All lentil burgers are definitely not created equal! I've experimented with a number of different lentil burger recipes, and these have the perfect taste and texture. These veggie burgers hold together well without breadcrumbs, which also makes them suitable for the barbecue. Even hardened meat eaters will be converted...
Lentil burgers are a useful recipe to have in your repertoire, and a great protein alternative to meat. They are an easy mid week dinner, and can be prepared ahead of time. Healthy chips are a very nice accompaniment, along with some low sugar ketchup or chutney.
Lentils are a super healthy choice. They are packed with fibre, B vitamins and minerals including magnesium, potassium and zinc. They are also a very good plant-based source of protein and iron, so are a great substitute for meat. One lentil burger will provide you with 10 g of protein and 9 g of fibre. The combination of nutrients in lentils makes them good for your heart, your blood sugar levels and your digestive system. (Read more about the health benefits of lentils here)
These patties are made with green lentils, but you could also use brown. Red lentils aren't so good for homemade burgers as they'll break down too much and become mushy when cooked.
Lentils cook quite quickly, so you can easily cook them fresh for this recipe. But canned lentils are also fine. Lentils also freeze very well, so you could cook up a big batch and freeze them in portions for convenience.
Cooked lentils weigh approximately two and a half times more than dry because of the water they absorb, so check your quantities, as you'll need less weight of dry lentils. 400g of cooked lentils is equal to 160g of dry lentils.
Onions add flavour and texture to these veggie burgers. Chop them quite finely so that there aren't big chunks in the burgers. The onions are quickly pan fried before they are added to the rest of the ingredients. This brings out the natural sweetness and ensures that they are cooked through properly.
Ground almonds, oat flour and eggs
These lentil burgers are made without breadcrumbs. Instead, they have a small amount of ground almonds, and some quick homemade oat flour. If you are using instant oats, you won't need to blitz them as they are fine enough. If you want gluten free lentil burgers, make sure that you buy certified gluten free oats. The almonds and oats add more fibre and nutrition, and help to bind the burgers together. Egg also helps the lentil patties to bind together well, and adds extra protein and nutrition.
It's important to season your burgers well. This recipe has some mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Mixed dried herbs are convenient, but fresh herbs such as chopped basil, parsley or thyme are also delicious. If you are using fresh herbs, increase the quantity to 1 tablespoon as the flavour is less concentrated.
How to make easy lentil burgers
If you are using dried lentils, add them to a pan of boiling water and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes. When they are cooked, they'll be soft and squash-able. Drain them well. If you're using canned lentils, you'll just need to drain them.
Meanwhile, place a frying pan over a medium heat and add a teaspoon of the olive oil. Fry the onion for a few minutes until starting to caramelise and turn golden.
Then add the cooked lentils, onions, remaining olive oil, eggs, ground almonds, oat flour, seasoning and herbs to a large bowl. You can either semi blitz them with a hand blender, or mush them together with a fork. The lentils should be a bit squished, but not broken down so much that they turn into a puree.
If you want to meal prep, the uncooked mixture can be stored in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
Divide the mixture into 6 and shape into patties with your hands. Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan, and fry the burgers for 2-3 minutes until they have a golden crust. Turn them over with a fish slice and fry on the remaining side. You might need to cook the burgers in 2 batches.
You can also bake these easy lentil burgers if you prefer, although the texture of baked burgers will be slightly drier than pan-fried burgers. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking time.
Serving and storage
It is best to serve lentil burgers warm. You could also add some grated cheese to the top for a cheesy veggie burger if you prefer.
Lentil burgers keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days. They also freeze well - when defrosted, heat them through for a few minutes in a pan. It's worth making a double batch to freeze, as this recipe is a great veggie midweek dinner.
If you prefer, you can also freeze uncooked patties.
- For easy vegan lentil burgers without egg, you can use a classic egg replacer. For the full recipe quantity which uses 2 eggs, mix 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 5 tablespoons of water. Leave to sit for 10 minutes, and add to the rest of the ingredients in place of the eggs.
- You could use other nuts such as ground hazelnuts or walnuts if you prefer. Or for nut free burgers, omit the almonds and replace with an equal amount of oat flour.
- For grain free burgers, replace the oat flour with additional ground nuts.
- For spicy lentil burgers, you could also add cumin, ginger or curry powder. Or for a slightly smoky flavour, try smoked paprika.
Frequently asked questions
This recipe uses a mixture of dry ground oats and almonds, plus the moisture of eggs to hold the burgers together. A flaxseed egg also has good sticking power!
Make sure that you drain the lentils well before adding them to the mixture. And it's important to not over blend the mixture and end up with a puree. Using red lentils rather than green or brown will also result in a more mushy veggie burger.
Yes, they freeze really well. I prefer to wrap them individually, and place them in an airtight container.
Other lentil recipes you might enjoy
- Little spinach and lentil pies - a lightly spiced mix of spinach and lentils wrapped in a soft bread dough
- Tomato and red lentil soup - a delicious, healthy, filling soup
- Red lentil bolognese - a super versatile, vegan bolognese sauce
- Red lentil shepherd's pie - a tasty vegan ragu topped with sweet potato
You might also like to browse the vegetarian meals category for more inspiration.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
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- 160 g uncooked green or brown lentils or 400 g cooked see notes above
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon ground almonds
- 4 tablespoon oats, ground to a coarse flour certified GF if required
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce certified GF if required
- ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs or use fresh, see notes above
- If using dried lentils, cook them in boiling water for 20-25 minutes until soft. Drain well. If using canned lentils, drain the liquid away.
- Meanwhile, fry the onion in a teaspoon of the olive oil for around 10 minutes until golden and soft.
- Add the lentils, onion, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and all the remaining ingredients to a bowl. Blitz briefly with a hand blender, or mix well with a fork. The mixture should be well mixed with the lentils slightly broken down, but don't over blend so it becomes a mush. You could also use a food processor, but pulse gently and take care not to over process.
- Using your hands, form the mixture into 6 large patties, approx 1.5 cm thick. Fry in the remaining olive oil for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden.
Please note nutritional information is for guidance only