Sun-Dried Tomato and Lentil Burgers

I received several cookbooks for Christmas this past year, and while I was at home I took advantage of my parents being available as taste testers for anything I prepared. One recipe that was a particular success was from the cookbook The Complete Vegan Kitchen by Jannequin Bennet. The recipe was for Sun-Dried Tomato and Lentil Burgers. The walnuts add a lot of crunch and the sun-dried tomatoes add sweetness. The burgers themselves are pretty delicate in texture, so be careful when flipping them in the pan. Don't do the flip-every-five-seconds-and-mash-down thing that some people do (you shouldn't do that no matter what your burger is made out of!)

The recipe calls for two cups of cooked lentils, however they don't tell you the proportion of dry lentils and water you need to yield two cups of lentils or even the best way to season them. I've developed my own recipe to use in this instance.

Lentils for the Sun-Dried Tomato and Lentil Burgers

1/3 cup brown, red, or yellow lentils
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
2 whole cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

1. In a saucepan, add the water, garlic, cloves, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Add the lentils to the boiling water. Cover and drop heat to between medium-low and medium. Cook for 40 minutes or until the lentils are very soft and the water is absorbed.

*This can be done the night before you want to make the burgers. Extract the spices and place the lentils in a sealable container. Then proceed with the recipe.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Lentil Burgers

2 cups cooked brown, red, or yellow lentils
cooking spray**
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, coarsely chopped***
1 tsp chopped fresh sage or 1/3 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp black pepper

1. In a medium mixing bowl, mash the lentils with a potatp masher or fork.
2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray and add the onion, garlic, and walnuts. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until the onion is browned. When the onion begins to collow, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onion is caramelized and the walnuts have begun to toast, about 4 minutes.
3. Add the onion mixture to the lentils. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, and pepper to the lentils.
4. form the lentil mixture into 4 patties. Wipe the pan you used before clean with a paper towel and heat over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Fry the patties until they are nicely browned, about 5 minutes. turn and fry the other side, about 4 minutes.

**The recipe originally called for oil for sauteing, however I noticed the first time I made these that this oil was uneccesary as long as you are using a non-stick skillet. If you are using a regular skillet, divide 1 tbsp oil between the step for sauteeing the onions and for cooking the burgers.
***I couldn't find oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes at the store, but instead found the dry-packed kind. I used about 8 of them and reconstituted them in boiling water. I left them in the water for the length of time the onions were sauteing.

Serve these on whole-wheat buns with thick slices of tomato, purple onion, lettuce, pickles, and anything else that comes to mind!

Servings per recipe: 4
Per burger:
Calories: 178
Fat: 5 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 149 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 11.1 g
Sugar: 2.5 g
Protein: 10.7 g

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