These vegetarian burgers are just the thing to have on hand if you’re rushing around or have company for the holidays. Keep them in the fridge or freezer, and pull them out to have on buns or on their own with sliced tomatoes and relish. Or try them with roasted potatoes and roasted broccoli.
6 cups water
1 cup brown lentils or green French lentils (see note)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 medium)
1/3 cup finely chopped celery (about 1 stalk)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten (or flaxseed substitute)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in lentils, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until very tender and beginning to break down, about 25 minutes for brown lentils or 30 minutes for green lentils. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrot, shallots and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add almonds, thyme, salt and pepper; continue cooking until the almonds are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor; add 1 cup of the cooked lentils. Pulse several times, scraping down the sides once or twice, until the mixture is coarsely ground.
3. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in the remaining lentils. Let cool for 10 minutes. Mix in egg yolk (or flaxseed) and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
4. Form the lentil mixture into 5 patties. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn gently and continue to cook until lightly browned and heated through, 3 to 4 minutes more. Serve immediately, or allow to cool then freeze.
Note: French green lentils are smaller and firmer than brown lentils. They cook more quickly, too, in about 20 minutes. They can be found in natural-foods stores and some larger supermarkets.
Nutrition per serving: 228 calories; 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 6g mono unsaturated fat); 41 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 7 g fiber; 276 mg sodium; 467 mg potassium.
Nutrtion Bonus: Folate (53% daily value), Vitamin A (50% dv), Fiber (40% dv), Iron (20% dv), Potassium (16% dv).
1 Carbohydrate Servings.
Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 very lean meat, 2 fat (mono).
YELLOW PEPPER RELISH
A colorful relish for the burgers, this is also great stirred into nonfat yogurt for a vegetable dip or combined with light mayonnaise for a zippy salad dressing.
3 cups water
3 yellow bell peppers, seeded
2 medium onions, peeled
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons frozen pineapple juice concentrate
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 serrano chile or jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1. Put water on to boil in a medium saucepan.
2. Meanwhile, shred peppers and onions with the large-hole side of a box grater into a large bowl. Finely chop any remaining pieces of onion or pepper and add them to the bowl. Cover with the boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain in a large colander for 5 minutes (don’t squeeze out any moisture).
3. Place the shredded vegetables, sugar, vinegar, pineapple juice concentrate, salt and chile (or jalapeno), if using, in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer until thickened and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. If the mixture gets too dry before the peppers are tender, add water, 2 tablespoons at a time. Refrigerate, uncovered, until chilled, about 2 hours.
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