Curried Cashew Burgers

Summer 2002, The Essential EatingWell Cookbook (2004)

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If you're looking for a veggie burger with a great "meaty" feel, these are the ones to try. The secret is toasted cashews, which give them amazing flavor as well as texture. The red lentils cook surprisingly fast, keeping the active time brief.

"We have no need to buy any more of those store bought vegetarian burgers after trying these! Absolutely fabulous! Next time we make them we're going to add black beans. Other than that - no changes. "
Curried Cashew Burgers

Makes: 6 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1 cup diced peeled carrots, (2-4 medium)
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed (see Ingredient note)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion, (1 medium)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 cup Cucumber-Mint Raita, optional (recipe follows)
  • 3/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 6-inch whole-wheat pita breads
  • Lettuce & sliced cucumber, for garnish

This recipe calls for:


  1. Combine 2 cups water, carrots, lentils and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Partially cover and simmer until the lentils are tender and falling apart, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain in a colander, gently pressing out excess liquid. Transfer to a plate; let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, toast cashews in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring, until golden and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, curry powder and the remaining 2 tablespoons water; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Prepare Cucumber-Mint Raita, if using.
  5. Pulse the cashews in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the lentils and the onion mixture; pulse until the mixture is cohesive but still somewhat textured. Transfer to a bowl and stir in breadcrumbs, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; mix well.
  6. With dampened hands, form the mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties, using about 1/2 cup for each.
  7. Using 2 teaspoons oil per batch, cook 2 to 4 patties at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until evenly browned and heated through, about 4 minutes per side. Cut small ends off pitas and open the pockets. Serve burgers in pitas, with lettuce, cucumber and the raita, if desired.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through step 6. Wrap patties individually and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.
  • Ingredient Note: Red lentils can be found in many supermarkets and virtually all natural-foods stores.


Per serving: 437 calories; 15 g fat (3 g sat, 9 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 65 g carbohydrates; 16 g protein; 9 g fiber; 753 mg sodium; 496 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (50% daily value), Fiber (38% dv), Iron (25% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 4

Exchanges: 3 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 lean meat, 2 1/2 fat

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