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Monday, October 20, 2008

Lentil, Walnut & Flax Burgers with Yogurt-Mint Sauce

I have some great friends...incredibly generous and kind friends. For example, I had dinner with two of my good friends, Matt & Emily, and we got to talking about some awesome Trader Joe's products. I confessed that sometimes I like to see what groceries other people buy (read: you can find me being super nosy about what other people put in their carts at the grocery store) and what other people do with certain products because maybe you wouldn't have thought of it yourself...Anyway, Emily mentions that TJ's sells a bag of pre-cooked lentils, which I had seen before but never felt inspired to purchase because I didn't really have any ideas for them...until Emily, kind as she is, says "I bought an extra one--take one home and try it!" So I did...and I used some to make Ethiopian Mushroom Lentil Stew. Lo and behold, I loved the cooked lentils and will now start buying them!

I have also heard lentils du Puy (the little French green lentils) or black Beluga lentils referred to as "poor man's caviar" because you can literally cook them up with some olive oil and serve them with some crostini and have yourself some cheap, tasty and vegetarian "caviar". But, as you may know, lentils are are incredibly hearty and great for making burgers! They have a lovely, earthy flavor and they are the perfect vehicle for taking on other flavors, spices and preparations. There are lots of recipes out there that tend to be dry and crumbly, but this one is perfectly moist with an exceptional delicate, earthy flavor. Oh, and let's not forget that lentils are generally really cheap and fat-free!
INGREDIENTS FOR BURGERS:

* 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
* 1/3 cup bread cubes or breadcrumbs
* 3 garlic cloves, minced finely
* 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
* 1 tsp. ground cumin
* 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
* 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
* 1 tsp. ground flax seed
* 3/4 cup cooked lentils
* 1 Tbsp. olive oil for burger PLUS 3 Tbsp. for cooking the burgers
* 1 egg, whisked
* Other burger goodies: burger bun, lettuce, thinly sliced red onions, sprouts, sliced tomato and avocado, etc.

INGREDIENTS FOR YOGURT-MINT SAUCE:

* 1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
* salt and pepper to taste
* 2 tsp. chopped parsley
* 1 tsp. chopped mint
* fresh juice from 1/2 of a lemon

DIRECTIONS:

* Mix all yogurt-mint sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
* In a food processor or blender, combine the walnuts, breadcrumbs, cumin, garlic, parsley, garlic, flax, salt and pepper and blend until fairly smooth.
* Add in the lentils and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and blend just a little--you still want the lentils to have some chunky texture.
* Put this mixture in a large mixing bowl and combine with the egg.
* Shape into 2 or 3 patties.
* Heat the remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil in pan over medium low heat and cook the burgers for about 6 or 7 minutes on each side.
* Assemble burger: Toasted bun topped with the yogurt-mint sauce, lentil-walnut patty, lettuce, tomato, red onion, sprouts and avocado....

I am sure you will love this burger! And you will love having ready-to-eat lentils when you need them...

Serving suggestion: For a hearty dinner, serve this burger along side some Baked Sweet Potato Fries. If you wanted a fun appetizer for a party, you could make little mini-patties (the texture is similar to that of falafels), stick a toothpick in them and serve it with the same yogurt-mint sauce!

1 comment:

Happy Herbivore! said...

ugh yum! I wonder how I can make this without the egg... Hmm.. maybe some vital wheat gluten! ooooh