Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mini Lentil Burger

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I haven't made a veggie burger for a while, mostly because it's such a messy and time-consuming process. I don't like getting my hands in all the goop and spend time forming each individual patty. It's such a pain in the butt. I also find it hard to transport formed patties into the pan since vegan patties are delicate and have a tendency to fall apart. This time, I finally realized that it doesn't have to be a mess.

You'll need:
  • 2/3 cup of dried lentils, rinsed and soaked for at least 1 hour
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of bread crumbs (I use Panko)
  • 1/3 cup of quick oats
  • 1 cup of cooked medium grain white rice
  • buns
  • toppings (I have tomato slices and simple cabbage slaw with lemon mustard vinaigrette)
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season with salt. Add Bay leaf and lentils. Cook until lentils start to peel and fall apart, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove Bay leaf. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, sweat onion and celery stalks until softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add red chili pepper flakes and soy sauce. Stir and cook for another minute. Add cooked lentils and cooked rice. Mix well. Remove from heat.

Add quick oats into the food processor. Pulse 5 to 10 times until oats turn into powder. Add lentil mixture and bread crumbs. Process until the mixture has a wet dough consistency. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Remove from the food processor and set aside.

On a large work surface, lay down 2 pieces of plastic wrap and spray one side of each with canola oil. With an ice cream scooper or a spoon, scoop golf-ball sized dollops of the patty mix onto one plastic wrap. Make sure that there's space between each dollop. Place the other plastic wrap, greased side down, on top. Press gently to form patties. At this point, you can freeze the patties if you want.

Spray a shallow skillet with canola oil and place over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot and ready, peel back the top plastic wrap. Lift the bottom plastic wrap to flip the patty onto a spatula. Flip the patty onto the skillet. Cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Place the patty into a bun and top with lettuce, tomatoes and whatnot.

The burgers look very similar to regular hamburgers. They also have a great meaty texture. The tomatoes and cabbage slaw really add some crispy freshness to them. Most importantly, it is simple and quick.

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