The Ultimate "Meatball Burger

This hearty burger will fulfill any meat lover. Stuffed with greens and loads of protein, then topped with the perfect homemade pizza sauce, it’s an all-in-one type of meal! Recipe Reprinted with permission from Vegan Burgers and Burritos by Sophia DeSantis, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. 

Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Gluten-Free, Italian, Sandwiches, Vegan
Keyword burger recipe, vegan burger recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Fridge 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 5 burgers
Calories 223 kcal
Author Anjali Lalani


  • 2 cups mushrooms , chopped
  • 2 cups kale , chopped stems removed
  • 1 tbsp garlic , chopped
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth , or a drizzle of oil for sauteing
  • 1.5 cups brown or green lentils , cooked
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs , gluten-free if needed
  • 1/2 cup oats , gluten-free if needed
  • 1/4 cup walnuts , chopped
  • 1/4 cup Quick-and-Easy-Pizza Sauce , ingredients below
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 teasp sea salt

Quick-and-Easy Pizza Sauce (ingredients below yields 2 cups):

To Serve:

  • 5-6 buns
  • chopped sauteed kale
US Customary - Metric


To Prepare Quick-and-Easy Pizza Sauce:

  1. Put all the ingredients listed under pizza sauce above in a bowl and mix well. (see notes below for some tips)

To Make the Burger:

  1. Saute the mushrooms, kale and garlic with broth or oil over medium heat until the mushrooms are soft and the liquid has evaporated (about 10 to 15 minutes). Set aside.

  2. Place the the lentils, bread crumbs, oats, walnuts, sauce, thyme, basil, oregano and salt in a food processor and pulse until well chopped. You want a crumble-like texture. Check to make sure the mixture sticks together, and if it doesn’t, pulse some more, but make sure it doesn’t turn into a purée. You can also add a bit more pizza sauce if it doesn’t stick yet, however, you don’t want it to be too wet.

  3. Place the mushrooms, kale and garlic into the processor, making sure not to add any leftover juices, and pulse a few times until everything is well chopped and incorporated. If the ingredients aren’t mixed after a few pulses, put the mixture in a bowl and mix it with your hands.

  4. Place the mixture into a bowl, and put it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes; an hour is best. Making this the day before and letting it sit overnight is optimal. This helps all flavors marinate and leads to a sturdier burger.

  5. To cook, shape the mixture into patties. If you’re not using a nonstick pan, then you may want to prepare the pan by brushing it with a tad of oil to avoid sticking. Place the patties in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat for 15 minutes on each side. Pans and stovetops vary, so begin to check the patties at 10 minutes. If you try to slide your spatula under a patty and it won’t give, then it isn’t ready and needs to cook longer. 

  6. You can also bake the patties on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 375F (191C) for about 20 to 25 minutes on each side. Allow the patties to cool and set for 5 to 7 minutes.

  7. Serve on buns with the toppings of your choice.

Recipe Notes

Quick-and-Easy Pizza Sauce:


Kids - Make patties into a smaller slider size or into nuggets. Serve sauce on the side as a dipper.


To Serve - I personally toasted the buns, and served with slices of onion, more pizza sauce, and some fresh baby spinach. You can also chop up the patties and serve over a bed of fresh greens and favorite dressing or sauce for a salad option.


Nutrition Information - Only includes the patties (i.e. does not include buns for serving)

Nutrition Facts
The Ultimate "Meatball Burger
Amount Per Serving
Calories 223 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Sodium 623mg27%
Potassium 643mg18%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 2750IU55%
Vitamin C 35.6mg43%
Calcium 106mg11%
Iron 5.1mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.