Lentil Vegan Burgers or Slider Patties

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My pantry overfloweth with heavy, space-hogging foods, not something I want when preparing to pack for a move (quick note: the move may now be postponed, but I am still happy to be using up some of that ancient pantry!). Gradually, I have been chipping away at the provisions, making loads of hearty favorites like Split Pea Soup and Mushroom Barley Soup. But what to do with those lentils? Truth be told, I needed a soup break. So I turned to one of my favorite vegan authors, Robin Robertson for some suggestions.

As expected, Robin had a whole arsenal of lentil recipes that went far beyond your traditional lentil soup or lentil curry. I have tagged her recipes for Linguine with Lentils and Roasted Butternut Squash (uses pasta, canned tomatoes, and broth up too!) and Smokey Joe’s, but my first lentil go was her Better Than Bean Burgers from Vegan on the Cheap.

I had to make a few adjustments based on what I had on hand and because my wheat gluten seems to have super-binding power (see below for a gluten-free option also), but overall, I stayed true to the recipe. And I must say, I absolutely loved the texture!

They also had a very good baseline flavor. They were rather mellow in taste, which can be good, but I may jazz them up a bit with added veggies (carrots?) and some more seasonings in the future for a new variation.

As you can see, I like to eat my veggie burgers as the protein on salad, but I am sure these would be quite tasty encased in a bun or pita. Also, I made slider-size patties and had four (half the recipe). That was a wee bit much for me, but I think 3 little slider patties would have been perfect if I had a few more veggies for my salad.

Lentil Vegan Burgers / Slider Patties

As noted, these have a simple, homey flavor. If you like your patties a bit spicy, jazz them up with some taco-style seasonings. Really, this is just an excellent base recipe to work from, so feel free to play around with the flavors!

This recipe is Vegan / Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, and optionally Gluten-Free (see below – but they will no longer be vegan or egg-free).

  • 1/2 Cup Oats
  • 1-1/2 Cups Cooked Lentils (I just scooped them with a measuring cup, but did not pack them down)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsely
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 To 2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
  • 2 Teaspoons Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Place the oats in a spice grinder and either pulse them for a coarse flour or blend for a fine flour, your choice. I left them a bit coarse.

In a medium-sized bowl, mash the lentils with the parsley, onion powder, salt, pepper, and garlic. Mash them very well – almost to a puree. Finally, mash in the wheat gluten. I found this amount to be perfect, but you can add more wheat gluten for a stronger bind if desired. I would only go up 1/2 to 1 teaspoon at a time though.

Shape the lentils into three to four burgers or eight mini patties. I like the patties because they cook quicker, are easier to handle, and work great atop salads.

Heat the olive oil  in a skillet over medium heat (I used just 1 Tablespoon because I had a good non-stick skillet). Add the patties, cover, and cook 3 minutes per side for the mini patties or 5 minutes per side for the burger sized patties.

Gluten-Free Option: Double the recipe and substitute 1 egg for the wheat gluten (keeping in mind that they will no longer be vegan), and use certified gluten-free oats. If you want a smaller batch, follow this recipe but double the oats and use 1 egg in place of the wheat gluten. The lentil mixture will be wet and a bit loose (it is more cohesive and firm with the wheat gluten), but you should still be able to shape it into patties and they will firm up as they cook. They do come out a bit softer though.

Makes 2 to 4 meal-worthy servings