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Pepita-Sunflower-Sesame Burgers

These protein-packed burgers are loaded with the flavor, texture and nutrition of three kinds of seeds. Pepitas are hulled green pumpkin seeds and are available at natural food stores and Hispanic markets. Try these burgers with a raita (Indian yogurt salad) sauce.



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½ tsp. salt
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¼ cup plain dry bread crumbs
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2 Tbs. olive oil, or more as needed
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2 tsp. tahini
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½ cup hulled sunflower seeds
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⅓ cup pepitas
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¼ cup sesame seeds
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¾ cup cooked lentils
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4 scallions (white and light green parts) finely chopped (¼ cup)
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1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. In food processor, combine sunflower seeds, pepitas and sesame seeds and process until coarsely chopped. Add lentils, scallions, parsley, tahini, salt, cayenne and bread crumbs; process until mixture is blended.
  2. Shape mixture into 4 patties and place on platter. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  3. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook burgers until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

Nutrition Information: 

11 g
Total Fat: 
23 g
Saturated Fat: 
3 g
21 g
353 mg
6 g
4 servings

Comments on this Recipe

Hi Dee Tahini is sesame seed paste. It's yummy on toast too :)

I always add extra tahini.

These sound yummy, and on a miserable day like today, very tempting, will certainly try them, but will probably use ordiany pumpkin seeds.

These burgers are awesome! They freeze well too.

I've been experimenting with lentil based burgers and these are fantastic. I did add some seasonings, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 tsp. Spike and 1 T. chia seeds. I only needed 1 T. bread crumbs to make them hold together. Even my meat lover husband thought they were tasty...I'll convert him yet!

Pepitas are regular pumpkin seeds... they are just the inner meaty part of the nut and are green in color. These have been hulled so they are just without the outer white shell. I would imagine using the ones with the shells would be pretty woody in the burgers. Kinda like using sunflower seeds in the shells. I would not recommend it.

These are super tasty and filling. I would highly recommend them. I ended up adding a bit more olive oil and some cumin and garlic. Yum!

This is exactly what I was looking for. I used to make similar "burgers" years ago and have not quite been able to duplicate the old recipe I used to use.

I'm a new vegetarian. What's Tahini?

I am a well-experienced cook, but only a recent convert to a vegetarian diet. As such, I'm still learning so many things such as vegan substitutions, what to add to make the flavors 'pop', etc. Currently I'm trying to find that really satisfying burger recipe. This is about the third one I've made and while my husband and I found the flavors of this one delightfully delicious, we've yet to figure out what to do to make the burgers not 'crumble'. Is there a trick of sorts or an ingredient to make them bind together better? Appreciate any advice or suggestions.

This recipe is great. To me, it lies somewhere between falafel and a burger. It is true that the burgers turn out a bit crumbly using the recipe as written. However, I found that this did not matter too much if using a liquid condiment (for me: extra tahini, mustard, and hot sauce) to top the burger on a bun. To note, I also added some cumin and coriander powder along with the cayenne. I will definitely make this again.