These veggie burgers, adapted from a recipe I clipped from Sunset Magazine, are a favorite of my two very picky eaters. They are soft and delicious, and they pack a good amount of protein and nutrients, so I love feeding these to my kids.
START by cooking up 1 cup of red lentils. The original recipe called for 2 cups of pre-cooked lentils, but I have always used dry. I make them like rice, 2 cups water to 1 cup of rinsed RED lentils (Red are softer and more mild than regular lentils, of which I am not a huge fan). Simmer for 20 minutes, then set aside. These work better with the recipe when cool, so make them ahead of time, even the night before if you want. I usually just make in advance them leave to cool on the stove for an hour or two until I am ready to prep the rest of the burgers.
To prep the add ins, you’ll need about 3/4 cup of chopped spinach (I keep frozen on hand and let it thaw a little before chopping, though it chops better when not completely thawed), 1 medium carrot, shredded, 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely diced onion or scallion (I use what I have on hand), 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar is good, but any hard cheese will work), 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (any kind, but regular crumb work better than panko), 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp each of kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder, and 1 egg.
I experiment with different ways of mixing this and baking it, because my picky eaters do not like seeing any green or orange. You can mix by hand and form into patties and bake or cook in oil on the stove, but this last time I put all the ingredients in my Ninja and blended until the spinach and carrot were specks of color. I ended up having to add another 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs to get the right consistency to form into patties, but they turned out soft and tasty. I have also found that cooking in oil in my cast iron pan yields the best results. I cover and cook on medium heat for about 4 minutes per side and re-oil between batches with a brush dipped in oil.
Here is the recipe:
- 2 cups cooked red lentils, cooled (or whatever yields from 1 cup dry, cooked)
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped onion or scallion
- about 3/4 cup chopped spinach (really you can do this with any leafy green, and cooked or raw both work!)
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Mix together by hand or in a mixer, form into patties, and cook on an oiled cast iron pan, covered, about 4 minutes each side.