French Onion Burgers with Onion Au Jus and Horseradish-Chive Sauce



I’m slowly expanding my vegan pantry.   One thing at a time.  Because some of the ingredients are expensive and I want to purchase these things in moderation.  But I figure if I do this slowly, one dish at a time, it won’t seem so bad.

And, to be honest, these burgers pretty much make everything better.

All right.  I’ve made lots of veggie burgers.  Usually with cheese and some sort of egg product as a binder.  But, as I am venturing over to the vegan side of things more and more (think up to my knee now instead of just testing the water with my toe), I’m learning that you don’t always need cheese and eggs to make things taste great.  And it’s actually a true testament to how good these burgers taste because I didn’t sneak a piece of glorious cheese on top.

There’s a few different pieces to these burgers, so it sounds like a lot of work.  But it really actually isn’t-you just need to plan accordingly and strategically.  I spanned these burgers out over two days (which is funny because even though I plan what I make in advance, I rarely make recipes that take several days’ preparation because I am impatient.)  I just cooked the lentils, rice, and onions the night before so I wouldn’t have to do it the next day (do you have enough pots for this?  Because I barely did.).  If you do this, you can pretty much make everything else the next evening/afternoon…even as a semi-quick weeknight meal.

What can I say?  Other than the au jus sauce is to die for, the horseradish-chive sauce is fantastic, and the burgers have a great, earthy flavor.  Serve with some chips and some beer, and you can go into a guilt-free happy vegan food coma.



French Onion Burger with Onion Au Jus and Horseradish-Chive Sauce

Servings: 4



For the burgers:

2/3 cup cooked lentils (Use whatever you have on hand.  I used some mixed sprouted lentils.)

1/3 cup cooked rice (I used Wehani)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 small yellow onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

3 tablespoons tamari

1 flax egg (to make a flax egg, whisk together 1 tablespoon ground flax and 3 tablespoons water, and let sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes.)

2/3 cup chopped cremini mushrooms

2/3 cup vital wheat gluten (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand.)

2 tablespoons water

Olive oil, for brushing the burgers before baking

4 pretzel rolls, toasted

For the Onion Au Jus:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 yellow onions, slice

1/8 teaspoon, plus 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 cup dry vermouth

4 cups vegan beef broth

2 tablespoons tamari

1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce

For the Horseradish-Chive Spread:

One 8-ounce container vegan cream cheese

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

2 teaspoons water

1/2 teaspoon agave nectar

1/4 cup chives, sliced




1. For the burgers:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the lentils and rice, mashing to combine (leave the mixture a little chunky if you like.)

3. Add the garlic, onion, paprika, tamari, flax egg, mushrooms, and vital wheat gluten, mixing until thoroughly combined.

4. Divide the mixture into four equal patties, and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. **At this point, you can chill the burgers overnight if you want to make them the next day.

5. Lightly brush each burger with olive oil, and bake until lightly golden, about 30 minutes.

6. For the au jus sauce:  In a large pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering.

7. Add the sliced onions and 1/8 teaspoon of salt and cook until the onions are softened and golden, stirring frequently, about 35 minutes.

8. Add the vermouth and cook for about 2 minutes.

9. Add the broth, tamari and Worcestershire sauce, stirring to combine.  Brine the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

10. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

11. Strain the onions, reserving the broth, and set the onions and the broth aside, keeping each warm (if you are planning on making everything in the same night.)

12. For the horseradish-chive sauce:  In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, lemon juice, horseradish, water and agave and process until smooth.

13. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and add the chives, mixing until combined.  Chill until serving time.

14. To assemble the burgers:  Spread the horseradish-chive sauce over each toasted bun.  Place a burger on each bun and top with some of the cooked onions.  Serve with warm au jus sauce.


Source:  Barely adapted from VegNews, August 2013 issue.



July 23, 2013 - 7:53 am

natasha minocha - Hi, I’m so ready to try this recipe! It sounds smashing and good for you. But, I’m curious why would use vital wheat gluten here?

July 23, 2013 - 12:13 pm

srlacy - Hi Natasha-

I wondered the same thing. Here is an excellent link that helped explain it to me:

July 23, 2013 - 1:41 pm

Rachel - These burgers look awesome! I am so happy that you are doing more and more vegan recipes. I have been following your blog for awhile and it is one of the only ones I read that is not 100% vegan because I love that you use fresh, whole ingredients and I can usually make it vegan anyway.
Just wanted to say thanks – I really love your vegan recipes. Thank you again :-)

July 23, 2013 - 2:12 pm

srlacy - Aww, thanks Rachel. I appreciate that comment. And, if you ever have any good ideas for vegan substitutions, I would appreciate that as well!

July 23, 2013 - 3:59 pm

Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl - I can’t even handle how delicious these look!! I am especially excited about the horseradish-chive sauce. That pretty much sounds out of this world!

July 23, 2013 - 4:09 pm

srlacy - It totally is! And you can throw whatever else you might like in there, too. Next time I might add in some extra spice!

July 25, 2013 - 11:29 am

Mushrooms Canada - These burgers sound amazing! Lentils and mushrooms make excellent burger patties. Thanks for sharing your recipe!!


July 28, 2013 - 5:08 pm

Joanne - I definitely dabble in vegan fare a bit also and it is always refreshing to find a new cool way to make something without eggs or cheese! These sound fabulous. I’m always looking for new bean burgers in my life!

July 31, 2013 - 3:19 pm

Lisa - Loving your beautiful site and so excited to try your recipes. I wondering how much vital gluten to put in the lentil mixture please? thanks!

July 31, 2013 - 7:15 pm

srlacy - HI Lisa-

Thanks for the kind words. It’s 2/3 cup. It’s updated in the recipe now. Thank you!

August 6, 2013 - 5:40 pm

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan - I’ve been eyeing these burgers since I picked up the new VegNews! Now you are giving me the push to just make them!

August 12, 2013 - 6:05 am

Favorite Recipe Roundup – July Edition Peanut Butter + Banana… | My Blog - [...] Peanut Butter + Banana Waffles2-Layer No Bake Peanut Butter Brownie BarsLasagna Rolls with Tofu Ricotta and Everyday Tomato SauceMelon Basil Summer RollsDouble-Dipped Chocolate Covered Frozen BananasFrench Onion Burgers with Onion au Jus and Horseradish-Chive Sauce [...]

August 17, 2013 - 12:57 am

Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper - This looks amazing, what a great idea!!

October 18, 2013 - 7:13 pm

Emily - Hey! I just wanted to mention a quick disclaimer about the pretzel roll part – be careful about the ingredients in those! They’re often brushed with egg to get that crispy part, and often have butter in them! Be careful!

Black Bean and Quinoa Soft Tacos



I’m going to ramble on and on about how tasty these little tacos are.  So bear with me, ok?  Ok.


So, yeah, there’s this thing called quinoa.  We all know it’s nutritional capacity: the little powerhouse of protein that it is.  You can make cute little patties, cute little bites, breakfast, muffins, or even just a salad.  I get it.  It’s versatile.  It’s also a commonly used name on one of my new favorite Pinterest boards.  But I didn’t know you could make tacos with it.  Until I saw a recipe for quinoa nachos from one of my favorite magazines, VegNews (vegan-friendly, FYI, with lots of useful information on the environment/ethical/economical impact of going vegan…it’s brilliant, in my opinion.  Check it out.)

Not having tortilla chips on hand, I DID have some about-to-go-bad sad and lonely tortillas in the fridge.  So, I opted for some soft tacos instead….and I did put a little cheese on top, so it wasn’t 100% vegan, but just use whatever substitute you like.  Now, if you don’t want additional carbs, skip the tortillas all together and make a little quinoa bowl out of it.  One night, I just threw the leftover quinoa in a bowl, heated it up, and mixed in a mashed avocado and some tomatoes and onions and had a nice little dinner while catching up on the Bachelorette. (Any thoughts on this season? My opinion?  All the seasons are starting to get pretty predictable.  And I bet Drew will be the next Bachelor.  I could be wrong.)

The amazing thing about this quinoa dish is the amount of flavor that’s there.  I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t meat…and I am being honest with you here.  It was great.  So, if you are looking for a Meatless Monday easy conversion meal, here it is.  I don’t think you will miss it.



Black Bean and Quinoa Soft Tacos

Servings: 4-6



1/4 cup safflower oil (or vegetable oil)

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons dried sage

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 cups cooked quinoa (I used a mixture of pearl and red quinoa)

1 cup (or just use one 15-ounce can) of black beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (If you are a strict vegan, make sure you use a vegan-friendly brand)

Pinch sea salt

For the tacos:

Tortillas (I used 6-inch four because that’s what I had on hand; warming them slightly in the microwave will help with assembly)

Spinach, tomato, onion, cheese, etc.



1. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat until shimmering.

2. Add the onion, garlic, sage, oregano, red pepper flakes, chili powder, and ground cumin, and cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Add the cooked quinoa, black beans, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, mixing to thoroughly combine.

4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes.

5. Assemble each taco as desired.


Source:  Adapted from VegNews.


July 18, 2013 - 8:18 am

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I’m so happy you had tacos on hand, because I wouldn’t want these any other way! They look perfect!

July 18, 2013 - 2:36 pm

Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl - These sound SO good! I love using black beans in tacos, but your addition of quinoa sounds even better!

July 20, 2013 - 11:31 am

Anne - I love your focus on whole, healthy foods! I cook meatless dinners several times a week and have bookmarked a ton of your recent recipes to try!

July 20, 2013 - 2:25 pm

srlacy - Thank you, Anne!

July 21, 2013 - 11:43 am

Emily - These sound so good. I am always on the look out for new vegetarian or vegan taco recipes. I am making these for dinner.

July 25, 2013 - 3:07 pm

Daniel - Great looking tacos and healthy too, you can not asked for a better combination than this. Gonna give this recipe a try this weekend, i have been looking to try some quinoa based dishes ever since i have come across an article listing its benefits, and this sounds like a great way to do it. Thanks.

October 22, 2013 - 9:58 pm

Carisa - Mmm! I just made these, they were ABSOLUTELY delicious! Thanks so much for your culinary genius as this is just one of many dishes I have tried of yours :D

Roasted Strawberry and Ricotta Bruschetta




Here’s a little slice of heaven.  Or several slices of heaven.

I bought some strawberries.  You know, the kind of strawberries that you can smell them before you see them-because they are so ripe and juicy and just beautiful.  I wasn’t sure what to do with them, but in a moment of desperation because all of the chocolate in my apartment was gone (how’d that happen?), I decided to just go on the fly and come up with something on my own.

Enter the roasted strawberry.  Not a new concept (here’s a great salad that uses them), but roasted strawberries are simply amazing.  The flavor changes into something out of this world, in my opinion.  And roasting them is super easy to do.  I had some leftover ricotta from another recipe I had made, but usually ricotta is one of those things that just sits in the fridge and goes bad.  So I decided to mix together some ricotta, honey, vanilla, and orange zest-just to see what happened.  What happened was me, standing in my kitchen, eating slice after slice of these little guys, perfectly content if the world ended in the next second..because this might be the best thing I’ve had in a while.  I reduced some balsamic vinegar to drizzle on top just for a little something extra.  In the end, I lost the toasted baguette and just ate the strawberries and ricotta out of the bowl while reading, so it truly was my version of heaven.

You can serve these up as a nice finger food for a summer party, but, honestly, these are great as a dessert.  My next addition to this recipe?  Getting my hands on some chocolate balsamic vinegar.

Thanks for visiting my happy place.



Roasted Strawberry and Ricotta Bruschetta

Servings: about 10 bruschetta



1 pound strawberries, cleaned, hulled, and halved lengthwise

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt

1 cup ricotta (I used part-skim)

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon orange zest (or more, depending on your own tastes), plus more for garnish

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 baguette (I used a demi-baguette, so I wouldn’t have leftovers), sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices and toasted




1. For the strawberries: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Line the strawberries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

3. Lightly drizzle the olive oil over the strawberries, gently tossing to thoroughly coat.

4. Sprinkle the sugar and salt evenly over the strawberries.

5. Roast the strawberries for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

6. For the ricotta mixture: In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, honey, vanilla, and orange zest, mixing until combined.

7. For the balsamic reduction:  Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring the vinegar to a boil, letting boil for about a minute or so.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer the vinegar until thickened and syrupy, about 3- 5 minutes or so (watch it closely-the cooking time will depend on the quality of the vinegar you use).  Remove from the heat and let sit until you are ready to use it.

8. To assemble:  Spread 1-2 teaspoons of the ricotta mixture over each crostini, top with strawberries, and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Garnish with orange zest, if using.  Serve immediately.


Source:  A Curvy Carrot original.

July 15, 2013 - 12:17 pm

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Roasted strawberries are so lovely, and this sounds awesome! What a fabulous way to use and enjoy summer berries!

July 15, 2013 - 3:53 pm

Mr. & Mrs. P - Lovely little bites!! Who wouldnt love this????

July 16, 2013 - 1:16 am

Therapy for the Conceal-a-holic | ...of pirouettes and concealers - [...] hors d’oevres.. why don’t I cook more [...]

July 17, 2013 - 9:32 am

Sweetphi - Wow, these look amazing! They seem perfect for strawberry season, can’t wait to try them!