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Lentil Burgers

Last night I cooked a large pot of lentils as part of our family dinner, which means that today, I was left wondering what I could do with all these lentils for the coming week. My typical use for lentils is in chili or soups, however, that is not something that I really wanted on this bright, spring day. Instead, I thought about how I could morph the leftovers into something new that I could use throughout the week, and that is when I thought of revamping my normal veggie burger recipe.
Now, as promised, since this is the Quarantine Cooking Series, please feel free to use whatever beans or greens you have in your house. While I love the way this recipe turned out, it is more important that you use what you have and the technique to create a delicious meal for you and your family. Additionally, I like my veggie burgers on the spicy side. However, this is another place when personal modifications should be made to your palate preferences.

3 Tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cooked greens, chopped
3 cups cooked lentils, drained
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs, divided

1. In a skillet over medium heat, allow 1 teaspoon of oil to come up to temperature. Place the onions, garlic, and cooked green into the skillet. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the onions are tender and the greens have lost their moisture.
*** I used leftover turnip greens, as that is what I had available to me today. However, I would love to use spinach, kale, or even collard greens here. Use what you have on hand. Just make sure that you chop them very well.***
2. While the vegetables are softening, place the lentils into a colander to drain, making sure to remove as much moisture as possible. The more moisture removed in this step will result in less breadcrumbs being used later in the process. Place the drained lentils into a large bowl.
3. Once the onions are softened and the greens have had a chance to dry out, pour the mixture into the large bowl with the lentils. Stir to combine and cool the mixture.
4. When the mixture has cooled slightly, ass the eggs, pepper, salt, and chipotle powder. Combine well. Use a large wooden spoon to gently press the mixture together, allowing some of the lentils to actually break down. This will allow the lentils to work as a natural binder, also reducing the amount of breadcrumbs needed.
***If you do not like spicy foods, I would omit or reduce the chipotle powder.***
5.  Begin by adding 1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs. Stir to combine. If the mixture is still too wet, add additional breadcrumbs.  Create a test ball in your hands. You want the mixture to be just dry enough to hold together when pressed into a burger.  Form your burgers by packing approximately half a cup of mixture at a time into a ball and then pressing into a patty or burger shape.
***If the lentils or vegetable mixture still retained a lot of moisture before combining, the use of more breadcrumbs than in the ingredient list may be needed. This measurement really depends on the moisture content of your mixture.***
6. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Place 2 lentil burgers at a time into the pan. You want to allow adequate spacing to that the burgers cook and crisp without lowering the temperature of the cooking oil, otherwise they will absorb the oil too much while cooking. Allow to cook for 5 minutes on the first side, or until golden brown. Flip the burgers and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and allow to cool for 3 minutes. Repeat the process for the remaining burgers.
***If you wish to top your burger with cheese, add it during the last 2 minutes of the cook.***
7. Serve on a warmed bun with your choice of toppings. 
***I like to normally eat mine with a slice of melted provolone, an artisan bun, whole grain mustard, and fresh spinach. However, since this is Quarantine Cooking, I had to use what was on hand. Although I may not have had my desired bun or fresh spinach, the result was still delicious!***


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