Mediterranean Burgers with Pesto Sauce

I originally created these in the form of croquettes at my first raw restaurant, Rod's Wrap & Juice Bar. Some of my customers dubbed these my "meatballs" because they have a very meaty consistency. The rich basil-infused pesto sauce creates a wonderful aroma and tastes divine. It also makes a great dressing or dip.

Makes 6 to 8 burgers

For the Patties

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup hulled sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups sprouted lentils
  • 2 cup coarsely chopped purple cabbage
  • 12 cups coarsely chopped celery (about 3 ribs)
  • 1 medium lemon, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 1 hour if not already soft
  • 4 cup cold-pressed olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt

For the Pesto Sauce

  • 1 medium lemon, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup cold-pressed olive oil
  • 4 cup garlic cloves (8 to 10 cloves)
  • 2 bunch parsley leaves (about w cup)
  • 1 cup soaked cashews or pine nuts (soaked 2 hours, drained, and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 cup water, plus extra if needed
  • Romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
  • Red onion slices
  • Tomato slices
  • Alfalfa sprouts

1. Grind the walnuts and sunflower seeds in a food processor or coffee grinder. Remove to a large bowl.

2. Put all the other patty ingredients in a food processor and blend until the texture is fairly smooth but still has some small chunks.

3. Add the mixture from the food processor to the ground seeds and nuts and mix well. The mixture should then be a pâté-like consistency. If it's too wet, add some more grated sunflower seeds. If it's too dry, add some more water.

4. Use your hands to form the mixture into patties and place them onto a ParraFlex sheet on a dehydrator tray. Dehydrate 3 to 4 hours. Flip the burgers by inverting the dehydrator tray onto an empty tray without a ParraFlex sheet and then removing the ParraFlex sheet and the first tray.

5. Dehydrate for another 8 to 10 hours or until burgers are crispy on the outside but still a little spongy. These are best eaten warm right out of the dehydrator, but you can refrigerate them for up to a week if necessary.

6. To make the pesto sauce: Put the lemon first, then all the rest of the ingredients, in a blender. Blend well. (If you are using the pesto as a dressing, you might want it a little thinner; in that case, add more water to achieve the desired consistency.) Serve chilled. The pesto may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

7. To construct your burger, place a leaf of romaine on your plate and set your patty on top of it. Spoon on 2 or 3 tablespoons of pesto sauce, then place a slice of red onion, a slice of tomato, and some alfalfa sprouts on top. Take another romaine leaf and cover the sandwich with it, wrapping the extra part of the leaf under the sandwich and around the back. Your burger is ready to go.

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