw.

"Why This Recipe Works: The complex, savory flavor and satisfying texture of this homemade vegetarian favorite are well worth the effort, and as an added bonus these burgers can be made ahead and frozen for a quick weeknight meal. An earthy mix of lentils, bulgur, and panko paired with aromatic shallot and celery gave these burgers a deeply flavorful base. Cremini mushrooms lent meaty flavor, and a surprising addition of ground cashews amplified meatiness even more. Pulsing everything in the food processor made for a cohesive and even-textured mix, and mayonnaise provided necessary fat to bind our burgers. After forming the mixture into patties, we cook them in the air fryer to develop a crunchy, browned exterior. Do not confuse bulgur for cracked wheat, which has a much longer cooking time and will not work in this recipe. Serve with your favorite burger toppings."