This Colombian recipe is the perfect alternative for those looking for a vegetarian and healthy option without sacrificing taste or texture. Lentils, rich in protein and fiber, combine with a mix of fresh vegetables and aromatic spices, creating a succulent and appetizing burger that will delight everyone at the table. Its easy preparation and versatility make it an ideal option for a quick meal or a gourmet dish.
For those of us who like lentils, this recipe will be a good option to prepare them in a different way than the usual way of consuming them, since we often find them in the traditional soup or "sudadas" (find these two recipes on this blog).
At some point, I learned about lentil burgers, croquettes or lentil cakes from my grandmother, she prepared them in a special way to replace the meat for lunch, since this ran out at the end of the week, as it was a quite large family to feed. I think my grandmother was quite creative when preparing the little cakes, as she ground the lentils in a traditional way in the grinding machine, she seasoned it with various ingredients that she herself grew such as: onion, tomato, cilantro, and various spices, this gave them a unique flavor so no one at home refused to eat them.
Now this recipe has been adopted in my kitchen, not only for its practicality, but also because it is an excellent alternative to consume vegetable protein and eat healthily. In this sense, if you accompany your menu or a burger with these cakes, you will be able to feed yourself with great components of proteins, iron, and fiber.
Likewise, the lentil burger is a quite striking way to attract children towards the consumption of vegetables and grains, as various ingredients can be incorporated in this that help their healthy growth such as, for example: carrot, spinach, onion, celery, tomato, which usually do not attract their attention, and for those who are vegetarians or vegans this is a great option to replace meats.
In this recipe it is quite important to soak the lentils for a long time so that they hydrate. Personally, I prefer to do it this way, because if I prepare them with cooked lentils these fall apart or when grinding them, their texture becomes quite light and I would have to add flour or breadcrumbs to make them compact, which does not seem convenient because many calories would be added.
How to achieve a perfect texture for lentil burgers?
To obtain an ideal texture in lentil burgers, it is important to correctly follow the soaking and grinding process of lentils. Make sure to soak them for 7 or 8 hours and then grind them in a food processor or blender until you get a homogeneous and easy-to-handle dough. If the dough is too wet, you can add some breadcrumbs to achieve a firmer consistency.
What is the key to a good sauté in this recipe?
The key is to sauté the vegetables, such as garlic, grated carrot, onion, and bell pepper, over medium heat with half a tablespoon of oil. This will allow the flavors to mix properly and integrate perfectly into the lentil dough.
How to shape the burgers without them falling apart?
To shape the lentil burgers without them falling apart, you can slightly wet your hands or use a ladle to shape them. Also, it is advisable to let the burgers rest for an hour before cooking them, which will help them acquire greater consistency and be easier to handle in the pan.
What is the best way to cook them?
The best way to cook them is using a Teflon pan with half a tablespoon of oil. Cook them on each side for approximately 5 minutes or until golden. This will ensure uniform cooking and a crispy texture on the outside, while the inside will remain soft and juicy.
Can I add other ingredients?
Yes, you can customize the burgers by adding other ingredients that you like, such as chopped spinach, mushrooms, corn, or even chunks of cheese. You can also experiment with different spices to give them a unique flavor adapted to your preferences.
Tips and Tricks
- Don't forget to soak the lentils for the appropriate time, as this will facilitate their grinding and improve the texture of the burgers.
- For a more intense flavor, you can add fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley to the lentil dough.
- When cooking the burgers, it is important not to move them too much in the pan to prevent them from breaking.
Common mistakes when preparing the recipe
- Not soaking the lentils enough, which can lead to an uneven texture in the burgers.
Not adjusting the consistency of the lentil dough, which can result in burgers that crumble or are difficult to handle.
If the dough is too wet, add breadcrumbs until you get an adequate consistency.
Cooking the burgers at too high a heat, which can cause them to burn on the outside before they are fully cooked on the inside.
- Lentil meatballs: This recipe uses lentils and other ingredients similar to lentil burgers, but instead of forming burgers, meatballs are made. They are ideal to serve with pasta or in a delicious sandwich.
- Chickpea croquettes: Like lentil burgers, chickpea croquettes are a tasty and protein-rich vegetarian option. They share ingredients like spices, garlic, and onion, but instead of lentils, chickpeas are used as a base.
- Carrot and pumpkin cake: This recipe shares ingredients like carrot and bell pepper, but instead of being savory, it's a sweet option. It's a delicious way to take advantage of these vegetables in a different preparation.
- 250 grams of raw lentils
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 large onion (diced or grated)
- 3 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil
- 1 grated carrot
- 1 small bell pepper (grated or diced)
- Salt (pepper and spices to taste)
- Soak the lentils for 7 to 8 hours, after this time drain and rinse them well.
- Grind the lentils in a food processor or blender (it would be ideal to do it in a grinding machine if you have one) until a homogeneous and easy-to-handle mass is formed.
- Sauté the garlic clove, the grated carrot, the onion, and the bell pepper over medium heat and in half a tablespoon of oil.
- In a bowl or deep dish, mix the lentil mass with the sautéed vegetables, with the salt and spices to taste (you can add breadcrumbs if the mass is not uniform).
- With wet hands or with the help of a ladle, shape the croquette or burger. You can let them rest for an hour to gain more consistency.
- Place half a tablespoon of oil in the teflon pan and cook on each side for about 5 minutes or until they turn golden brown.