Red lentil burgers with aioli

At this very moment (Sunday afternoon, 3:08 p.m.), my kitchen is a cacophony of smells. I’m studying for the final exam (Natural History of Ontario, literally a bird course (you wanna know anything about sandpipers or warblers? Come at me.) of my undergraduate degree and taking a break in between every lecture to bake/cook something. This, dear friends, is why I should not be allowed to study at home. As a result of my “study breaks” the smell of these burgers, pumpkin cupcakes, and fancy chocolate chip cookies is now wafting up my nose and into the parts of my brain that are trying to focus. Focus failure. Blog instead.

It turns out that cleaning out your cupboard provides plentiful opportunities to get creative with vegetarian burgers.

Out of all that’s left in my pantry, a huge bag of red lentils has been the most difficult to use up. I only ever put them in one thing, and that’s this spicy sweet potato peanut soup (more delicious than it sounds) that for whatever reason I’ve never blogged about. Since I went peanut soup crazy this past winter, I bought loads of red lentils to stock up. TOO MANY.

Another thing: A very upsetting thing has happened. My beautiful non-stick pan (the love of my life, second only to my bicycle) is no longer completely non-stick. I’m not sure when it happened, though it was likely sometime in between the accidental use of metallic objects on the surface and the multiple times when it has rested unclean on our stovetop, adorned with little bits of fried egg. Whatever combination of things caused it, the pan has now managed to nearly destroy quite a few things, including my should-be-flawless black bean burgers.

So I was cautious when I made these. I brushed the pan ever so lightly with a silicon brush dipped in oil. I was patient. And even after one of my burgers crumbled into two (part my fault, part the pan’s), I fixed it up gently.

When life gives you sad, broken burgers, make pictures that show-off said burger's innards

Sometimes when things fall apart, you just need to take a deep breath and put them back together again.

Making vegetarian burgers: synonymous with the lessons of life.

These were very, very good.

PS: these photos were taken in great haste. My camera battery was bleeping a threatening red and my stomach was grumbling. Sorry!

Operation Clear Cupboard: 3/4 cup red lentils, bread crumbs

Recipe: Red lentil burgers with aioili
Adapted from My Recipes [dot] com
– 2 cups water
– 3/4 cup dried red lentils
– 1/4 tsp salt
– Vegetable oil
– 1 cup diced onion
–  2 finely diced carrots
– Half red pepper, diced
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 tsp cumin
–  1/3 cup breadcrumbs
– 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
– 2 large egg whites
– Avocado, mixed greens and aioli (see below) for toppings

– 1/4 cup mayonnaise
– 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 1 clove garlic, minced

To prepare aioli, combine first 3 ingredients; cover and refrigerate.

To prepare burgers, combine water, lentils, andsalt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until no water remains, about 15 minutes. Set aside in a different bowl.

Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, pepper, garlic and cumin; sauté for about 8 minutes, until mixture is soft. Place onion mixture in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add the lentils, breadcrumbs, lemon juice, and egg whites. Cover and chill 30 minutes (to help firm up the mixture).

Form three patties out of the lentil mixture. Heat more vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook for 7-10 minutes on each side.

Toast the hamburger buns and serve with the burger, aioli and any other toppings you want.

Makes 3 servings.


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