Several years ago while undertaking my Education degree, I lived in a small bachelor apartment
with a mini-fridge, a little hot plate, my toaster oven and no stove. Needless to say, this slightly
limited the food I cooked although it was more so the fact that I lived alone and I wasn’t terribly
interested in cooking for myself. Lucky for me, I had a lot of family living in the same city and
they were often kind enough to pick me up (the transit system in Kingston, Ontario is not so hot)
for dinner, laundry (student!) and general fun. I was also usually sent home with containers of
food (or at least as much as my little fridge could hold) for which I am forever grateful. One of
these meals contained lentil burgers that she had made and I loved them! I made a mental note
to try and make lentil burgers. I ended up making them three years later which maybe tells you
a lot about what kind of a student I was.
I wasn’t sure where to start, aside from boiling and mashing up some lentils, so I did a bit of
research online to find something that matched what I wanted. The recipe I found on the Food &
Wine website involved baking the burgers so I ran with that idea. I made a few adjustments
according to what I had in our fridge and off we went!
Red Lentil Burgers with a greek yogurt dressing, adapted from www.foodandwine.com
1 1/2 cups red lentils
Extra-virgin Olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped (I actually used about 1/4 of a large red, and a small white one but
it’d be all red onion in an ideal world)
3-4 medium carrots, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cayenne pepper
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
Coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and stems (1/4 cup parsley leaves originally)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
In a large (This is important, mine was too small and I burnt my lentils) saucepan, cover the
lentils with cold water by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the
lentils are very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well. I actually let them sit there nearly the whole
day, which in hindsight seems like a terrible idea but they sure were dry.
In a hot skillet, add a splash of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and stir-fry at medium-
high heat until golden. Add the carrots, 2/3 of the garlic cloves and cook until soft. Add and
combine the cumin and cayenne into the mixture. Once mixed in there, remove from heat. Let
the veggies cool a bit. Pre-heat the broiler. Add the lentils, bread crumbs, cilantro (or herb of
choice), eggs, salt and pepper and mix well. It’s best to get in there with your hands if you let it
cool enough. Form the mixture into 1/4-cup burgers.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Brush the foil and both sides of the burgers with olive oil. Broil until
golden, about 3-5 minutes per side.
While they’re cooking, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, remaining garlic and some cilantro (mint
would go excellently in this). Chill in the fridge while everything is cooking and serve with the
They kinda look like cookies when uncooked and fish cakes when they’re cooked. You can top
them with regular burger toppings such as peanut butter! If this idea is appalling to you, then
you clearly have never tried the peanut butter burger from my home town of Halifax, Nova
Scotia. No, but really, it goes really well on hamburgers with the mustard, relish and everything.
Seriously. Try it.