Saturday, 4 June 2011

Lentil and pesto veggie burgers

I've been trying to perfect a lentil burger recipe that tastes good and doesn't fall apart when cooking; I initially managed to make bland burgers which stuck together, and tasty burgers which fell apart, but hadn't quite been able to combine the two! That was until I had the idea of adding vegetarian pesto (regular pesto generally contains Parmesan) to the mixture. This pepped up the flavour without making the mixture too sticky, so voila, here's the recipe for cheap* and tasty lentil and pesto burgers...
  • ½ cup dried red lentils
  • ½ cup dried green lentils
  • 1 onion diced finely
  • 1 red bell pepper diced finely
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp vegetarian or vegan pesto (e.g: ASDA smart price)
  • 2-3 slices of wholemeal bread made into breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree or sun dried tomato paste
Place the lentils in a pan with 2 cups of boiling water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. You may need a little more water, but only add a drop at a time, as you want the lentil mixture to be as thick and dry as possible. Leave to cool while you do the next steps.
Fry the onion, pepper and garlic in a drop of olive oil, until soft.
Stir in the pesto and tomato puree/paste.
Add this to the lentil mixture and stir well.
Use a food processor to make your fresh breadcrumbs.
Add as much as you need to bind the lentil and vegetable mixture, until you have quite a firm mixture which can be shaped into burgers.
Divide the mixture into 12 burgers.
Place on a well greased baking tray and drizzle or brush with a little more olive oil.
Bake for around 20 minutes at 190C/180C Fan/Gas 5, turning once.

Suitable for freezing (after cooking).

*This budget recipe makes enough to feed 2 adults and 2 kids for 2 meals - we ate them in bread rolls with salad and home made potato wedges one night and on top of pasta in tomato sauce the next night. Each meal cost around £1.50/$2.50 (made using budget, own brand ingredients)...not bad eh?

Vegan option: Use vegan pesto, or extra sun dried tomato paste and a good tablespoon of chopped fresh basil. If you can't find a ready made pesto, make your own by blending a good handful of fresh basil, with 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp pine nuts.

Alternatives: If you want to ring the changes, swap the pesto for vegetarian Thai curry paste or Indian curry paste.

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  1. This looks good, thanks. Will try this as soon as I can get the pesto.

  2. I can't imagine shaping burgers made with lentils, but it sounds really delicious. I will have to try it one day.

  3. I made these last night for dinner and everyone loved them. Thank you for the recipe.

  4. I'm glad you all liked them Lisa...thanks for your feedback :-)

  5. These sound good. I'd like to eat more lentils as they're so good for you, but have yet to cook them without tasting horrible. This recipe sounds good though!

  6. These taste of pesto rather than lentils, but if you really hate lentils, use a tin of chickpeas or other beans and omit the lentil-cooking stage!


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