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 ;).