Intimidated by the thought of homemade vegetarian burgers? Don't be! These lentil veggie burgers are simple to make, and they're done in just 20 minutes!
How to Make Lentil Veggie Burgers
Grab some basic ingredients, plug in your food processor, and get ready for your new favorite vegetarian comfort food meal.
Drain, rinse, and dry the lentils first.
Veggie burgers often get a bad reputation for being too wet and mushy. Therefore, it's important to get as much moisture off of the canned lentils before you mix them with the other ingredients. To do this, I drain and rinse them in a colander and dump them onto a double layer of paper towels. Then, I spread them out evenly, top them with another layer or two of paper towels, and pat gently.
Pulse the lentils with seasonings.
Dump the lentils in the bowl of your food processor and add the seasonings (see recipe below). Pulse just until the lentils break down and the mixture sticks together. Make sure you leave some texture in there; that will keep the veggie burgers from getting too dense when they cook.
Mix in eggs and breadcrumbs.
Scrape the lentil mixture into a large bowl. Next, add 2 eggs (or the equivalent amount of vegan egg substitute) and some panko breadcrumbs (or coarse gluten-free breadcrumbs). Again, resist the urge to over-mix. Fold the eggs and breadcrumbs into the lentil mixture just until both are incorporated. Divide the mixture into six equal portions; form each into a patty.
Cook the veggie burgers.
Place a large skillet or flat-bottomed griddle over medium-high heat. Do not use a grill pan or the grilling side of a double-sided griddle. Veggie burgers are more delicate than meat burgers, and the mixture might stick in the grooves of a grill pan. Grease the skillet or griddle and cook the burgers for 5 minutes on each side. If you're making cheeseburgers, top each burger with a slice of cheese 1 to 2 minutes before they're done cooking.
Make 'em a meal
If you're in a hurry, just plate each veggie burger next to a big mound of salad greens topped with chopped bell peppers or cucumber and a drizzle of dressing. On the other hand, if you've got time, serve them with homemade roasted sweet potato fries (they only take 30 minutes to make), tater tots, steamed fresh or frozen vegetables, and/or store-bought slaw or potato salad.
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Lentil Veggie Burgers
- Food processor
- Cutting board and knife
- 2 (15-ounce) cans lentils, drained and rinsed
- ½ small red onion, chopped (heaping ½ cup)
- ½ cup packed roughly chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, or baby spinach leaves
- 4 medium cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika (I use smoked)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs (or the equivalent amount of vegan egg substitute)
- ⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs (or gluten-free breadcrumbs)
- Nonstick cooking spray or canola/vegetable oil, for cooking the burgers
- 6 burger buns (I like whole wheat, but any bun will work great)
- 6 slices cheddar or American cheese (or whatever cheese you like), optional
- Lettuce, tomato, and condiments, for serving
- After you drain and rinse the canned lentils, dump them out onto a double layer of paper towels or clean dish towel and pat them dry.
- Dump the lentils into the bowl of a food processor. Add the onion, cilantro, garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Pulse just until the lentils are mostly broken down and the mixture sticks together like a chunky dough. (You don't want the mixture to be too smooth or the burgers will be overly dense.)
- Scrape the lentil mixture into a large bowl. Add the eggs and breadcrumbs, then gently fold the mixture together, scooping across the bottom and then up and over in a circular motion, rotating the bowl a quarter turn after each folding motion. Stop mixing as soon as the eggs and breadcrumbs are fully incorporated.
- Divide the lentil mixture into 6 equal-size portions. To do this, I first pat down the mixture in the bowl and then cut it into 6 equal-ish-size wedges. Form each portion into a patty with your hands.
- Place a large skillet or flat-bottomed griddle over medium-high heat. Let it heat up for about 5 minutes, then spray the griddle with nonstick cooking spray or coat the bottom of the skillet with 1 to 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Let it heat up for another minute or two, then place the burgers on the griddle or in the skillet. (If you're using a skillet, you'll need to work in batches.)
- Cook the lentil veggie burgers for 5 minutes per side, until they are evenly browned. If they fall apart a little when you try to flip them, just smoosh them back together and continue cooking. If you are making cheeseburgers, add a slice of cheese to each burger in the last minute or so of cooking.
- Transfer the cooked burgers to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Serve the lentil burgers on rolls with lettuce, tomato, and your favorite condiments.
*Recipe is adapted from this recipe on FamilyFoodontheTable.com.