Vegan two-lentil and Quinoa burgers in lettuce wraps
The inspiration for the recipe came from a Greek cookbook author Aglaia Kremezi. My friend Val spent a week on a Greek Island several years ago, attending Aglaia’s cooking school. She remained a fan and alerted me to the fact that Aglaia has published a new cookbook and was touring Canada and the US to promote it. I happened to be in Montreal when Aglaia was there and attended a demonstration and book signing at the beautiful Appetite for Books shop. The book is Mediterranean Vegetarian Feast, and it fits well with my style of cooking. At the demonstration Aglaia served two dishes cooked from her book, one of which was Toasted Red Lentils and Bulgur patties and I finally got around to making a version of the recipe. Aglaia served these as mini burgers with capers, scallion and parsley spread, topped with feta cheese and drizzled with a little Kalikori Greek olive oil, which was delicious. I made mine larger and into burgers and varied the ingredients according to what I had on hand.
The base for the recipe are the cooked red lentils that cook into a mush that helps hold the burger together. To this base I added cooked quinoa and cooked green lentils because I happened to have them in the fridge. You can serve these burgers on a bun or serve as sliders with all the usual condiments, or you can serve them in lettuce wraps as I suggest here.You can also serve them as a vegan or vegetarian patties topped with a gravy or sauce of your choosing. It is an easy and versatile recipe and I have made it a couple of times by now, although I am just getting around to posting it.
I served the burgers wrapped in lettuce leaves, drizzled with tomato jam and topped with sweet pickled peppers that I made a while ago. I’ll post these recipes soon.
I am experimenting with foods that have little no oil added. The question is, how do you get flavour into foods without oil. Even a little bit of olive oil adds a lot of flavour and a velvety texture to foods and leaving it out means eliminating a major flavour enhancer. I am not here to advocate that you leave oil out of your cooking, telling you what to do is not my thing, I am only talking about my kitchen adventures and experiments at the moment. To make this recipe oil free you can saute the onion in a little water instead of oil and bake the patties instead of cooking in a skillet.
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked green lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Place the red lentils in a pot with 2.5 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook until the lentils are cooked through and the the water is absorbed. Don’t let the pot get dry, add more water if necessary.
When the lentils are cooked remover from heat and transfer to a bowl.
Add the cooked quinoa and green lentils.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet, add onion and cook until softens. Add the turmeric and cook until translucent and fragrant.
Add the onion-turmeric mixture and the parsley to the lentils and mix well.
Form into patties, any size you want.
To cook, brush the patties with a little olive oil and cook on a heated cast iron or non-stick skillet. If you want you can brush the skillet with a little oil but you don’t want these to swim in oil in the skillet. Very little will do here.
These patties are soft when they are hot and firm up as they cool. Handle with care as there is no egg in the recipe to act as a binding agent.
Cut a head lettuce in to horizontally. Separate the leaves on rounded part (not the root end) and soak in ice water for a few minutes to crisp.
Place a burger in one or two leaves, top with condiment of your choice, sprinkle with some seeds and serve.