It wasn’t until a couple of months back that I let go of my belief that a a burger was not a burger if it did not include meat.
There were two reasons for my change of heart: 1. we found a bangin’ recipe for a veggie burger in which the veggie patties were the bun with sprouts, cheese and tomatoes in the middle, and 2. we had to face the reality that our red meat lovin’ would come at a price of a broken heart (literally – high cholesterol and heart problems run in our families).
Hence, the key is in the ingredients. If a veggie burger is as content-hearty as a hamburger, then you will feel equally satisfied! (I’m not talking about those paper thin Boca burgers)
This recipe for Red Lentil Veggie Burgers was taken from Golden Door Cooks at Home: Favorite Recipes from the Celebrated Spa, and as Jay is working his butt off to prep all of the vegetables, including chopping them and grating the potatoes, I am sipping a Sam Adams (and writing/singing his praises - hey, we know our roles). We also made the mango “ketchup” first. So easy and yummy looking! We decided to ditch the yam fries (trying to stay away from starches for the upcoming wedding!)
Once you’ve done that, you’ll need either an enormous pot or a wok. Be sure to start the lentils first because they take about 20 minutes and don’t make the mistake that I did (unless you have the time) and buy the 5 minute brown rice instead of the old school slow cooking. Also, I used organic green lentils because I couldn’t find red…perhaps your grocery store is better than ours? We got about 10 thick patties out of this recipe! If you don’t have a large pot, cut the recipe in half. Saute everything, and add a little extra oil so that everything doesn’t stick to the pan.
Once you’ve blended all the ingredients, try to form them into patties using a 1/3 measuring cup. We had some trouble with this because our vegetables were too chunky. It was clear we did not process them enough but we decided to try anyway…
Once that’s done, they must chill for an hour, so don’t make these when you are really hungry! We cheated by putting them in the freezer for about half the time so they have time to form and stick together. It was about this time that we started smelling the rich curry in the patties. But, once they came out, they were a COMPLETE DISASTER! The patties were falling apart . We put the crumbles into lettuce wraps with the mango and they were delicious, but on round two, we decided to food process the remainder so it was more like your usual ground chuck, and try them again. Add a little garlic salt, red pepper and/or Montreal Steak seasoning if you’d like. Once the veggies were pureed, they stuck together perfectly. No eggs or bread crumbs necessary.
Then we pan-fried the patties and they turned out great! Add the mango salsa on top, tuck into a lettuce wrap, and voila! Lesson learned. We’re making the mistakes so you don’t have to!