Louisa Shafia's Beet Burgers


Soo I know I've blogged about this way back. But these are so darn good they deserve a separate, special posting. Louisa Shafia's recipes are so straightforward, easy, and (most importantly) delicious, that I just can't get enough. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a DC food event District EmporiYUM a few months back and was totally weird and excited about it. I mean we're both half Persian, we both love to cook, we both love the environment and eating mostly veg-ish. We totally have a special bond, right? She even signed a cookbook for me (!) woo!

These have 2 make-ahead ingredients - pre-cooked brown (or white) rice and pre-cooked lentils. Make this entire recipe on a lazy Sunday or use leftovers cooked earlier to maximize your time. 

I do hope you enjoy making these spectacular vegetarian burgers. They are so tasty your friends + family will be constantly asking for them...mine certainly are! 


  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 TBSP grapeseed oil, plus extra for searing
  • 1 cup peeled and grated raw beets (about 1 beet) 
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup walnuts (or improvise! Once I used a mix of almonds and pumpkin seeds) 
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika (sometimes called Spanish paprika)
  • 1/2  cup cooked lentils
  • Sea salt + freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • 1 egg 


  1. Slice the onion to a thickness of 1/4 inch. In a medium skillet, sauté the onion in the oil over medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until it starts to darken and caramelize. Turn down the heat slightly and add the beets along with the garlic, walnuts, raisins, and paprika, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a food processor and pulse several times until chunky. In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture with the lentils, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Replace the food processor without washing and add the rice and egg, and pulse to form a coarse puree. Add the rice mixture to the onion-lentil mixture and mix well with your hands. At this point you can stick in the fridge (for up to a day) and make later. Sometimes useful when you're entertaining and want to do most of the work beforehand!
  3. Lightly oil your hands and divide the dough into 8 portions. Shape each portion into a patty just under 1 inch thick.
  4. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and add oil to coat the bottom. Place the burgers in the skillet and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Gently flip the burgers and turn down the heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the burgers have a firm, brown crust. Serve hot with your favorite condiments

Makes 8-10 burgers