Thursday, August 30, 2012

red lentil burgers: a discovery

During grad school I used to hang out at Harrison Street Cafe, this great little vegan/vegetarian restaurant with killer coffee and iced tea. I think if graduate school had a taste it would be that of a red lentil burger with veganaise...those days I spent in the library were nourished by H street...and their chai tea lattes.

Since I don't get a chance to get down to campus much anymore, I've been searching for a recipe that rivals THE red lentil burger from HSC. To be honest, I haven't had much luck making red lentil burgers, or any veggie burgers for that matter. They just fall apart or become dry.  Enter Whole Foods Recipe for Red Lentil Burgers. So good! Even Jon, who sometimes turns up his nose at veg fare wolfed them down! We actually did not eat them as burgers, we ate them as tacos, with cooked zucchini, and cucumbers and tomatoes salad on the side.   I certainly modified the recipe quite a bit, and added extra spices because I felt like it.  I think the link recipe would be great, but if you are brave, try mine :)


  • 1 pound (1 1/2 cups) red lentils
  • 5 cups water, salted
  • 1 cup minced onion (1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup minced carrot (1 large)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • Olive oil for the skillet
  • 2 cups chopped crimini mushrooms  We didn't have any, and I wasn't going to the store.
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup Japanese bread crumbs (panko)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Extra ingredient! Kitchens of India: Rich Creamy Tomato Cooking Sauce:  preservative free, which I found at Ellwood Thompson's, our local grocery store.

  • Extra - cumin and chili powder to taste!

  • 10 ounces firm tofu, pureed in a blender  We did have tofu but it had a sell by date of early June and smelled super sour - anyone have any experience with sour tofu? To use or not to use? I chose not,  which worried me, as I thought tofu would be a major binder, but it didn't hurt my recipe. 

What you do:
In a large pot, simmer the lentils in salted water until tender. Drain and cool. So I cooked my lentils till their was no water left. It made them a little paste like, but I think that allowed the burger to stick together better.

In a large skillet, sauté the onion, carrot and garlic in 1 teaspoon olive oil until tender, about 2 minutes

Add the mushrooms, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until mushrooms are tender and liquid has evaporated, approximately 5 minutes, and allow to cool.

Add the bread crumbs, lemon juice, pureed tofu, 2 tablespoons olive oil and cooked lentils and mix to combine. Add half a jar of the tomato cooking sauce.  Transfer to a large bowl. Chill for 30 minutes and then shape into 8 patties. 

Pan fry in olive oil in a large skillet until each side is crisp and golden (we cooked ours along side delicious squash from our garden). Finish in a 350°F oven if necessary to heat through.
they taste so much better than this picture looks, I promise

We at ours as tacos, but they would be delicious with buns as well! We'll definitely be making them again!  I hope you enjoy! What is your favorite veggie burger recipe?

No comments: