Thời Báo Vietnamese Newspaper

Red Lentil Burgers

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

Ingredients

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

Preparation

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

burgers.

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.

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