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These Lentil Burgers are perfect for when you’re craving a burger but want something a little lighter and more whole foods based. Everyone knows faux meats like Impossible and Beyond make for a delicious and realistic vegan burger experience, but sometimes you just want an old school veggie patty! Look no further because these patties are savory, protein-packed, and most importantly not dry.
Table of Contents
- Ingredients for Lentil Burgers
- How to Make Lentil Burgers
- Recipe FAQ
- More Plant-Based Recipes
Ingredients for Lentil Burgers
- Green or brown lentils. I use canned lentils for ease and convenience, but you can feel free to boil your own from dry. Just make sure not to overcook them; we want them tender but still holding their shape, otherwise your lentil burgers might turn out mushy.
- Mushrooms. These add a meaty texture and tons of savory flavor. Regular white or button mushrooms are my go-tos for affordability, but you can get fancy and use any kind of mushrooms you like.
- Sunflower seeds. These add extra protein and a slight crunch to the lentil burgers that I personally love! You can also try replacing them with the same volume of chopped walnuts.
- Onion and garlic. For extra flavor.
- Tomato paste, soy sauce & smoked paprika. These make the lentil burgers more savory and well-rounded in flavor.
- Breadcrumbs. These add body to the lentil patties and help bind everything together. Regular or panko breadcrumbs both work well in this.
- Olive oil. For sautéing the onion and mushroom mixture, and for pan-frying the shaped lentil patties. I don’t recommend skipping the oil, because it gives the lentil patties a richer texture and keeps them from being too dry or crumbly.
How to Make Lentil Burgers
- Sauté onions and mushrooms in olive oil for 3-5 minutes. The mushrooms will shed plenty of moisture, and we want to cook that off to condense the flavor and improve the texture. Then add garlic and sauté.
- Add in tomato paste, stir to coat, and cook until the tomato paste darkens from a vibrant red color to a deep rust color.
- Add the mushroom mixture to a food processor with cooked lentils, sunflower seeds, soy sauce, and smoked paprika. Process until mixture is well-combined but still has a little bit of texture.
- Mix in the breadcrumbs. The mixture should be moist enough that it sticks together and doesn’t crumble. However, it shouldn’t be so wet that it sticks to your hands! If the mixture is still a little on the wet side, add in additional breadcrumbs a few tablespoons at a time and mix well between additions.
- Shape the mixture into patties. Typically I shape mine into 4 or 5 medium-sized burgers, but you can make them larger or smaller as you prefer. You can even shape them into meatballs!
Can You Freeze Lentil Burgers?
Yes! You can freeze the burgers after you’ve shaped them and before pan-frying them. I recommend separating the patties with a piece of parchment or wax paper so they are easy to separate when you’re ready to enjoy them. You’ll want to thaw them out in the fridge overnight prior to pan-frying them.
You can also freeze them after you have shaped and pan-fried them, if you prefer. In that case, you can them reheat them in the microwave or in a pan.
Can You Bake Lentil Burgers?
Pan-frying is my preferred way to cook the patties, because it keeps them moist and gives them a light crunch on the outside. However, you can bake them! They will just have a slightly drier texture and won’t brown as nicely.
I recommend brushing or spraying them with a little bit of olive oil or avocado oil to help them brown a little. Then arrange them on a lined baking tray and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 30-35 minutes, flipping them at the 15 minute mark.
Can You Use Red Lentils?
Red and yellow lentils have a much softer texture than green or brown varieties, so they aren’t ideal for this recipe. However, you can substitute in other types of beans that hold their shape well — such as black beans or chickpeas.
More Plant-Based Recipes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 oz white or cremini mushrooms cleaned and sliced
- 1 small white or yellow onion diced
- 2-4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups cooked green or brown lentils drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or liquid aminos
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- black pepper to preference
- 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
- In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, sauté onions and mushrooms in olive oil for 3-5 minutes, until the extra moisture shed from the mushrooms cooks off.
- Add in garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Add in tomato paste and stir to coat ingredients. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring often, until the tomato paste darkens from a vibrant red color to a deep rust color. Remove from heat.
- To a food processor, add cooked lentils, mushroom mixture, sunflower seeds, soy sauce, and smoked paprika. Process until mixture is well-combined but still has a little bit of texture. Scrape down the bowl of the food processor as needed to ensure the texture is consistent.
- Add breadcrumbs and stir to combine. The mixture should be moist enough that it sticks together and doesn't crumble. However, it shouldn't be so wet that it sticks to your hands. If the mixture is still a little on the wet side, add in additional breadcrumbs a few tablespoons at a time and mix well between additions.
- Divide mixture and shape into patties. Typically I shape mine into 4 or 5 medium-sized burgers, but you can make them larger or smaller as you prefer. You can even shape them into meatballs.