From Scratch Friday: Ketchup and Burgers

So I’ve been sick for almost two weeks now, meaning I can’t run. Tomorrow is our team’s 20 mile training run, the last long run before the race. It’s killing me a little on the inside that I can’t be there, but I know I need to conserve energy for a very special weekend next weekend, and then the race in three weeks.

Not being able to run (or workout at all) has given me a lot of free time, so for this week’s “From Scratch Friday,” I wanted to make something a little more complicated. I knew just where to go – Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.”

He has recipes for every single condiment you’d ever buy from mayonaise (and veganaise) to ketchup to all sorts of Asian sauces. I went with ketchup.

One of the first ingredients was pickling spice – of course with a reference on how to make your own. So I did.

Lots of spices – cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, allspice, cloves, peppercorn, dill, mustard, coriander and red pepper. All semi-crushed and mixed together.

And then (most) of the rest of the ingredients – vinegar, celery, onion, garlic, salt, bell pepper, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Not pictured: cayenne and brown sugar.

I’m not going to post the recipe exactly because I didn’t make any changes – but the general method was steeping the spices in the vinegar while the veggies and the tomatoes all simmered for 45 minutes. After adding the vinegar, you simmer another 45 minutes, and then mix in the sugar and cayenne. I also added a teaspoon or so of chipotle chili powder, which added a hint of smokiness.

A little bit of cooling and blending and voila:

I’ve got a lot of ketchup now – I told Alex we’d be eating ketchup for days.

It doesn’t taste like Heinz, but it is delicious. A little sweet, a little spicy, a little smoky. Tasty enough that I snuck several spoonfuls from the jar while I was cleaning up.

So of course, I had to make something to showcase the ketchup, but I didn’t want to go to the store, so I scoured my cabinets and the internet and came up with this lentil burger recipe. Simple and easy, perfect for letting the ketchup shine.

Pantry Lentil Burgers
Inspired by Lentil Burgers at In Jennie’s Kitchen 


  • 1.5 cup cooked French Lentils
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black bepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • Put the cooked lentils into a food processor, and process until chunky. Transfer to mixing bowl.
  • Add egg, breadcrumbs, spices, and mix thoroughly.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Heat skillet on  medium high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat.
  • Make 4 patties from lentil mixture and add to pan.
  • Pan-fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and  brown on other side.
The burgers were simple, and yet the oregano really popped. Super flavorful for something with so few ingredients. I’ve made a lot of veggie burgers, and this one is a new favorite! Topped with a lot of ketchup, and served with slaw, it was the perfect Friday night dinner. 
So there you go – condiments from scratch. If you’d told me a year ago I’d be making ketchup, I wouldn’t have believed you but it’s really not that hard as long as you invest the time upfront. I have a quart of ketchup now, so I probably don’t have to make it again for awhile.
Next I’ll have to make mustard!
Happy weekend everyone! 

4 thoughts on “From Scratch Friday: Ketchup and Burgers

  1. Pingback: (Sort of) Meatless Monday | The Sixth Letter

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