Lentil Burgers

Discouraged after many attempts at veg-friendly mushroom meatballs, I turned my attention to a similar goal of making a substantial meal out of meat- and soy-free ingredients. I worked on these lentil burgers during my 5-day cleanse (full meal plan and tips coming soon, I promise!) so they had to be gluten- and dairy-free as well, and made from easy-on-the-bod ingredients.

This is still a work in progress; like the meatballs, I think my lentil burgers would incite more lip-smackin’ if I were more generous with the oil. Feel free to tweak the following recipe at your leisure–but only if you share your thoughts and suggestions!

Ingredients (makes 6 smallish burgers):

1 small white onion, chopped

2 cups finely chopped carrots (or about 1-1/2 cups shredded)

3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

1-1/2 cups cooked black lentils*

1 egg

1/4 tsp. cumin

salt and pepper to taste

olive or canola oil for cooking

*Check your local Trader Joe’s; I bought a package of pre-cooked black lentils at mine that were perfect for this recipe!

1. Combine all ingredients in your food processor (if your machine is small, you may need to do this in two batches.)

2. On a cutting board, form balls with the batter. You’ll want them to be small enough that when you flatten them in the pan, they’ll be smaller than hamburger patties.

3. Warm a few drops of oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the first batch of lentil burgers and flatten them a bit with the back of your spatula. Cook the same way you’d cook pancakes–until each side is lightly browned.

4. Serve your burgers with slices of avocado and tomato and a side of sauteed veggies. I ate mine with garlicky kale–yummy!

Mushroom Meatballs: The Eternal Project

Lord, y’all. I have been trying to make vegetarian “meatballs” outta mushrooms for quite some time, and dangit if those ‘shrooms don’t want NOTHIN to do with no balls. My recent third and fourth attempts at mastering the concept yielded some interesting results–the third batch came out looking like sausage patties, while the final batch, the closest in shape to real meatballs as of yet, tasted too bready–nothing I’d bring to a social event, that’s for sure.

The base for these meatballs has remained the same: tons of baby bellas and a healthy dose of walnuts. There’s generally wheat germ involved to up the texture quotient, and sometimes a little egg and parmesan. A few other ingredients have made guest appearances–whole wheat flour, fresh herbs, some skim milk.

My goal has been to create a soy-free, veggie-based meatball–preferably a vegan one–that could stand front and center in an Italiany meal or class it up on an hors d’oeuvres platter (they’re pictured atop thinly-sliced steamed zucchini and squash, with a little tomato sauce and mozzarella.) My experiment will continue, gosh darnit, until I figure out the texture/flavour conundrum! Suggestions are welcome…