Friday, May 11, 2012

Lentil burgers

I don't know why, but I really love to admit on my blog when I try something that I'm a bit afraid to try.  Vegetarian burgers of any type are high on my list of things I just don't have a huge desire to try. (store bought maybe, but make at home - not so much.)  The only other time I've tried one it was black beans and I tried it because I thought it went with the theme of a Mexican burger.  Today's burger was a Lentil burger, but spiced with cumin and coriander and served with a Greek salad.  Somehow it reminded me of falafel or something and managed to make it on my menu.  I actually liked it.  I think I probably over cooked the burgers a bit - I was afraid of them being too mushy, but I don't think that a bit more moisture would have been bad inside the pita.  So - note to self for next time (and anyone else interested) don't overcook the burger if putting them in a pita.
 You can cut this recipe down if not needing to make as much.  I did a 1 1/2 batch of the original.  The original came from a book I have and enjoy called 366 delicious ways to cook rice, beans, and grains.  I will say I did change the directions to saute everything before boiling just to add flavor.  However, the original just tossed everything in a pot and boiled - feel free to do that if short on time.

yield - 6 servings (I made 8 patties and 1 tiny one, but it really did a good job of feeding my family of 6.)

Burger Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dried green or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup uncooked brown rice (I used basmati because I love that stuff.)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced  (I had a very large onion.  I used a bit over 1 cup in the burger and served the remainder as an optional topping)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 teaspoons (1.5 Tablespoons) cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 3/4 cups water
Other optional ingredients
  • chopped lettuce (I'm partial to romaine)
  • chopped cucumber (I seed and chop)
  • feta cheese
  • onions
  • olives (I used kalmata)
  • tomatoes (I had some orange cherry tomatoes - sweet and yummy (and I didn't have to chop them.)
  • Caesar dressing (I used the this recipe)
  • pitas (I used this recipe -only I divided it in 8 not 9 - I liked that better.  I also used a bit of dough I had left over in a bucket of 5 minute a day dough - don't worry it will be a future post - made great pitas.)
  1. Saute onion in olive oil until fragrant adding the carrot as it get chopped.  Add garlic, then rice and lentils, then the cumin, coriander and salt.  (Basically I chop my onion, then start cooking as I finish chopping and measuring.)  Once everything is in, I really only saute it a few seconds to get everything coated.  Add the water.  
  2. Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently until rice and entils are tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 40 minutes.  (Took mine probably 45.)  Drain in a colander to remove any excess liquid.
  3. Let cool slightly then puree in a food processor, blender, or my tool of choice this day - the immersion blender.  
  4. Form into 3-4 inch patties and fry burgers on a medium hot fire in the grill, under the broiler, in a George foreman grill, or I did mine in a frying pan that has ridges so it looked grilled.  Cook until browned and crisp o both sides (5-10 minutes per side depending on how high of a temperature you are using.)  
  5. Serve in pitas topped with lettuce, cucumber, feta, onions, olives, tomatoes and/or Caesar dressing.  I put all of these ingredients out on the table and told my kiddos they had to have lettuce, but then they could choose 2 other veggies plus feta and/ or dressing if desired.  That worked great.  For myself, I made my salad on my plate, tossed it with my dressing, then put as much as would fit in the pita with my burger, and ate the rest as a side.  Worked wonderfully well.  

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