It’s been a while since I’ve made some veggie burgers, but when faced with a major cupboard clean-up, coming up with recipes from meager beginnings is a fun challenge. I had a small amount of red lentils in my cupboard and instead of packing them and moving and then unpacking them into our new apartment, I decided to use them up, stat.
The great benefit of red lentils is that they cook up quick. Once they boiled up soft, I drained them and then got to work coming up with some good flavours. Curry always goes well with lentils, so I sauteed some curry paste with onions, garlic and mushrooms until fragrant. I tossed in a few shakes of worcestershire sauce because that to me always smells like burgers for some reason (childhood memory, most likely!) Wheat germ lent some bulk and I used an egg to bind the mixture together. I decided to bake them instead of frying them, figuring the less jostling about, the better. I’m always worried when shaping and cooking veggie burgers that they’ll crack and fall apart, but luckily, these held together well. Look ma, no cracks!
Can you tell that those burgers up there came out of the fridge? Yeah, they’re chilly, but they reheated well. I added on some extra cheese for extra melty happiness. Extra cheese? Always a good call.
Oh, and see that mayo on the side? That was one of my biggest discoveries. One, it’s homemade, and two, it was really, really easy to make! Not only that, but it kicked store-bought mayo to the curb. Delicious! My easy mayonnaise recipe follows below.
elsewhere: I’m getting behind this week, because there are 2 awesome recipes over at Poppytalk for you to catch up on. First, let me introduce you to shrimp and grits because those two are quite a delicious pair. And then finally, there is some spicy orange peel tofu to keep your dinner plate hopping.
curried red lentil & mushroom burgers
If you want to make these gluten-free, look for a g/f worcestershire sauce – Lea & Perrins is g/f in the US, but not in Canada. And use g/f bread crumbs instead of wheat germ. If you want these vegetarian, Annie’s makes a good vegan worcestershire sauce. Or leave it out.)
1 c red lentils
1 t olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes
1 1/2 c mushrooms, diced
1/4 t salt
1 t worcestershire sauce
1 T curry paste
3/4 c – 1 c wheat germ or g/f bread crumbs
sliced strong cheddar as a topping (optional, but delicious)
In a medium-sized pot, boil water and add in lentils. Cover and turn down heat to medium-low. When soft, about 15 minutes or so, drain really, really well & set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add in onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Stir around until they get soft and fragrant. Add in mushrooms, salt and worcestershire sauce and let that all melt together. Stir in curry paste until well combined.
In a medium-sized bowl, add in lentils and mushroom mixture and stir until blended. Add in egg, letting that get mixed into everything before pouring in the wheat germ or g/f bread crumbs. Blend and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F. Brush a cookie sheet with a thin layer of oil. Form patties out of lentil mixture – I just made a large golf ball sized ball in my hand and then flattened it with my other palm before placing it on the cookie sheet. I then smoothed out any cracks along the sides of the patties before churning out my next one. Bake for 10-15 minutes and then flip carefully with a spatula – these were actually much less delicate than I had feared (phew!). Add a slice of cheese to the flipped side, if desired and bake for another 5 minutes until golden and cheese is melted.
Serve on a bun (or rye toast like I did) with a good schmear of dijon, homemade mayonnaise, sliced pickles, arugula and a dollop of ketchup. Makes 6 patties.
homemade basic mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1 t lemon juice
1/2 c mild tasting oil
In a tall plastic glass (it came with my immersion blender), add in the yolk, salt and lemon juice. Mix well using your immersion blender and then ever so slowly, pour in the oil – you want a slow, steady and thin stream. I used just under 1/2 cup of oil. When it looks like mayo, stop blending. Makes about a 1/3 cup of mayo.