First, this is not vegan. We are not vegetarians. I’m simply seeking a few meat alternatives in an attempt to reduce
our meat consumption, and in the process, hopefully lower our overall cholesterol levels. When we first got married, my husband was quite open to the idea of trying some of the meat-replacement options available at the store. They were okay. Some were better than others. However, reading the nutrient labels, I was a little worried about the sodium levels and the processing “process” in general. So, we stopped buying them. Bad for us, I didn’t even seek to create my own, until now, many years later.
After browsing many recipes, there seems to be several issues with bean burgers in general: binders, flavors, and how much to process the beans. One of the major problems seems to be with them sticking together. Since we are not vegetarian and we do raise our own chickens, I am going to use eggs as the primary binder. The secondary filler/binder will be fresh bread crumbs- just throw a slices of bread (1 of the large sandwich breads or 2 of the smaller) in the food processor, and voila, breadcrumbs.
As for flavors, I’m going to go for flavors that he enjoys. The point is to get him to enjoy this and want repeats. As for the flavors inside the lentil burger, a form of onion is requisite- be it yellow onion, leeks, or green onions; garlic, cumin, coriander, and possibly a little Cajun seasoning because that always makes everything nice. And some things, in his world, require a lot of seasonings. Gyros are one of his favorite sandwich options, so, all gyro toppings are going to be needed: red onions, tzaziki, a little bit of lettuce, and possibly some tahini dressing. A different direction would be red onions, some of the satsuma pepper jelly I recently made along with and (not vegetarian here), a small slice of ham or prosciutto with pepper jack or swiss with the lentil burger and the satsuma pepper jelly.
To cook the lentils:
- 1 cup uncooked brown lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Rinse and pick through lentils to make sure that there are no rocks and dirt. Cook for about an hour and half over medium to medium low heat. Stir occassionally. Add water as needed, to keep the lentils covered. Taste for doneness. Remove and cool. Store until needed.
- 1 cup fully cooked lentils (about 1/2 of what was cooked), well-drained
- 2 slices bread (small) or 1 large piece of sandwich bread
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion or leek
- about 4 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
- 1 to 2 fresh green onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Put the bread in a food processor and pulse three times to roughly chop.
Add all of the onion, garlic, bell pepper, green onion, lemon zest (optional) and parsley and pulse into a coarse paste, about 6 pulses.
Add half of the beans, and pulse a few times until the lentils are smooth.
Add the egg, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp. salt and process to mix well, about 1 minute. Transfer the bean mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining lentils. I added about 1/2 cup more bread crumbs and about 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.
Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes.
With wet hands, form the bean mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties and transfer to a lightly oiled plate. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes to let the burgers set up. Mine actually were too wet to do this. I ended up adding about a 1/4 cup all-purpose flour to thicken it, and then let it sit another 10 minutes in the fridge to “set”.
Heat a large heavy-duty skillet (preferably cast iron) on high heat until very hot; add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Cook the burgers until browned, with a good crust, 2 to 3 minutes; then carefully flip and cook, flipping again if necessary, until the burgers feel firm when pressed with a fingertip, another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve the burgers in the buns. We topped ours with tzaziki, a nice slice of watermelon radish, and pickled banana peppers.
We served these on slider buns to allow everyone to sample. I think we might stick to slider buns as sometimes, they are just more fun.
Mine really came out more like fritters instead of patties. This might have been good because they were not dry.
I will be freezing the extras; but , will have to let you know how they reheat.