Red Lentil Patties--A Vegetarian Burger Option

Last week, when I was cleaning my overstuffed kitchen cabinets, I found several bags of different lentils. I like to have them handy whenever I feel like cooking my family's favorite Afghan lentil dish, but even though I think my stock was too big. I decided to use some of them and to try finally a vegetarian recipe I had in mind for a long time.

This is another recipe from Metropolitan Home, which I thought could become a success also in my home and I thought I could use it on my younger son, who refuses to eat meat burgers and most other meats, to give him all the necessary proteins.

Many similar dishes come from the Indian cuisine, which is largely vegetarian, and often incorporates lentils, for their remarkable nutritious values. In Poland we use a similar technique to make potato patties, as a meat alternative. Last Saturday, while exchanging recipes with my Afghan friend, I learned that also in their cuisine there is a fairly similar dish, a sort of kebab, which can be made from both lentils and potatoes,and to which beef can be added as an option. We have already scheduled our cooking session for one of the forthcoming weekends, when I will try to learn some of the Afghan cuisine secrets.

But before that, today we are cooking lentil patties. I made some changes in the original recipe, most of all cutting on the amount of carrot, which I was afraid would make them taste too sweet. The dish was suggested to be served with curried mayonnaise or chutney. I found both sauces too rich and too bland. I tried my burgers with wasabi mayonnaise, that gave a nice hot contrast to their delicate taste, but most of all I enjoyed them with a thick Greek yogurt sauce, which is naturally sour, and I spiced it with garlic and chopped fresh coriander. And of course a bowl of a fresh cucumber or green salad on the side to lighten up a little bit the burgers, which because of lentil and cashews I found extremely fulfilling.

Lentil Burgers

(Makes 10 burgers)


1 cup red lentil,

1 cup roasted cashew nuts,

1 cup diced carrot,

1 large onion chopped (about a cup),

1 large egg,

1 cup breadcrumbs,

3 garlic cloves, minced,

3 tsp mild curry powder,

2 tbsp olive oil, plus some extra for frying burgers,

1/2 tsp salt,

pepper to taste.


1. Put lentils and carrots in a medium pot, cover with water(about 1 and 1/2 cup), add salt, and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and cook until all the water evaporates and lentils become soft. This should take about 12-15 minutes. If there is some water left just drain the excess.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet, add onion, and fry until soft. Add curry and garlic and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

3. Chop cashews in a food processor, add lentils with carrots, onions, and an egg. Pulse until the mixture is smooth but still has some texture. Transfer to a bowl and add breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper, and blend well all the ingredients.

4. Divide the mixture into 10 equal portions, and with hands dusted with flower form patties.

5. Cook burgers in a skillet on hot vegetable oil for about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve hot.

For yogurt sauce:

1 cup of Greek yogurt,

1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves,

1 minced garlic clove,

salt and pepper.

Mix all the ingredients and serve over the burgers.

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