Spicy Lentil-Walnut Burgers
I feel as though I should preface this recipe post by saying – don’t go! Stay. I know a “lentil walnut” burger sounds… strange. Believe me, I like my burgers to contain meat. Nearly every vegetarian burger I’ve ever tasted has been rubbery, crumbly, bland, or just plain dissatisfying. Needless to say I was apprehensive to try out this recipe. But, I put my trust in Martha and I’m so grateful I did. These burgers are utterly flavorful with a caramelized crust and toothsome interior. The yogurt sauce on top is refreshing and bright, enhancing all the flavors from the Middle-Eastern inspired spices of the burgers.
The nutrition value of this recipe is tremendous. It actually excites me to think about how much good it does for my body. Lentils are full of fiber and minerals that help your body run smoothly. Walnuts contain Vitamin E and good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids. Not to mention the yogurt is rich in calcium and aids in digestion. Your body and taste buds will like these burgers.
Taste: Just the scent of the spices alone is enough to make your mouth water. The spicy burger is perfectly balanced by the tangy, fresh yogurt sauce.
Texture: I was really nervous about the texture because I don’t like the squishiness of foods like beans, peas, or sometimes lentils. Fortunately these patties have a crisp crust and thick, craveable inside.
Ease: Not quite as simple as making burgers from store-bought ground meat but still doable. You can cook the lentils, toast the walnuts, and make the yogurt sauce ahead of time.
Appearance: Alright so this recipe doesn’t produce the prettiest of meals.
Pros: Healthy, flavorful.
Would I make this again? Yes.
Spicy Lentil-Walnut Burgers
From Great Food Fast
- 3/4 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons coriandor
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large egg
- whole wheat pita bread or whole wheat buns
- tomato, bell pepper, red onion, etc. for topping (if desired)
- Yogurt-Cilantro Sauce (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the lentils in a small saucepan, cover with 1-inch of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 15-20 minutes. Drain well and let cool.
Meanwhile, spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and slightly darkened. Let cool.
In a food processor, combing toasted walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Process until finely ground. Add the lentils and 1 tablespoon of the oil and pulse until coarsely chopped (some whole lentils should remain).
In a large bowl, whisk the egg. Add the lentil-walnut mixture, mix well. Divide mixture into 4 equal parts, roll into balls, and flatten with the palm of your hands into 3/4-inch thick patties.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the burgers; cook over medium-low heat until crisped and browned, turning gently with a thin-edged spatula, 8-10 minutes per side. Once cooked transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Serve burger patties on pita bread, top with yogurt sauce (recipe below) and other desired toppings.
- 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk yogurt, cilantro, and lemon juice together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.