When I recommend to people that they start cooking legumes as protein to lower their grocery bills, as legumes are much cheaper than animal proteins, people often say that they'd like to, only they don't really care for the taste of beans and legumes in general, and that they'd make them if they had good recipes. One of my most popular recipes, that nearly everyone who's tried it (and there were lots!) has told me what a hit it was with their family is my terriyaki baked lentils, which, granted, is a terrific recipe.
But after making this red lentil burger today, I have a new favorite lentil dish, which I suspect might become a new favorite among people looking for tasty ways to cook lentils. These lentil burgers don't really have much, if any, of a legume taste to them, and they're packed with a giant dose of flavor and umami- they're so good, it's hard to believe they're healthy and are free from artificial ingredients!
These are completely vegan and gluten free, but they can easily be made not gluten free and not vegan as well, depending on what you have in the house. They can be eaten as is, or in a bun with fixings. I soak my lentils overnight with a bit of apple cider vinegar to help neutralize the phytic acid, an antinutrient that impedes digestion, before cooking it up, but you can skin that step if you want.
This recipe is also pretty cheap.
Healthy. Frugal. Oh so delicious. That's what makes this recipe a winner!
4 cups cooked red lentils
1 1/2 + 1/3 cups bread crumbs (I use gluten free bread crumbs made from flopped attempts at gluten free bread)
3/4 cup ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons oil
2 onions, minced
3 medium carrots, grated
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup soy sauce or gluten free soy sauce substitute (I use Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
1/4 cup dijon mustard
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt to taste (optional)
Oil for frying
1. After soaking your lentils, cook them just until they are no longer hard. Strain well.
2. Mix bread crumbs with the lentils and let sit, so they absorb the liquid from the lentils.
3. Chop the onions small. Grate the carrots.
4. Saute the onions in oil until translucent. Add the carrots and cook until starting to brown a drop.
5. Add the onions, carrots, and oil to the lentil mixture.
6. Add the flax seed, tomato paste, soy sauce, dijon mustard, garlic powder, and salt, if desired. Mix well.
7. Wet your hands, and with wet hands, form burgers from the dough.
8. Place on a lined and lightly greased baking sheet in the oven, and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so, flip, and then bake for another 10 minutes or so.
9. Alternatively, heat up oil in a frying pan, place the burgers inside, cover, and bring the heat to low. When browned, flip over and repeat on other side.
Note- Non vegan variation- instead of the ground flax seed, add 1/2-3/4 cup extra bread crumbs and 1-2 eggs.
What is your favorite legume recipe ever? Have you ever made red lentil burgers before? What is in yours? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?