My ex-roommate’s bag of green lentils had peered out at me from the kitchen shelf, trying to catch my attention for months. There sat an unopened package of one of my favorite ingredients, begging to be used, but alas–was off-limits to me. I almost violated the Roommate Rules of Conduct and burst the bag open without permission one week in August when I had an intense craving for mujadara. But time got the best of my craving and the lentils sat for another month.
And then that roommate moved out, and I inherited an unopened bag of green lentils.
And still they sat for yet another month, until last week when I could take the green legumes’ silent cries no longer. I did a little poking on the web to investigate what makes green–or French, as they are often called–different from brown or red lentils. Turns out green lentils were originally grown and harvested in the heart of France, hence the “French.” The flavor is perhaps the richest of any lentil variety, and they hold up best when cooked.
I had luck with the following burger recipe, though in hindsight would have made my batter a little moister as my burgers turned out a bit more solid than I prefer. You could also try substituting the softer brown or red lentils. Eat these plain (hot or cold) for a lunch-time snack, or between toasted whole-grain bed with your favorite toppings for an intensely tasty and satisfying dinner. Take that, bag of green lentils on my kitchen shelf.
Adapted from 1o1 Cookbooks
Makes 12 mini-burgers
3 cups cooked green lentils
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 cup whole-grain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the lentils, eggs, and salt in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is mostly smooth, then pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the onion. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. You are now ready to form twelve 1 1/2-inch-think patties. The batter should be slightly moist to allow for a perfect burger texture.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover, and cook until the bottoms begin to brown. Flip the patties and cook the second side until golden. Remove from the skillet and enjoy with your favorite toppings immediately.
What’s your favorite way to eat lentils?