The Cooking Chronicles: Lentil Burgers

In an attempt to reduce our overall meat protein consumption, Mack and I have been deliberately substituting meat alternatives in some of our meals – tofu in stirfrys, chickpeas in pasta, lentils in curries. More than anything, we’ve found the variety quite refreshing, and sometimes even a time saver (lentils, for example, cook in a snap).

Something we hadn’t yet tried was a vegetarian burger. While we do love our ground beef, we were curious about the texture of a non-meat patty. So, armed with a recipe from The Frugal Foodie Cookbook (thanks, Megan!), we cooked down onions, grated carrots and lentils until the mixture was of a pasty consistency. Though the recipe did not call for any spices, I added a touch of cumin and turmeric in an attempt to avoid a bland outcome (I couldn’t find a link to the recipe I used, but this one comes pretty close to it).

An egg and some breadcrumbs helped bind and solidify the mixture somewhat, and we were able to shape out four patties. Onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and into the oven they went, to, in the recipe’s words, “firm up”.

While the patties weren’t as unyielding as one made of meat, they were pretty dense, and the time in the oven crisped up the external layer of the lentil mixture. Served with a healthy squeeze of ketchup on a hamburger bun, their compacted nature made the burger substantial enough so I wasn’t left looking for more. Still, while the lentil burger was good on its own accord, it certainly could not be compared with the beef variety.

Lentil Burger (served with a side salad)

Maybe next time though, we’ll top it with bacon ;).

5 thoughts on “The Cooking Chronicles: Lentil Burgers

  1. Yeah, that’s my issue with veggie burgers too — they’re not firm and chewy and satisfying like a real meat patty. If they could find a way to reproduce that texture, I’d switch to veggie burgers. Honest.

  2. Hi Sharon! I am a veggie burger aficionado, and I too found that the firm-textured and flavourful burger was hard to find. Store-bought burgers will do in a pinch but are uniform and bland… however, the Black Bean Burger recipe from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero is the best thing that ever happened to me. It uses vital wheat gluten to bind the burger, giving it a chewy bite, and you can play around with the spices to make it more or less “southwest”.

    Wheat gluten is a little pricey on the initial investment, but I find that a $10 bag lasts quite a long time and adding it to bread recipes that call for high-gluten flour makes the results spectacular. (For example, I add a couple of tablespoons to the flour for my pizza dough, throw in a pizza stone and crank the oven all the way up, and voila – pizza crust as close to Famoso’s as you can get.)

    Here’s a link to a blog containing the recipe:

  3. Hm, I have never heard of wheat gluten before, but from the looks of that recipe, it may be that “x factor” missing from the veggie burgers. Thanks for the link Connie!

  4. Usually I just skim through these blogs and only read ones that -jump- out at me and yours did. Thanks for it – it is actually a real good read! Do you have a subcribe area so I can link to it to read again another day? Let me know – thanks.


  5. I have never tried this but it sounds great. I like lentils but they really lose alot of flavor once they are cooked.

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