Delicious and substantial, one of these in a pita pocket makes a meal. The seeds and bean give a dense richness, the vegetables give lots of flavor. They are sturdy enough to stand up to cooking on an outdoor grill. There is quite a bit of chopping and prep, but these are worth the trouble, and you can multi-task a lot of it. Make a big batch and freeze the extra. If you have leftover lentil soup or mashed potatoes, consider using up your leftovers to make these.
Makes about 12 hefty burgers.
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cup mushrooms, minced
- 1/2 cup celery, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup onion, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil for saute
- 1 medium sweet potato, steamed and mashed, about 1 1/2 cups (white mashed potatoes would also work)
- 2 tsp salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons vinegar, apple cider or red wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage or 1 tsp dried
- 1/2 cup fresh greens, chopped. I used cilantro, italian parsley, and green onion.
- 1 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs. I used Panko – they worked great.
Simmer the lentils in about in 2 cups of water with the bay leaf, until the lentils are soft and the water is evaporated. Once it is cool, puree in a food processor or blender.
While the lentils are cooking, get the mushrooms, celery, garlic, onion, and jalapeno evenly minced. If you use a food processor, do not over chop – the vegetables should have a little texture. Saute in olive oil until soft, with a little salt and pepper, about 3 minutes. Set aside. (If you don’t want the heat, leave out the jalapeno.)
Peel and steam one medium sized sweet potato. When it is soft, mash it with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Grind the sunflower seeds in a blender or food processor until fine.
In a big bowl mash together all of the various components, along with the breadcrumbs. If it is very sticky, add some extra breadcrumbs. Taste and add salt, pepper, and vinegar if needed. Shape into substantial patties. You can cook them right away, or refrigerate them for later. They also freeze well. To freeze, wrap individual patties in plastic wrap.
When you are ready to cook them, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy skillet and fry over medium heat. Flip when browned.
Serve with lettuce and tomato in pita bread, with yogurt or your favorite burger condiments.