Millennium Maxwell House Hotel Nashville, Executive Chef Kevin Randolph has been serving up mouth watering southern fare for over a decade, and one would never guess from biting into his Baby Back Ribs that he doesn’t taste them himself!

Having been a chef for 30 years, and a vegetarian for 8, Randolph certainly knows his way around both sides of the kitchen. Below you can find his recipe for the Ultimate Veggie Burger, courtesy of the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel Nashville.

Ultimate Veggie Burger

Makes twelve 4-inch burgers

Ingredients

¾ cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked over

2 ½ tsp salt

¾ cup bulgur wheat

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)

1 large celery rib, chopped fine (about ½ cup)

1 small leek, white and light green parts only, chopped fine (about ½ cup)

2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 2 tsp)

1 lb cremini or white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced about ¼ inch thick (about 6 ½ cups)

1 cup raw unsalted cashews

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 cups Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Ground black pepper

12 buns for serving

Preparation

Bring 3 cups water, lentils and 1 teaspoon of salt to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are just beginning to fall apart (about 25 mins). Drain in fine mesh strainer. Line baking sheet with triple layer paper towels and spread drained lentils over. Gently Pat lentils dry with additional paper towels. Cool lentils to room temperature.

While preparing the lentils, bring 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon of salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir bulgur wheat into boiling water and cover immediately, let stand off heat until water is absorbed (15-20 mins). Drain in fine mesh strainer, use rubber spatula to press out excess moisture. Transfer bulgur to medium bowl and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until simmering. Add onions, celery, leek and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown (about 12 mins). Spread mushrooms on baking sheet with vegetable mixture; cool to room temperature (about 20 mins).

Process cashews in food processor until finely chopped (about 15 one-second pulses). Stir into bowl with wheat along with cooled lentils, vegetable-mushroom mixture and mayonnaise. Transfer half of mixture to now empty food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (about 15-20 one-second pulses). Mixture should be cohesive but roughly textured. Transfer processed mixture to large bowl; repeat with remaining unprocessed mixture and combine with first batch. Stir in Panko, 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Line baking sheet with paper towels. Divide mixture into 12 portions, about ½ each, shaping each into a tightly packed patty, about 4 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick. Set patties on baking sheet (paper towels will absorb excess moisture). Patties can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days.

Grill burgers over a medium-hot charcoal fire, or preheat a gas grill on high. Grill until well browned (about 5 mins), flip and grill on opposite side until well browned.

*Image courtesy of the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel Nashville.*