Mains/ Recipes/ Savory

Vegetarian Burgers with Lentil and Rice

Last week the temperatures plummeted and my self-control followed. The cold weather was telling my body to pack on the pounds for extra warmth – apparently my cravings took note of this demand.

Disclaimer: what I am about to share may cause discomfort, nausea, and disapproval.

Although I continued to make it to the gym in the evenings, I could not muster enough willpower to avoid the aisles of Duane Reade on the trek home. On a couple of these cold and lonely nights, my dinners consisted of Twizzler Pull n’ Peel and White Cheddar Cheeto Puffs (one claims to be low-fat and the other touts its natural ingredients – they can’t be that bad, right?). To be fair, I was eating very healthy breakfasts and lunches! Please don’t judge!

This week I needed to find a way to satisfy this junk food craving without altering my waistline and/or resorting to last week’s disaster. I absolutely LOVE veggie burgers; the whole experience of eating one feels indulgent whether or not it’s accompanied by fries. Although I have great recipe up from the early days of the blog, I wanted to give lentil burgers a shot. I have never worked with lentils before but love the taste and texture. I found an easy pre-cooked option at Trader Joe’s and experimented (successfully!) with the recipe below. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 medium burgers:

2  1/2 cups of cooked lentils (Trader Joe’s has delicious steamed lentils)

1/2 cup of dry jasmine rice

1 cup of vegetable broth

1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels

1/2 cup of frozen kale or diced raw kale

2 egg whites

Olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper, cumin

Serve with: ciabatta bread, beefsteak tomatoes, kale, cheese (feta is best!), and ketchup and/or chipotle mayonnaise

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the vegetable broth and dry rice in a pot and place on medium heat. Cook rice according to instructions (bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed).

Place a saute pan over medium heat and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Add in the corn and kale and saute until fully defrosted and cooked. Add in the lentils, cayenne pepper (a pinch or two), salt, pepper, and another teaspoon of olive oil. Saute for five minutes.

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When the rice is fully cooked, combine the rice and the lentil mixture in a pot, stirring thoroughly.

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Let the mixture cool to room temperature, or just enough to ensure it will not cook the egg. Add a bit of olive oil, less than a tablespoon. Add in two slightly whisked egg whites (whisk gently until a little bubbly and foamy). Mix thoroughly.

Using a food processor or an immersion blender, pulse the mixture until it is about 50% smooth – the chunks of lentil and rice give it that great texture, so don’t get rid of them!

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Spray a baking sheet with oil or Pam and spoon 1/6 of the mixture into your hands, carefully shaping it into a patty and setting it on the pan. Do this for all of the remaining mixture.

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Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes total, but make sure to flip at least once. At the 10-15 minute mark, I removed the burgers and carefully flipped them with a spatula after confirming that the bottom layer of each burger was slightly crisped and browned. Keep the burgers in the oven until both sides have crisped, then remove them and set on a cooling rack.

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Serve as desired! I liked mine with a bit of mayonnaise, ketchup, feta, raw kale, and a big slice of beefsteak tomato. For added yumminess, sprinkle a bit of feta on the burger and pop it under the broiler until melted.

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