Meatless Monday on the Grill: Lentil Burgers

It’s grilling season! Aren’t these lazy, sultry days of barbecued meats and grilled veggies a welcome change after a long winter of casseroles and slow cooker stews?

For those of us cutting back on our meat consumption for various reasons, a grilled lentil burger is just the answer for a summertime Meatless Monday. I’ve tried a lot of veggie burgers in my time, both from the grocery store’s freezer section and at a few restaurants. They’re hit or miss. Healthy for sure, but not always flavorful or satisfying in texture.

Lentils are legumes and similar to the many types of bean or the peanut. They’re low in fat and sugar but high in protein and fiber, making them a nutritious powerhouse.

They’re also affordable and come in a variety of colors -- red and yellow are sweeter and typically used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, while the brown and black varieties have a more earthy flavor.

One thing I’m not a fan of is a veggie burger with pieces of vegetables in it -- I like my burgers without chunks. So, when I tackled this recipe, I changed it up by running my carrot and onion through a food processor instead of sauteing them in oil.

Then I just added that raw mixture to the burger. That definitely made for a smoother-textured patty. But if you like chunks, go for it!

I would also encourage you to add any spice combinations that you would typically enjoy in a burger patty. This recipe only uses soy sauce and pepper, plus the onion, so it is pretty simple. I did add a few shakes of garlic powder to my mixture, but it still could have used a lot more spice.

Don’t be afraid to bring the heat and the flavor! I usually use a steak seasoning mixture on my regular burgers and that is super-tasty.

Another note: This recipe says it makes 8-10 burgers, but I only got five good-sized burgers out of it. I was using pretzel buns, so I needed them to be pretty substantial for the perfect burger-to-bun ratio. (A lesson I learned in last week’s Dish article from Chef Luca Paris!) Smaller buns, smaller patties, and you may get 8-10.

The lentil burger mixture is pretty sticky, so it’s also really important to oil the patties before throwing them on the grill to prevent them from sticking to the grate, so don’t forget that step.

Happy Meatless Monday grilling!