Lentil Beet Burgers with Green Goddess Sauce

These Lentil Beet Burgers are vegan, gluten free, loaded with fiber and nutrients, plus they taste amazing! We're serving them sans bun with a zippy sunflower seed green goddess sauce to make them even better.

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Whenever my friend Nina travels home from Hawaii, we always try to find some time to cook together.  Usually she comes back at the end of summer, but this year she came in early June, and even though her trip was brief, we still managed to sneak a day in the kitchen.

Since Nina normally comes home in August, we're usually overloaded with our favorite vegetables like Jersey corn and tomatoes. But this year, since she was here so early in the season, we had to change up our usual plan of action. To make matters slightly more challenging, Nina, who once introduced me to the most amazing bacon studded potato salad (recipe coming soon!), recently announced that she's gone vegan. Or, well, "mostly vegan," as she'll tell you. In fact, one of the main reasons she had to cut her stay short is because she recently opened up her own little business at a local Hawaiian co-op called Nina Cucina, selling locally sourced, homemade plant-based food.

Close up of a stack of six lentil beef burgers.A blue plate with a fork containing a lentil beef burger and a smear of green goddess dressing.Our day started off with a tour of my garden, where we picked beets, carrots, celery, herbs and tons of arugula. We decided to improvise on few different plant based salads: one with farro, one with lentils and one with arugula (which, I'm STILL swimming in, by the way). In addition, I showed her how to make these beet burgers, and she showed me how to make this sunflower seed green goddess sauce. It all worked together really well, and it looked even better on a plate.

Top view of a large white plate with a green salad and avocado slices topped with a lentil beet burger.

When I posted a picture of said plate on Instagram, I was flooded with recipe requests. Way more than usual. I fully expect my friends to ask me for ice cream cake and fried cheese recipes, but I have to say, I was surprised to see how many people were begging for this one. It felt good to know there's such a high demand for sustainable, plant-based recipes in this community. and it encouraged me not only to post this one on my blog, but to post more plant based meals moving forward. After all, we do eat quite a few of them in this house. But lets not get carried away. We still love meat (and fish and eggs and ice cream), and have no plans to stop eating it (in moderation!) any time soon.

I can make these beet burgers in my sleep, thanks to an amazing family I used to prepare meals for every week when I worked as a personal chef. Their diet was completely vegan and gluten free, and these were in heavy rotation on their menus. And it was for good reason: they're packed with nutrition, they're freezer friendly, they're filling and totally delicious.

Three beautiful pink lentil beet burgers frying in a cast iron skillet.Stack of lentil beet burgers on parchment paper surrounded by fresh beets.

These lentil beet burgers are hearty, earthy and pack a nice umami punch. I call them "burgers" because "patties" just doesn't sound as nice, but the idea of putting them on a bun is odd to me. You certainly could, but I just don't see why you'd want to. With their bright pink center and crispy browned exterior, they mimic the appearance of an actual beef burger, and would totally look the part on a bun. But they're a bit starchy - with all the oats and lentils and what not - and I think throwing bread into the mix would just be overkill. Plus, I feel that if you're going to eat something this healthy, should probably just go all-in.

That's where this lovely little pale green condiment comes into play. Nina soaked sunflower seeds overnight and brought them over to make her favorite green goddess dressing. We had a ton of carrots from my garden, so she opted to make it with carrot tops in lieu of the usual herbs. It tasted good, but carrot tops have a rough texture, and my inferior blender struggled to fully break them down. So the end result was good, but lacked the super smooth texture she was used to. This time around, I made it with a whole bunch of fresh herbs instead, and it tasted even better.

Top view of a blue dinner plate with a lentil beet burger and green salad.Close up of a stack of lentil beet burgers next to a small bowl of green goddess dessing.

This sauce is rich, smooth and tangy, which is amazing when you consider the ingredients. Soaking sunflower seeds overnight not only makes them easier to digest, it also makes them soft enough to be blended into creamy sauces and dressings like this one. I kept it thick to use more like a spread, but it can be thinned out with more water and/or lemon juice to make a lovely salad dressing.

It will keep in the fridge for about a week or so, maybe even longer depending. The fresh herbs will eventually start to turn brown, and even though it will still taste fine, it's just not the same without the vibrant green hue. The burgers, however, will also last about a week in the fridge, but they freeze really well, too. I love keeping these on hand for a quick, healthy and satisfying lunch. They reheat beautifully in the toaster oven straight out of the freezer. When I don't have any green goddess dressing lying around, I like to douse them in hot sauce instead.

Now that it's August, I'm cooking up all the tomatoes, corn, zucchini, eggplant and cucumbers I can get my hands on, while patiently waiting for the figs to arrive. I miss having Neen around to brainstorm new recipe ideas, to teach me all about photography (did I mention she's a pro??), and to generally encourage me to "get weird," both in and out of the kitchen. But at least now every time I make this recipe, I think about our fun, wine-fueled day in the kitchen last June, and wonder what we'll make together the next time... which hopefully, maybe, possibly (fingers crossed!) will go down in Hawaii. A blue plate with green goddess dressing, lentil beet burger, and side green salad next to a fork.

One Year Ago: Thai Cucumber Salad
Three Years Ago: So... I Started a Blog 
(Happy Birthday to US!)

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A blue plate with green goddess dressing, lentil beet burger, and side green salad next to a fork.
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Vegan Green Goddess Sauce

This sauce is rich, smooth and tangy, which is amazing when you consider the ingredients. Soaking sunflower seeds overnight not only makes them easier to digest, it also makes them soft enough to be blended into creamy sauces and dressings like this one.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 cups


  • 1 cup sunflower seeds soaked in water overnight
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup basil leaves packed
  • ½ cup chives roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste don’t skimp
  • water to thin as needed


  1. Drain the sunflower seeds and rinse under cool water. Shake to remove any excess water, then transfer to a blender. Add the garlic, basil, chives, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend on high, adding water a little bit at a time as needed, until totally smooth and creamy. Depending on your blender, this could take several minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Chances are you'll need more salt. Add more lemon juice as desired for a tangier dressing, and thin it out with more water to achieve your desired consistency. Be sure to taste and preseason after adding more water, as it will dilute the flavor.
  2. Transfer to a jar or squeeze bottle. Keep refrigerated for up to one week.


Serving: 1/4 cup

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Close up of a stack of six lentil beef burgers.
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Lentil Beet Burgers

These Lentil Beet Burgers are vegan, gluten free, loaded with fiber and nutrients, plus they taste amazing! We're serving them sans bun with a zippy sunflower seed green goddess sauce to make them even better.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 burgers
Calories: 204kcal


  • 2 medium or 3 small beets scrubbed clean
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil divided, plus more for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup green lentils
  • ½ medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cups chopped button or crimini mushrooms
  • 2 sprigs rosemary stem removed
  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ cup cashews sunflower seeds, or any other nut or seed you prefer


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the beets on a piece of foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then close up the foil to enclose the beets. Roast for about 60-90 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a knife. Set aside and allow to cool, then remove the skins and roughly chop.
  2. Bring the lentils and 1 ½ cups of water up to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer. Cook over low heat until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain any remaining water, then set aside to cool.
  3. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, mushrooms and rosemary leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until they're softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  4. Add the oats to a food processor and process on high until they become a fine powder, about 30 seconds to one minute. Add the cashews and process until they're also a fine powder, another 30 seconds to one minute. Add the beets, mushrooms onions, salt and pepper, then pulse to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. When the vegetables are fully incorporated, add the lentils and pulse until a homogeneous mixture is formed. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for about 1 hour. This step can be skipped, but a chilled mixture will be easier to form into patties.
  5. Heat several tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Divide the mixture into 6 portions. Dampen your hands with water (this will help prevent the mixture from sticking) and gently form a loose patty. Place it in the pan and repeat with 2 more (adjust the amount to fit your pan as needed). Use your spatula to gently press down on each patty to flatten it and shape it into a burger. Cook until browned and crisp, then carefully flip and cook until browned and crisp on the other side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then repeat with the remaining patties.
  6. Serve with a green salad and green goddess dressing or hot sauce, if desired.


  • This recipe was adapted from one I found on the internet several years ago. I made a few changes to the original and then pretty much memorized it. I searched high and low to find the source, but could not locate it, so if this is your recipe, please let me know so I can give you the credit!


Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 529mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 3mg

LENTIL BEET BURGERS with GREEN GODDESS SAUCE | This easy vegan + gluten free recipe for lentil beet burgers is a great plant based burger recipe with sunflower seed herb sauce! Loaded with fiber and nutrients. #vegan #glutenfree | ColeyCooks.com

5 from 9 votes

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  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely loved these burgers. Due to time restraints I grated the beetroot and pan-fried it instead of putting it in the oven. I also added two teaspoons of cumin and some chilli. The consistency of the burgers is probably the best that I've experienced with all of the vegetarian burgers that I have made highly recommend

  2. 5 stars
    This is a new fave! Thanks so much!
    They cook up great in my air frier and mine hold together well! crispy on the outside!
    Question though--at what point do I add the rosemary sprigs? When chopping nuts in the food processor? (The sprigs are listed in the ingredients but aren't in the directions--unless I missed it!)
    Also, I made a triple batch to freeze, and when I clicked on 3x to triple the recipe (super handy feature!!) it didn't triple the amount of water for the lentils (probably because it wasn't listed in the ingredients, but in the directions). I caught it in time.
    I'm SO excited to have a stock of these in the freezer (I'm freezing the balls/patties on parchment, and tossing into ziplocks, to later thaw and cook up for easy dinners on busy nights. THANK YOU!

    1. So glad you loved this, Molly! Thanks for asking about the rosemary - it goes in when sautéing the onions but as long as it gets blended up in the food processor you can't go wrong. I'll adjust the recipe to include it.

  3. 5 stars
    These came out really good! Mine didn't turn out nearly as red as yours but looked eerily like real beef. I used pre-cooked beets so maybe that's why? They formed together well and didn't stick to my hands since I used gloves. Basil is out of season right now so I couldn't make the dressing but will I'll definitely make this again in the summer and try them together! Thanks!

    1. So glad to hear that Katy! Sometimes red beets can be really vibrant, and other times a little more pale and brown, especially after roasting. The color doesn't matter! You can always sub in other herbs for the basil in the dressing - it's really forgiving. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    I made these tonight with the green goddess dressing. I stayed with the recipe as is and they were perfect! They held together very nicely after chilling for 1 hour. The dressing was a perfect accompaniment. I agree with the no-bun option.
    My question is... Do you freeze them before or after you fry them up?

    1. So glad you enjoyed them! I've always frozen the patties after cooking, then you can just pop them into the toaster oven to quickly reheat. Hope thats helpful!

  5. 5 stars
    These were good, but i couldnt get them to stick together. They were just mushy. Ii added some flour and panko bread crumbs which seemed to work: what did i do wrong? Should i use more oats next time ?

    1. I'm sorry to hear that! Sometimes if the beets are a little too juicy it can make the mixture a little too wet, and thus hard to form. Thanks for pointing this out - I'm definitely going to add a note in the recipe. Extra oats / oat flour will do the trick to get them to bind together. Hope they work better for you next time!

  6. 5 stars
    I love beet burgers, I love how you've included other veg and herbs to help the beets. Looks ready for a burger bun!

  7. 5 stars
    Well that explains it. When I saw these on Instagram I didn't even recognize them as a Coley recipe! You made vegan and gluten free look good!

    1. Haha, thanks!!! I've been inspired to clean it up a bit more lately. I say that as I've just posted a recipe for fried dough. But you know, balance!

  8. 5 stars
    I love beets but I'd never considered using them in a burger! Will bookmark this one! Thanks for sharing!