Now, veggie burgers and salad are one of our weekly ‘go-to’ meals. It’s quick, easy and tasty. Sunshine burgers are a favorite gluten-free choice but the true preference is home-made. I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit of a project to make these. It’s not hard, it’s just a multi-step process, which is the reason why I always triple or quadruple the recipe and freeze them. They actually stay together and taste better after they’ve been rested and frozen.
I’ve doctored this recipe I originally found and find the more flavor/spice I add, the better they taste. Also, I always make a bit extra of the lentil and rice so we can have that for dinner—the fresh burgers can tend to mush a bit and so the consistency is better after you freeze them.
- 1 cup dried small red lentils
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ to 1 small finely chopped by hand (or Cuisinart) hot pepper or Hatch Green chili (if you can find it – New Mexico green chili is wonderful)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup cheese (I like Monchego or Cheddar but your favorite will do)
- 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs (gluten-free work well)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten (when I triple I probably only use 3-4 egg whites total)
1. Cook rice, set aside to cool.
2. Using 4 cups water and lentils to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until very tender, sort of mushy. Season the lentils generously with the curry, ginger, salt and pepper. The more flavorful the better-use the measurements as a guideline only. Place lentils in a large bowl.
3. Add rice to lentils.
4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and pepper until nicely browned. Add to rice/lentil mixture. Add cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined. Let stand for 10 minutes. If the mixture feels too wet, add more breadcrumbs or rice – you should be able to make nice patties they will feel thick like cookie dough.
5. Use a NON-stick pan or this will not work well. Make patties and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully turn cakes over; cook 5 minutes on other side. Remove cakes from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining rice mixture.
6. Let cool completely and freeze individually. Warm up in toaster over or over as you would any veggie burger.
7. Sometimes I make a cherry tomato salsa to go with them (pulse together cup of cherry tomatoes, cilantro, olive oil, salt, pepper) or you can have them how you like to eat your burger—something wet on top goes nicely. Lately I’ve been enjoying my lemony horseradish sauce with them. A nice curry sauce would go well too. Even with all the spices, the burgers come out flavorful but not overpowering in any way. You’ll taste the most spice when you have the simple lentil and rice dinner. Enjoy!