September 15, 2014
Lentil Veggie Burgers
For these veggie burgers, any spice mix can be added to suit your own tastes. Although I include chopped pickled jalapeños in mine (this is my secret delicious ingredient), they can be easily omitted. This is a great base for adding your own spices to your own signature veggie burger. Because everyone should have a signature veggie burger. I happen to have like 10. No seriously, this one, this one, this one, this one and then another version of that one. See the one in this picture? This one. Ok, I promise, last one.
These can be grilled, pan-fried, or baked. I've provided all of the directions below.
Spicy Lentil Veggie Burgers
Yield: 10 patties, roughly 1/3-1/2 cup patties
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and drained (prepare from scratch, or sub in 2, 14 oz cans lentils, rinsed and drained)
3 cups water (omit if using canned lentils)
1 small shredded beet, or carrot
1/3 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup shredded cheese, such as smoked cheddar (optional, can be omitted)
1-2 tbsp chili powder (commercial or prepare your own, recipe below)
5 pickled jalapeño slices, finely minced
1/2 cup cooked rice, more or less is fine
1/2 cup oats, more as needed (either instant or 1-minute oats are fine)
1/4 cup corn meal, for dredging lightly
1 tbsp chili powder (e.g. red chili, ancho chili, or chipotle chili)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Special tools: a large mixing bowl, colander, pots and pans, a box grater, and a spice grinder if grinding your own dried chili peppers. I used a pressure cooker to prepare the lentils while I prepped the rest of the ingredients.
1. Rinse the lentils. If preparing the lentils from scratch, add 1 cup lentils and 3 cups water to the pressure cooker. The smaller fry pan is fine. Close the lid and bring the cooker to the first red ring (low pressure). Cook 14 minutes over low pressure, and use the natural release method once the time is up. Once cool, drain the lentils in a colander for several minutes. If preparing on the stove, add the lentils and water to a pot and cook over medium heat for 30-45 minutes until soft. Once cool, drain the lentils in a colander for several minutes. No need to rinse them if cooked from scratch. If using canned lentils, rinse and drain them in a colander.
2. Shred a small beet over a box grater and add it to a large mixing bowl. Add the onions, cheese, chopped jalapeños, and rice. Stir to combine.
3. Add the lentils and spices. Stir, then add the oats and combine until the mixture is fairly dry. We don't want it to be too wet where everything falls apart, and we don't want it too dry where it gets crumbly (see note below). Use your hands and shape a few patties. If it's too wet, add some extra oats, and try again. You can also add an egg at this point, because that will act as a binder. I usually don't add eggs, I think the oats work just fine.
Note: I do not recommend using a food processor because the consistency between too dry and too wet happens quickly, and the resulting product could be a mushy mess. All you really need to do is stir together the ingredients.
4. Smooth down the lentil mixture with the back of a spoon so it is uniformly level, and cover the bowl with a plate. Let the lentil mixture rest for 30 minutes in the fridge. This helps the oats soften up and set. This means the veggie burgers are more likely to retain their shape when cooking.
5. Once ready, shape the patties with your hand, or a 1/3 or 1/2 cup dry mixing up measure. Dredge the formed patty lightly in the cornmeal. Place them on a clean plate or cutting board.
6. When you have six or eight patties, heat some olive oil in a wide skillet and heat up over medium heat. Once hot add in the patties, and cook 4-6 minutes per side (preferred method, but grilling is really super too!)
If baking: lay out the patties on a lightly greased sheet, and spray or brush the top sides of the patties. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Flip them, once golden, spray or brush tops with a bit of oil and bake another 10 minutes. Serve when golden.
If grilling: place all the formed patties on a plate and place in the fridge for an hour or overnight. They should be cold just up until they hit the hot grill. These can be cooked on medium heat on a gas grill, 5 minutes per side. Use a spatula and carefully lift them up before flipping to catch the whole burger. Use some tongs or another spatula to help them along. If overhandled they can fall apart. Make sure you lightly grease each side of the patty before putting it on the grill.
Serve alongside some toasted brioche buns, fresh lettuce, and onions rings. I like to roast fingerling potatoes too and serve them on the side. These store well in the fridge for up to 4 days. Don't leave them any longer.