I was a vegetarian for a few years… technically a pescetarian, but I ate fish very rarely. It wasn’t an ideological stance that I was taking but rather a decision based on meat being an expense that my poor student self could easily do without. I learned a lot about being resourceful with my food – especially alternate sources of protein – at that time and to this day most of my meals don’t center around meat.
Here’s the thing. I like meat, a lot, but I have never had any interest in making things that are not meat taste like they are meat. In fact, it bothers me. I hate these “IT TASTES JUST LIKE DELICIOUS CHICKEN / BEEF TERIYAKI / ROAST TURKEY / A HAMBURGER BUT IT’S TOTALLY ACTUALLY TOFUUUU!!!!”
First of all, no. It doesn’t taste just like a hamburger.
Second of all, you’re a cheating liar.
Third-ly of all the Tofurkey that you’re buying at the grocery store is just as salty and processed and unhealthy as a package of bologna so if you are going to eat it then at the very least make sure you get off your high and mighty vegetarian pony before you do.
I’m sorry. I have a complex relationship with dietary restrictions.
Let’s back up.
My point is, simply, that there is a lot to love about foods that are not meat. Just because we’re not eating meat doesn’t mean that we must try to imitate meat because there are many many other delicious things out there.
So this is my “veggie burger”. It’s shaped in a patty shape, like a hamburger is, but there the similarity ends. It is filling and nutritious and really really tasty in a way that’s completely different from any kind of meat.
And that is what makes it great.
Makes 6 patties
cumin scented lentil + quinoa patties with cilantro-lime crema
- 2/3 c dry red lentils
- 1/3 c quinoa
- olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 green onions, finely sliced
- 1 small beet, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2/3 c panko / breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper
- 3 limes
- 1 c fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 c plain yoghurt
- alfalfa sprouts
In a saucepan, cover lentils and quinoa with a couple of inches of water. Simmer over medium heat until lentils and quinoa are very tender – about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl to cool.
Return saucepan to medium heat. Add olive oil and cumin seeds. Stir until cumin seeds begin to toast and are fragrant. Add onion, garlic, beet, ground cumin, garam masala and turmeric. Sautee until onions are translucent and beets are tender. Turn off the heat and squeeze the juice of 1 lime into the pan along with a 1/2 c of chopped cilantro.
Add onion mixture to lentil mixture and stir to combine. Mix in panko / breadcrumbs along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Let the mixture cool to room temperature then mix in the eggs.
Take a handful of the mixture and roll it into a ball in your hand then press it lightly with your palm to make a thick patty. If the mixture seems too loose to hold together add more panko / breadcrumbs as you see necessary.
TO STORE THE PATTIES
You can keep them separated with parchment paper in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
TO COOK THE PATTIES
Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add patties and cook until golden brown then flip and cook to golden brown on the other side. Unfortunately they’re too delicate to cook on a grill. Don’t try it, you’ll only make a mess.
Stir together the yoghurt with the remaining 1/2 c of chopped cilantro and the juice of 2 limes.
Serve the patties drizzled with crema and topped with a generous handful of sprouts.