Posted by Megan | Dinner, Misc, Sides, Vegetarian

I love getting new recipes to try from coworkers and friends. This particular recipe came from a coworker on her recipe-a-day desk calendar, from the show The Chew. I was at her desk talking to her about something work-related when I noticed a lentil burger recipe on that particular days rotation. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sharing the recipe with me and when I checked my mail the next day, she had left it in my box! I took it home to share with Will and we both agreed it sounded fantastic. It was immediately one of those recipes that goes straight to the top of our menu for the following week and we are so glad it did. So thank you Jackie for sharing such an enticing recipe with me!

Even if you’re not a veggie-burger person or a bit hesitant to try these, fear not. They are really wonderful; I would not lie to you! Incredibly filling, tons of flavor and so much healthier than a regular burger. This is one of those things that when Will suggests pulling it out of the freezer, I actually get stoked about having one for dinner. They’re that good. The mixture of lentils, rice, onion, herbs and pinto beans makes these incredibly filling and flavorful. And while veggie burgers tend to be on the more delicate side, the egg/bread crumb mixture is perfectly proportioned to hold the lentils and rice together, reducing the mess on your plate. Preparing this with broiled cheese and fresh slices of avocado makes it even more decadent, with a side of tasty sweet potato fries (my favorite)! We are loving whipping up some fresh fries to serve with these burgers when we pull them out of the freezer. Get outside your comfort zone and give these a shot!

Cooking Notes: This recipe originally calls for 6 servings; somehow we made 10 burgers and ended up freezing a majority of them. However, I’m happy to report they’re totally freezable AND delicious a couple weeks later. We just ate some last night with sauted kale (with red pepper flakes and S&P) on the burger….fantastic! Some other changes to the recipe are that it called for fresh herbs, which we didn’t have yet, so we had to use dried. I’ve included the fresh because I think they would make the burgers even better.

Lentil Burgers (adapted from The Chewmakes 10 burgers)
1 cup brown rice
1 cup brown lentils
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp fresh oregano leaves
2 tbsp fresh thyme
3/4 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
S&P, to taste
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
Whole wheat English muffins, toasted
Avocado, sliced, for garnish
Mayo, for garnish

Rinse your rice and lentils. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add brown rice and continue to boil, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes until rice is tender. Strain rice and return to the pot, cover and allow to sit for 8 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

While your rice is cooking, in a medium sauce pot, add lentils and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain well.

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cumin, oregano and thyme. Take the pan off heat and add the pinto beans. Mash lightly with a potato masher, keeping some of the beans whole to give the burger texture. Combine the lentils, rice and onion mixture with the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Add the beaten eggs and toss to fully incorporate. Season with S&P, then begin to form patties by gently pressing together about 1/2 cup of mixture. Make sure the patties are no larger than the English muffins.

Begin to preheat the broiler. Heat a few tbsp of olive oil in a large oven-safe non-stick saute pan. Cook patties over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes on the first side, until crispy. Gently flip with a spatula and sprinkle with cheese. Cook 2-3 minutes on the other side, then place the pan in the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbling and golden, about 2-3 minutes. Serve with avocado slices and a slab of mayo.

Cooking Notes for Fries: We made this before with just carrots, so this time we made it with just sweet potatoes. Perhaps someday we will make it with both! We kept the portions true to our size, meaning we make them every time we eat the burgers!

Sweet Potato Fries (serves 2) 
2 sweet potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
S&P, fresh ground, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut sweet potatoes into french fry style strips, then place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, Italian seasoning and S&P. Arrange in a single layer and make sure to flip the fries over 2-3 times to brown evenly. Cook for 35-40 minutes or until golden crown and crispy. Serve with agave ketchup and enjoy!

Recipe: Wishful Chef: Carrot and Sweet Potato Fries

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