Are you trying to go meatless but turn your nose up at the thought? Thinking it won’t be satisfying or taste great? Hmmmm, well, I assure you that this recipe will make you a huge fan and not even miss the meat burger.
May I introduce you to the amazing lentil burger? It is quite amazing. It is the comfort food of comfort food.
First of all, lentils are delicious, nutritious and packed with flavor that satisfies even the most skeptic. Cooking them in a vegetable broth adds even more flavor ( as if they needed more) and adding in all of these additional, beautiful vegetables adds more flavor, nutrition and texture that your body will be doing the happy dance (especially your heart).
Lentils serve as a moderate source of energy — 165 calories per quarter cup of dry lentils, which yields roughly a half cup of cooked lentils. Lentils are very low in fat, so most of these calories come from protein and carbohydrates. These are the good carbs. Each serving provides 12.4 grams of protein, a source of amino acids your body uses to maintain your immune system and synthesize hormones. Since lentils contain “incomplete” protein because they’re missing the amino acids methionine and cystine, so combine them with other protein sources — such as whole grains, dairy, eggs or meat — to prevent an amino acid deficiency. A serving of lentils contains about 29 grams of carbohydrates, including 14.6 grams of fiber. Fiber helps reduce your blood cholesterol level, and a diet rich in fiber combats constipation.
A 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cooked lentils contain 25 grams of protein;1.1 gram of fat; 63 grams of the good carbs;11 grams of fiber (to keep you regular) a mere 2 grams of sugar and 352 calories. Eating lentils will keep you full without any spikes in hunger and without making you feel bloated.
To make this recipe I added 1 tablespoon of the vegetable base to the broth for added flavor. You may omit this, but it really adds that extra flavor that I am sure you won’t want to do without. Let’s face it, food is all about presentation and flavor. This is the vegetable base I use and it is organic and very tasty;
You may serve these on top of some salad greens or inside a yummy bun. The choice is yours! They are not as firm as a meat burger but they are definitely as delicious!
For this recipe I purchased dry lentils and cooked them down myself. But if you are in a hurry you may purchase already cooked lentils to save some time. Here, I used a nice colorful combo of red and green lentils.
But you can use what ever lentils you prefer. They took a while to cook, about 1 1/2 hours for the full batch, but it was well worth the wait. As I mentioned, if you are short on time, you may purchase already cooked lentils.. although not sure how they taste since I have never used them. If you see a high content of salt ( for the preservative) then I suggest you rinse them in a fine mesh sieve to remove some of the salt. This will be the most time consuming part of the recipe so you may consider making this on a day when you have time to spare in the kitchen. After you combine all of the ingredients you also have a 30-40 minute wait for the burgers to set in the fridge. What’s great about this is that once you cook them, you can freeze them and then pop them out when you are hungry.. Not bad.
I found that just using your hands instead of any utensils when forming these cuties into burger patties was much easier. Like the recipe notes, they will make 10 nice size patties. So try to eyeball 10 equal portions. You can form them better once on the cornmeal with the help of the back of a spoon. Make sure that when you place them in the pan the oil is nice and hot and keep the flame to a low, medium low flame or else they will burn. Also they really adsorb the oil so make sure you have your eyes on these buggers.
Top these off as you would any other burger, with lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, pickles or mayo..the choices are endless! What’s best is the flavor and the nutritious part of this meal. So as always, enjoy!!!
Red & French Green Lentil Veggie Burgers
Ingredients: Makes 10 patties
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 1 cup dry French green lentils (see side note)
- 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon organic vegetable soup base (optional, but worth the added flavor)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 large shallots, minced
- 4 ounces mushrooms ( I used baby bello), finely diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 3 large cloves, garlic, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- ½ cup frozen green peas, thawed
- ½ cup frozen corn, thawed
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup plus ½ cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Sort and rinse the lentils in a fine mesh strainer. Pick out and discard any debris. Place in a medium size pot and cover with the water. Add in the soup base and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until tender, about 80 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure to keep lentils covered with water during cooking; if water level is low, add additional water and reduce the cooking temperature. You will need to partially cover the lentils during the last 10 minutes to prevent spattering because at this point they are almost done and have thickened. At this point you will have to stir the lentils more frequently to prevent sticking as this has come to a thick lentil base. You will need 3 ¾ cups of cooked lentils for this recipe. Set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add the minced shallots, about 3/4 teaspoon salt and about 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, garlic, thyme and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a food processor or blender, blend the peas, corn and ½ of the cooked lentils until smooth. Transfer the pureed peas, corn, pepper and lentils to a medium bowl. Add the remaining lentils, 1/3 cup cornmeal, mayonnaise, lemon juice and the mushroom mixture. Form the mixture into evenly sized 10 patties.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup cornmeal on a baking sheet. Place the burgers on top of the cornmeal. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cornmeal on top of the burgers. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil over medium, medium/low heat in the skillet. Cook the burgers until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Place on paper towels.
Side note: For faster alternative, you may purchase already cooked lentils and then omit the red and green lentils and water and just rinse the lentils from their container and continue with the recipe.