Summer is around the corner and it is the perfect season for grilling burgers and veggies, enjoying ice cream and cold drinks with lots of friends!
Veggie burgers are a great alternative for those who like to change or just don’t eat meat. They can be made as spicy and as flavorful as you want them to be, or you can keep them more plain vanilla for the kids and dress them up with toppings. I really like old bay seasoning (it is extremely underused in our home) and also smoked paprika – which I love to use on beans.
I decided to make these veggie burgers with quinoa and lentils and to use some tahini to add a little nutty flavor and also to use it as a binder element. I avoided to use an egg just to make them lighter.
Tahini, is another underused item in my kitchen…I basically only used it to make hummus but I have learned to integrate it into so many recipes today. I even want to try it on smoothies – I saw that in a magazine and I thought it was genius!
You can cook these burgers in the skillet but I highly recommend to bake them. Baking makes them crunchy and light. Keep in mind that all ingredients have already been cooked, we just want to basically toast them. I like mine so toasty that I finish them in the broiler for a couple of minutes after I bake them.
I had a very complicated week, extremely busy and to make things worse, the memory of my computer decided to collapse so that it wouldn’t let me work on my photos. I had to delete, clean and back up all my files, what a pain!
On the bright side I won a $50 giveaway in spices sponsored by The Spice Way and organized by a few friends on Instagram (@stomachhalfempty, @productivedietitian and @foolproofkitchen). I am super excited to try new spices, especially these days that I have been thinking about making falafel, yum!
We love our burgers with creamy sauces or mayo. I made this one with fat free yogurt, lemon, basil and a couple of tablespoons of mayo. I added feta just to take the sauce and the burgers to a whole new level! The combination is delicious!
Here’s what you need to make this veggie burgers:
Quinoa-Lentil Veggie Burgers
Yield: 6 burgers
2 cups of quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup (4 oz) of lentils, cooked
2 tbs of tahini
1 medium red pepper, chopped
3/4 cup of shallots or 2 medium, chopped
1/2 sweet onion or 1/2 cup, diced
1/4 cup of carrots, shredded
1/4 cup of italian parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of smoked paprika or old bay
2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of black pepper
5 oz of water chestnuts, chopped
2 tbs of parmesan cheese, shredded
For the Lemon-Basil Sauce:
5 oz of fat free plain greek yogurt
2 tbs of feta cheese
4 tbs of mayonnaise
1 tbs of lemon juice
2 tbs of fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper
For the veggie burgers:
Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, silicon mat or cooking spray.
Place 1 tbs of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, shallots, red bell pepper a hint of salt and pepper and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add garlic, shredded carrots, Worcestershire sauce, cumin and old bay or smoked paprika. Stir and cook until fragrant and onion and shallots are translucent. Set aside.
Place cooked quinoa, lentils and tahini in the food processor and pulse a few times until chopped and mixed. Add parsley, sautéed onions, shallots, carrots and red pepper mixture and pulse 4-5 times until crumbled and incorporated. Add breadcrumbs, remaining salt, black pepper and remaining olive oil.
Divide and shape mixture into 6 patties and place on the baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown. You can finish them in the broil at high for a couple of minutes if you like them extra toasty.
For the Lemon-Basil Sauce:
Place mayonnaise, yogurt, basil, feta, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the food processor and pulse until completely mixed. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary.