Vegetarian burgers with zingy pickle and pesto sauce

Recipe by Kelly Gibney

These meat-free burger patties are full of rich, savoury flavour and will be an absolute crowd-pleaser. Serve with a big dollop of the zingy pickle and pesto sauce and some homemade kūmara fries.

Makes 6 patties


  • 1 medium onion – finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves – finely diced
  • 250g portobello or swiss brown mushrooms
  • 1 medium carrot – finely grated and squeezed tightly of liquid
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fried oregano
  • 1 plant-based vegetable stock cube
  • 1 can brown lentil – rinsed and drained well
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1/2 cup flour (can use GF all purpose if needed)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (use GF if needed)
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • Olive oil for sautéing


  • 1/2 cup good quality mayo
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 10 slices McClure’s bread & butter pickles – dice


Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Cook the onion until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the mushrooms, carrot, fennel seed and oregano. Increase the heat a little and sauté for 5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and glossy.

Crumble the stock cube over the top and mix through well. Use a potato masher to mash the lentils until about half are broken up.

Allow to cool completely and then add the egg, flour and breadcrumbs, along with a generous seasoning of salt and cracked black pepper.

Use damp hands to make 6 patties. Place these in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

Cook in a sauté pan in 1 cm of hot oil until golden brown on each side.

Mix together the sauce ingredients.

Serve burger patties in brioche buns with lettuce, tomato, avocado, radish, a generous dollop of pesto and pickle sauce. Finish with a couple of slices of McClure’s Bread & Butter pickles.

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