Vegetarian Lentil Burgers

Economical, rich in protein and fiber and suitable for all kinds of spice combinations (the ones used in the recipe below are Indian-inspired but nothing prevents you from replacing them with the spices of your choice to make them taste more like traditional burgers!

These paddies seem to be sent from heaven when there's nothing left in the fridge. And while we eat meat regularly we also have a lot of meals that incorporate foods like these. And I usually make enough to last us a couple of day. So as you can see, while it is vegetarian, it also appeal to non-vegetarians … They are also easy to serve as burgers in buns with the toppings of your choice, or with tomato sauce and rice, or with pitas and yogurt, or cold sandwich or salad for lunch, or by themselves, etc…

  • 1 cup dry lentils (or 2 cans of already cooked lentils)
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbs. curry powder
  • 1 tbs. cumin
  • 1 tbs. paprika
  • 1 tbs. pepper
  • 1 tbs. garam masala (powder)
  • 1 spn. tea ground coriander
  • 1 spn. (or more to taste) cayenne pepper
  • 1 spn. salt or to taste
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 grated carrot (optional)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup wheat germ (or breadcrumbs if you are out of germ)
  • Two tspn. flour
  • Oil for frying

If you use boxed lentils jump to the second paragraph.

Sort the lentils to remove any debris (stones and chaff, etc. Usually you won't find any but it does not hurt to check) and put them in a saucepan with water and a large pinch of salt. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover, and cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until the lentils are tender. If the water is not completely absorbed drain the whole thing to remove the excess water. Place over the still hot burner again to remove any extra water, but not enough to dry the lentils out.

Place the cooked lentils in a large bowl with all the rest of the ingredients (except the oil) and mix well. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Spoon into meatballs and place in skillet. Flatten slightly with a spatula and brown for 5 to 10 minutes on each side over medium-high heat. Makes 10 to 15 paddies depending on size.

To reduce fat and calories, they can also be baked on a lightly greased sheet until browned (turn them over once in the cooking process.)

Nutritional value (for 1 paddy, 1/15th of the recipe):

  • 137 calories
  • protein: 5 g
  • carbohydrates: 17 g
  • fat: 5 g
  • fiber: 5.5 g

Recommended daily intake:

  • vitamin A: 45%
  • manganese: 20%
  • omega-3: 20%

These figures were based on the ingredients that I used. It is logical to think that different ingredients will produce slightly different figures. YMMV