October 9, 2009

Lentil-Walnut Burger with Creamy Cilantro Lemon Sauce

Lentil burgers remind me of the Sierra Nevada Brewery pub in Chico, CA. They offer enticing dishes of all types, but whenever I am there I have to get the lentil burger. It's just too delicious to pass up.

I saw this lentil-walnut burger recipe in my Everyday Food: Great Fast Food cookbook, from the people who do the Martha Stewart Living magazine. So far, what I've made from this book has been tasty, and what I really appreciate (just like in my Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook) are the fantastic photos. It certainly helps motivate me to make new dishes when I'm staring at a mouth-watering picture.

I'm going through a cook-what-I-already-have-in-my-cupboards phase. I happened to have some dried lentils on hand--in fact I'd had them for quite some time. And I always keep a Costco-sized bag of walnuts (so much cheaper!) for baking and the like. So, the stars aligned and I decided to make these burgers for dinner. It was a bit of a process (maybe because I have the smallest food processor known to man), but not a complicated or terribly elaborate one. And the results were definitely worth the effort!

Lentil-Walnut Burgers
  • 3/4 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 garlic cloves (or more to taste) coarsely chopped or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Course salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • Creamy cilantro sauce (optional)
Creamy Cilantro Sauce

  • 3/4 cup low-fat or non-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Course salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the lentils in a small saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender but still holding their shape--about 15-20 minutes. (The older the lentil, the longer the cooking time. I actually soaked my old lentils for about 2 hours before I started cooking so they wouldn't take as long to cook.) Drain well and cool.
  2. Meanwhile, spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and darkened, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
  3. While waiting for lentils and walnuts to cook, whisk together all ingredients for creamy cilantro sauce, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In a food processor, combine the walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Process until finely ground.
    Add the lentils and 1 tablespoon of oil. Pulse until coarsely chopped. (Some lentils should remain whole).
  5. In a large bowl, whisk the egg. Add the lentil mixture and mix well. Divide into 4 equal-sized parts. Roll into balls and flatten with your palms into 3/4-inch-thick patties.
6. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the burgers and cook over medium-low heat until crisp and browned, gently flip the burgers---8 to 10 minutes each side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Serve with creamy cilantro sauce and other burger fixin's.


  1. yum! I've always wanted to make these from Moosewood's recipe.

  2. I don't think I have the Moosewood version! I only have their super old school cookbook and the international recipe one. You should try them both and tell me which is better!

  3. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Made this tonight and love 'em. I modified slightly: Used black matpe beans(b/c I'd used my pressure cooker to cook a bag of these up and had about 6 cups cooked to use in different recipes). I used quick cooking oats instead of bread crumbs and added some fresh spinach leaves (about 2 cups loosely packed). They turned out great!


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