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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lentil Walnut Burgers

For the entire duration of this blog's existence, I have b'd and m'd (keeping it PG) about Ron's lack of variety when it comes to his daily diet. I've complained about his inability to try new things and his reluctance to venture into the world of fruits and vegetables. I've described how I puree certain foods to sneak them in a dish... But, somewhere along the line, I failed to mention the benefits of Ron's picky eating. For instance, I can leave bananas lying around knowing that they will stay there. I can go into the fridge for that last batch of strawberries and expect to see them ready to be eaten. Even better, I can drive home knowing that the trail mix (Ron hates raisins) granola bar that I have been craving for the past 5 hours is still in the cabinet. I'm always reminded of how lucky I am when I visit my parent's house in Pennsylvania. Everyone has that thing that they inevitably do without realizing they do it; I am notorious for calling in the last 5 minutes of a show/movie or during dinner. My dad is kind of like the craving killer. If it's there - and you are craving it - dad will find it. And he will surely finish it at the same time you are thinking "Man, I really want (insert craving of choice) right now." There have been times when I have purposely called on the car ride home to request that (insert craving of choice) is not eaten. This phone call always ends the same way "Oh no, it was just eaten..." My poor mom has been dealing with this for over 30 years! Can you imagine how many of her cravings have been killed because dad got to the last bite before she did?

Anyway, I've been fortunate. Very fortunate on this aspect. Except when it comes to my vegetarian burgers. Obviously, Ron will never be converted to a vegetarian but he actually likes my vegetarian food. So much, in fact, that he eats all of the leftovers! Gone are the days where 6 patties will last 3 days of meals. Nope! I only got 2 meals worth out of this recipe. But it's totally okay because they were delicious and I am already whipping up another batch as I type this post!
This recipe is fairly unique in that it uses lentils, as opposed to beans, for the protein. I'm always up for trying different types of legumes so I was happy to mash these into a burger patty. The ingredients tasted so well together and the end result is so healthy that I was happily impressed by the taste! The "batter" is amazing and I had a hard time keeping my spoon out of the food processor. Who needs "real" burgers when you can have these? The recipe is very filling and pretty easy to whip up. My only complaint was the fact that the burgers really don't photograph well. If you make them, don't be thrown off by the look of the patties. I spoiled myself and ate one of my burgers on an Eltana wood-fired everything bagel with some eggplant pomegranate spread. (It. Was. To. Die. For.) But since you don't have an Eltana near you, try your patty on a regular bun or bagel thin and make sure to incorporate some spread onto it; any kind of hummus or baba ganoush will take this burger over the top. I'll be trying this hummus the next time I eat one.

Lentil Walnut Burgers
from Oh She Glows who adapted from Martha's Great Food Fast cookbook
  • 3/4 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
    • Tip: purchase these in the bulk section of your grocery store to save money.
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (or one piece of bread, toasted)
  • 1-2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the lentils in a small saucepan, cover with 1-inch of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 15-20 minutes. Drain well and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and slightly darkened. Let cool.
  4. In a food processor, combine toasted walnuts, breadcrumbs (or bread), garlic, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Process until finely ground. Add the lentils and 1 Tbsp of oil and pulse until coarsely chopped (some whole lentils should remain).
  5. In a large bowl, whisk the egg. Add the lentil-walnut mixture, mix well. Divide mixture into patties.
  6. Lay patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 20-22 minutes on each side for a total of 40-45 minutes of baking time. (Alternatively, you could pan fry these: add 3 Tbsp oil to a large nonstick skillet. Cook burgers over medium-low heat until crisp and browned, turning gently with a thin-edged spatula, 8-10 minutes per side.)

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