I have honestly never made a veggie burger before, just been disappointed in most of the pre-made ones that I’ve tried. Worse still, most veggie burgers aren’t even gluten-free, so our choices have been limited from the get-go!
As with most everything else gluten free, I eventually stop complaining about pre-made versions and just make my own! I’ve been eager to try my hand at making a really good one from scratch, so when the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council asked me to write some recipes for their blogger recipe challenge, I knew I had my excuse to get to it! Lentils should be the base of any respectable veggie burger – their texture and beautiful color varieties are just begging to be lovingly patted into shape, and you can’t beat their nutrition. Did you know lentils offer not only dietary fiber, but also loads of protein, iron, magnesium, zinc and folate, all with no saturated fat? Indeed!
I paired this burger with my fabulous homemade gluten-free buns, but you could certainly eat it sans bun for a low-carb, but really filling meal option. You can also bake these puppies and freeze them for later, or even break them into crumbles for taco filling, put them on your salad, or use them as meatballs for your favorite gluten-free pasta dish! It’s really an impressively versatile (and super healthy) recipe!
The other thing I like about this recipe is that you can tailor it to fit your dietary needs, your taste, and what you have in your fridge (the best kind of recipe!). If you don’t have sunflower seeds on hand, use more walnuts or bread crumbs; if you can’t eat nuts, use more seeds. See what I mean? Don’t be put off by the longer-than-normal ingredient list here — think of them as “options.” You could certainly make a great burger without many of them, just keep the base proportions right, and you’ll have yourself a delicious burger, whatever you use!
In case you missed the others in my series of pea and lentil recipes for the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council blogger challenge, don’t despair — I’ve linked them here for you!
- 1 cup dry lentils
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup toasted gluten-free bread crumbs (start with 1 cup of any gluten-free bread, sliced & cubed)
- 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds (optional – may substitute with equal measure of nuts or crumbs)
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped fine (optional – may substitute with equal measure of seeds or crumbs)
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1/2 cup Jules Gluten Free™ Certified Gluten-Free Oats
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 2 Tbs. nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but super healthy & yummy)
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
- 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds (optional)
- 1-2 Tbs. gluten-free soy sauce (e.g. San-J Organic Tamari or Bragg® Liquid Aminos)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
Rinse and drain the dried lentils, then place in a large pot with 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, then cover to cook for 25-35 minutes, or until the lentils are soft, but not mushy, and have absorbed most of the water. Drain, then pulse in a large food processor or blender, or use a potato masher. Do not completely pulverize the lentils, leaving some intact for texture.
Preheat oven to 300° F.
Spread the bread cubes and sunflower seeds across separate cookie sheets and toast for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once lightly browned, grind the toasted bread cubes in a food processor or blender to create bread crumbs; measure out 1/2 cup of crumbs and reserve extra for other recipes by freezing in a zip-top bag. Next, pulse the toasted sunflower seeds in a blender or food processor to form a coarse meal, leaving some seeds intact for texture. Lastly, briefly pulverize the walnuts until they become fine crumbs, but not for so long that they release their oils and start to form nut butter.
Heat oil in a small pan over medium-high heat, then add the onion and sauté for approximately 5 minutes, or until transparent. Set aside once cooked.
Combine the lentils, bread crumbs, sunflower seeds, ground walnuts, onions, oats, carrots, nutritional yeast, spices, soy sauce and basil in a large bowl. Stir to combine well, adding more oats or bread crumbs if too wet, or more soy sauce if too dry. The mixture should hold together well when formed into a patty. Shape into 8-10 disc-shaped patties.
To sauté: Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with just enough cooking oil to thinly coat the surface. Heat to medium-high and place patties into the hot oil. Cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side, taking care to not allow patties to burn. Depending on the size of your patties, you may need to reduce the heat to medium and cook longer, but as there are no eggs in the patties, there is no concern with undercooking them.
To bake: Preheat oven to 400° F (static). Lightly oil a baking sheet and place each burger onto the pan. Bake for approximately 10 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Baking dries the burgers out more than sautéing, so make sure the burgers are plenty moist before baking so that they do not crumble.
Serve as you would a burger, with all your favorite toppings on a yummy Gluten-Free Bun!