I’ve been so hungry lately! It’s like I’m subconsciously trying to fatten up before I go traveling. Those of you who cook a lot and don’t eat out much will understand the anxiety of going hungry while on the road. I carry provisional snacks at all times. Totally unnecessary most of the time, but I guess I don’t trust the world to adequately feed me. So I’m preparing my body now with 3 weeks to go until take-off…
This is obviously all BS. I just can’t stop eating. And well sometimes you just need a big burger to dig your teeth into, you know? And sometimes you have a bunch of leftover lentils and can kill two birds with one stone…
Really though, you can make this basic burger recipe with a lots of different vegetables or legumes, depending in what you need to use up. I’ve made this same recipe with zucchini and with spaghetti squash, and both turned out good. Black beans would also work.
This makes enough for 8 burgers, depending on how big you make them. I made 8 so I could freeze some for nights when I’m home too late to cook, Boca burger style.
CUMIN SPICED LENTIL BURGERS
2 1/2 cups dry lentils (about one bag)
1 cup cooked black beans (or one can)
1 small onion (or 1/2 a large one)
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chili powder
For the finished product:
Ciabatta bun or roll of your choice
Cook the lentils first. I did this earlier in the day so they were ready to go when I needed them. Rinse the lentils and put in a large pot. Fill it up with water. You need quite a lot of water, they soak up a lot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until they are soft. For this particular recipe it doesn’t hurt to overlook them a little bit to mild mushiness. Your call. Then rinse them again in cold water and set aside to cool. They don’t necessarily need to be all the way cool, just enough where you can handle them when making the burger patties.
While they are cooling off, dice the onion and red pepper and place in a large mixing bowl with the cooked black beans. Add the lentils and then your spices – cumin, red pepper flakes (reduce if you don’t want a kick), chili powder, and a dash of dried basil and ground black pepper. Then throw in 1/2 cup of flour.
Now comes the fun part. Get in there with your hands and mix that all together really well, mushing it all up as you go. Then take a patty-sized amount – however big you want the burger, they don’t shrink much like meat does – and mold into burgers, squishing it together really well. Repeat for the remaining lentil mixture until you’re made them all into patties. Like I said, I got 8 out of it. A couple were pretty big though. I ate those.
Get out a grill pan or large saucepan and add a drizzle of olive oil. When it has heated up, start adding the burgers to the pan and cook until golden brown on each side, flipping half way through. Will take about 5 minutes on each side. Cook them in batches if you can’t fit all the burgers in there at the same time – I did two. They should stick together pretty well when they are done. Try not to flip them back and forth too many times while cooking them – leaving them alone will help them stay together really nicely.
When they are all golden on both sides, you’re ready to make your burgers! Toast up a ciabatta bun. Spread some hummus on there, add spinach and then your burger. Top with fresh tomato slices. Perfection.