Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr
Total Time
2 Hours
4 servings (serving size: 2 patties and 1/4 cup salsa)

Use leftover cooked pearl barley with lentils, veggies, and seasonings for a hearty main-dish burger sans the bun. Fruit salsa adds bright flavors. Serve with lime wedges for added zest.

How to Make It

Step 1

To prepare salsa, combine first 6 ingredients; cover and refrigerate.

Step 2

To prepare burgers, combine 1 1/2 cups water and lentils in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain. Place half of lentils in a large bowl. Place remaining lentils in a food processor; process until smooth. Add processed lentils to whole lentils in bowl.

Step 3

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and carrot; sauté 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add onion mixture to lentils. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, barley, and next 5 ingredients (through egg); stir well. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Step 4

Divide mixture into 8 portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and 4 patties. Serve with salsa.

Ratings & Reviews

These are great!

October 08, 2015
We've made these a number of times and they are fantastic.  A little labor intensive, yes, but worth it (and it makes so many you can freeze and reheat the extras for quick meals later on).  We usually make the salsa with just tomato, mango, avocado, onion and salt, and we use italian bread crumbs instead of panko (adds a little flavour).  We don't use buns, just a pile of patties and a pile of salsa!  Very healthy and delicious.

Best veggie burgers ever!

August 08, 2016
I've made these burgers over the course of 3 summers & loved them!  Did not get tired of them at all.  In fact, I tossed out my other veggie burger recipe and now only use this one.  The burgers are very filling and salsa adds a complimenting flavor to it.  I agree with other reviews...a little labor intensive but you can store/freeze either the prepared burgers or cooked barley & lentils too.  This is the only veggie burger my son will eat :)I skip the eggs entirely though and use just a bit more bread crumbs.  Never missed the eggs! With this modification, I have made them completely vegetarian. 

Best Non-Meat Burgers I've Made!

September 13, 2015
I was worried about this recipe... seems the more ingredients and labor-intensive, the worse the outcome feels if its no good. These burgers, though, were not that case. I will be making them again and again! My meat-eating husband absolutely loved them.

pmh1957's Review

July 16, 2014
Delicious! A bit time consuming, but the recipe tells you that up front. Today was the first time I tried this recipe, but I will make them again. I might double the batch and freeze the extras. The salsa is the perfect complement to the no-bun burger..

jdyste's Review

June 20, 2014
The burgers were delicious, definitely going to make again. The only thing I'd change is the portion size. The burgers were really small and didn't fill the bun. Next time, I'll double the recipe and make 10 patties.

detailaddict's Review

June 09, 2014
I also found these to be really good. I used red lentils and cooked them only for a short time, bringing them to a boil briefly in vegetable broth, draining and then using the broth to cook the barley (whole-grain, not pearled) while I prepared the other ingredients. I doubled the carrot as I had some already grated and cooked the garlic last to preserve more flavor. Instead of panko I used wheat bran, and taking others' advice I used 2 whole eggs. Like others I also found that the chill period was not necessary. The patties were delicate before cooking but held together well in the skillet. For the salsa I had only mango on-hand, so I subbed some diced watermelon and tossed these with lime juice and cilantro. Served these with supergreens and sliced strawberries. A bit time-consuming for a weeknight supper but a tasty vegetarian recipe that I would make again. .

golnaz27's Review

June 02, 2014
Love, love, love this recipe. Figured out how to make it stay together better: use 3 whole eggs instead of 2 egg whites and 1 whole. The extra yolk totally makes the difference and just takes this recipes to a new level. I also go heavy-handed with all the spices as I like it to be very flavorful and add cayenne pepper for an extra kick (I don't make the salsa). I eat it with plain yoghurt. Yum!

Patyal68's Review

November 23, 2013
This was a great recipe. I added sunflower and pumpkin seeds and got a great crunch. Had them for breakfast with poached eggs, got great smooth finish with the fat from the yolk.

melissaotero's Review

July 29, 2013
great recipe!!! my 2 and 4 year olds ate it all up. even my husband, who originally looked at dinner with a grimace b/c it was meatless, ended up loving it. instead of cooking patties in a skillet, i broiled them - that way they don't fall apart and are crispy on the outside. i will definitely make this again!!!

Uccella's Review

July 01, 2013