Lentil Burgers

Time for another Twitter-submitted recipe, this one from @reluctantveggie.  She runs a blog called The Reluctant Vegetarian, something that I imagine a lot of you are (or, more likely, whoever you live with is).  So check it out for lots of recipes from someone in the same boat!

[Burgers photo]The recipe is for lentil burgers; you can find it here.  I know lentils don’t sound too terribly exciting, but don’t let that stop you from trying this recipe.  In addition to lentils, there are carrots, onions, oats, and breadcrumbs (or flaxseed, see next paragraph), so they’re great for you.  Lentils, like beans, are loaded with protein and fiber, among tons of other good stuff.  And as it turns out, they make a damn good burger.  You might remember my first attempt at vegetarian “burgers,” portobello bistro burgers, and my second attempt, Mexican black bean burgers.  Portobellos are shaped like burgers and have a nice beefy flavor, but they just don’t seem like burgers when you’re eating them.  They seem like mushrooms.  And the black bean burgers, though tasty, were just too soft.  These lentil burgers, on the other hand, eat like real burgers.

The recipe calls for frying or baking the burgers, but I chose to grill them since I was grilling bread to serve them on (I served these bistro-style, like the portobello burgers).  It worked out well, since these burgers stayed together nicely and didn’t fall through the grates or anything.  I do think that pan-frying might have been a little better though, since the grill tends to dry food out, and our only complaint with these was that they were a little dry.  So go with the original recipe and fry them (which will add a little moisture) rather than grilling.

[Burgers on grill photo]A suggestion that @reluctantveggie gave me, which in my excitement I forgot to do, is to substitute ground flaxseed for the breadcrumbs.  Definitely a little healthier, and probably tastier too.  Ground flaxseed has a nice nutty flavor that somehow gets lost in the pure-evil flavor that pure flaxseed oil conveys.  We add it to our smoothies now instead of oil, for that whole-food goodness.  I’ll definitely try it in the burgers next time.

Like I said, these burgers were awesome, even if a little dried out by the grill.  It really felt like we were eating real burgers.  One caveat: when I say these burgers taste great, don’t expect a medium-rare piece of beef on your plate.  I wish veggie burgers were called “veggie patties” or something like that, to avoid the comparison.  You aren’t going get a burger; you get a different food that is really good in its own way.  And it’s a hell of a lot better for you.  Erin and I agreed that these veggie patties were worth yet another 4 out of 5 cows.  I swear the rating system isn’t biased, I just know how to pick ’em!  But the credit really goes to @reluctantveggie, for supplying us with this recipe, so pay her blog a visit and let her know how much you like these burgers.

Marathon Training Update

In other news, I’m finally back to a normal running schedule now that my knee is better.  I did a hilly seven-miler over the weekend and have done two hill workouts since.  My knee is still giving me a little trouble, so I’m easing back into it, but it feels great to be back.  I’m totally committed to qualifying for Boston at Wineglass in October, which means knocking 10 minutes off my previous best, and it’s so exciting to commit to something that seems so hard.  If you haven’t committed to something like that in a while, give it a try and remind yourself how good it feels!

Check back tomorrow for buffalo tempeh wraps!  I made them today for lunch, and they were friggin’ fantastic.



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  1. so glad you enjoyed them! this is the hubster’s absolute favorite meals and one that is on the menu at least once a week. the recipe makes about 8 burgers that freeze perfectly. so we always have a few on hand for a lazy night.

  2. These sound really good! I’m going to try them. I just bought lentils yesterday at the grocery store. I’m worried that I’m not getting my required 60 gm of protein on the vegetarian diet. I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to determine the highest amount of protein per number of calories in high protein foods. The best I found is cottage cheese and tofu. But I also read that tofu has an enzyme that mimics estrogen, so women should be careful of consuming extra high amounts. Do you have any other ideas of the highest protein foods for the lowest number of calories? Or… maybe I could just start training for a marathon and then the high number of calories would be irrelevant!

    • I wouldn’t really worry about protein all that much. Who is “requiring” that you get 60 grams per day? God? The beef industry? Just make sure you have some higher-protein vegetables in your meals: beans, chickpeas, edamame, quinoa, occasional soy products like tofu or tempeh. And make yourself a smoothie with some protein powder in the mornings. If the smoothie has 15 or 20 grams, then getting close to 60 will not be a problem most days, if that’s really what you are concerned about.
      I’m not sure if your marathon training idea is a joke or real, considering that you claim there’s something wrong with your lungs that prevents you from running more than a mile! Really I think committing to something like that can do a lot for you, and not just in terms of fitness.

  3. quinoa is another good grain that is considered a “super food” for its nutritional value.

    here’s some good information also for a vegetarian food pyramid and the new four food groups for vegetarians.

    • Thanks! We recently discovered quinoa and have made a few meals with it. It doesn’t taste like a whole lot, but nutritionally it’s worth it. Still looking for a recipe that makes it really tasty.

  4. Margaret made these tonight and I liked them a lot. She pan fried them. The only bread in the house were Eng Muffins. So with mustard and some raw sweet onion it was much like eating a burger. Wish i had some fresh beefsteak tomatoes (That’s OK to say, right?) She used ground flax seed in the recipe. On the side she wilted some fresh spinach to which I added a drizzle of balsamic and oil dressing and YUM all around. Keep up the good work! With my injury Margaret is doing most of the cooking. You’re adding to her already red meatless repertoire.

  5. christine says:

    Hey! I made these tonight TOO! hahah. The flavor was excellent. My burgers had some structural problems though because I used red lentils instead of green/french lentils. The red ones are really tiny, and I don’t think they absorbed as much water. The end consistency of the cooked lentils was like porridge. I compensated by adding another 1/4 cup of the ground oats. Anyway the only other changes I made were using bell pepper instead of carrot and I added a couple of drops of liquid smoke when the lentils were cooking. OH I panfried the burgers and used the breadcrumbs not flaxseed.

    I baked sweet potato fries and rye sandwich buns to go with them. We ate the burgers and fries with yogurt mixed with lemon and wasabi.

    In the end, I give it a 3 just because the burgers squished out of the buns. I think with the regular lentils it will get a 4 because the taste itself was great.

    • Yum! Wish I had thought of the lemon wasabi yogurt! Would have even been better with a slice of beefsteak tomatoe. Or maybe some gyro sauce; dill and yogurt??? Forgot to mention that Margaret also made some excellent hummus on Melba toast tonight. It was amazing much like Erin’s except kicked up a bit.

  6. I make these burgers a lot and agree they do taste like meat, although I usually cook the lentils in chicken or beef broth so that gives it a more meaty flavor. I have substituted cooked rice for the oatmeal successfully too.
    .-= Nicole Hansen´s last blog ..1000 of Bread =-.

  7. Carolyn C says:

    I thought these were really great. I had some problems with them actually staying in patty form. Mine wanted to crumble. I think next time I’ll have them in a pita pocket for that reason…or over a bed of luttuce. Ready great with carmelized onion, tomato, & avacado! I would say 5 cows 🙂

  8. I found your blog a couple of weeks ago and am really loving it. I’ve been vegetarian for almost three years now but have realized I could really stand to re-examine how nutritious my diet is. Suffice it to say, I’m digging what you’ve got going on here.

    I have a question about flaxseed though. I’ve never really used it myself but I suppose to substitute it for the bread crumbs it’s just a 1:1 ratio?

  9. So where’s the actual recipe please?

  10. This is great stuff! I’ve been getting tired of my tofu-chickpea burgers and I spotted a bag of lentils in the grocery but had no idea what to to with them. let alone cook them.
    Also, am glad to find a real No Meat Athlete – people have been telling me that my “diet” is so wrong for my kickboxing activity, but I like to prove them wrong. Thanks!

  11. Gary Bartlett says:

    anyone still have this recipe??? the link is dead


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