French Green Lentil and Mushroom Burgers
Inspiration from www.meatlessmondays.com
Sauté: 6-8 minutes
Yield 14 (2 ½-inch) burgers
2 cups French green lentils, washed and picked over for debris
6 cups low sodium vegetable or low sodium chicken stock
1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup small diced red or yellow bell pepper (l large bell pepper)
½ cup small diced shallots (2 shallots)
10 ounces (1 small package) Baby Bella mushrooms, diced
6 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme (off stem)
2 slices whole wheat bread, softened
2 cups panko, divided
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
½ cup ground flaxseed meal
½ cup minced Italian flat leaf parsley
1 egg, slightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
Place lentils in a strainer and pick over to remove any debris or old lentils and rinse well under running water. Place the lentils, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, bay leaves, crushed garlic and stock in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a rapid simmer and immediately turn down heat to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, until all the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender, approximately 25-30 minutes. If there is any excess liquid, pour lentils into a strainer and drain excess. Alternatively, if lentils begin to dry out before they are cooked, add additional stock by the spoonful. Remove from heat, and add 1 teaspoon of salt* and cool to room temperature.
While the lentils cook, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium sized sauté pan over medium high heat, add shallots and peppers and cook for 2 minutes . Add mushrooms and cook for 6-8 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, cooking for another minute. Remove from heat and stir in thyme, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and cool to room temperature.
Immerse slices of whole wheat bread in water to soften and squeeze out all water.
Place cooled lentils in a large mixing bowl and add mushroom mixture, softened bread, 1 cup panko, ¾ cup Parmigiano cheese, flaxseed meal, fresh parsley, beaten egg, and mix until everything is incorporated, but do not over mix.
Taste mixture and adjust seasonings for salt and pepper. If able to take the time to refrigerate mixture, the patties are easier to form.
Working quickly, form patties to a size of 2½-inch by 1-inch and spray each side with olive oil spray. If burger mixture begins to become soft, refrigerate for 30 minutes. Mix together remaining 1 cup panko and ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano and coat each burger, gently pressing into burgers. Spray a sauté pan with canola or vegetable oil and cook patties over medium low heat for approximately 3-4 minutes per side until brown and crispy.
Serve warm. Tasty with cheese melted on top, along with an assortment of condiments and greens such as arugula.
* According to numerous basic recipes for cooking lentils, adding salt to lentils during the cooking process keeps the lentils hard or crunchy even after they are cooked.
I believed this advice, although, when I make lentil soup, I add the salt while cooking and have not found this to be an issue. Next time I make the soup, I’ll take note to determine if this applies to a soup.