Lentils are Round

Lentils are Round


Lentils make great burgers and they’re round…like pie!

The only thing that can remotely relate to pie in this post, is that like pie, lentils are round, too. And, even if you don’t cook with lentils much at your house, you just might like these. I enjoy lentil pecan-burgers often and and not only on Meatless Mondays.

Lentils were not something that I ate growing up, and my first introduction to them in the early 70’s, boiled with water and salt, left a lot to be desired. I thought they tasted kind of like dirt! But, in the 80’s I saw a recipe for a lentil soup in a cookbook and since I loved every recipe I had already tried in it, I thought “what the heck”.  The results were yummy and those little green legumes helped my food dollars stretch a long way.

Inspired by Sally Fallon’s Lentil-Pecan Burgers in her fabulous book Nourishing Traditions, I make a version of my own using cooked lentils (Sally’s are sprouted and then pureed). I also use leftover cornbread for crumbs instead of bread crumbs. I have made them with gluten-free bread crumbs, too with great results. I really like Sally’s use of lemon juice and zest and have included it in my version. And, I swear on a sweet peach that these burgers are one of the best substitutes for a full beef burger that I’ve had. Delicious all the way around!

P.S. I’m going to Lentilfest in Pullman, WA later this month. I wonder if  I might get some inspiration for lentil pie while there. You never know, so stay tuned!

Lentil Burgers
Recipe type: Savory
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 12-15
Prep time:
Bake time:
Total time:
Round like pie, these lentil burgers are a staple at Pie Cottage.
For Lentils
  • 2 cups green lentils
  • Water
  • 1 box of organic chicken stock
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 teaspoons dry thyme or several fresh sprigs tied together
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Juice of one lemon
For the Burgers
  • Cooked Lentils from above
  • 2 medium onions, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or butter)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and chopped
  • 1 cup pecans, finely ground
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 cups cornbread crumbs (doesn't need to be exact)
For Lentils
  1. Wash the lentils and cover with chicken broth and water so that it is about 2 inches above the lentils. (You may need to add more water as they cook.)
  2. Add the garlic, thyme, pepper, chile flakes, and simmer for about 30 minutes in an uncovered pot. Check the pot every once in a while to make sure there is enough liquid in it. Add more as needed.
  3. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste.
For the Burgers
  1. Process the cooled lentils in a food processor to a paste and place in a large bowl.
  2. Sauté the onions in ghee or butter until soft.
  3. Add the onions, lemon zest, pecans, eggs, salt, cayenne pepper, thyme, mustard, and bread crumbs and mix together like you would meat loaf.
  4. Let all ingredients chill in the fridge overnight or for a few hours at least so it will be easier to make the patties.
  5. When chilled, form patties and saute in olive oil until nicely browned on the outside.
  6. Serve on a bun or on top of a salad.
  7. OR freeze the patties on a parchment lined sheet pan or cookie tin. When frozen place in a marked and dated zip lock bag or a airtight plastic container that can go in the freezer. You can pop them out and cook them up as needed.
Notes: I make a big pot of lentils a day or so ahead of time. They will hold in the fridge and you can use them for a number of things. Then I make a favorite corn bread recipe and leave the sugar out. After I've enjoyed a piece (or two!), I let it set out overnight to dry a bit so that it will be easier to make corn-bread crumbs later.


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