Lentil + Quinoa Burgers // Baby Kale Pesto

>> Thursday, February 20, 2014

I decided over the weekend that we had enough food in the fridge to skip grocery shopping this week.  I like to skip from time to time to save money and use up foods we might otherwise let go to waste. Surely I could come up with some tasty meals for us -- but (MISTAKE!) I didn't do much planning. As a result, we've had some horrible, unsatisfying dinners this week.

Like one night we were going to do breakfast for dinner. We both like our eggs over-easy and only 1 of the 4 eggs didn't break into a hot mess on the stove. And then one night I was grumpy and hadn't eaten well all day, so I made myself a pitiful grilled cheese with a bruised apple on the side. Another night, we got takeout and the takeout place forgot half our order.

Here's how I made up for it last night:

makes 10-12 generously sized burgers

What You'll Need . . . 

  • 1 cup red lentils (uncooked) + 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup red quinoa (uncooked) + 3/4 cup water
  • 1 can white beans (or any, really), drained + rinsed + mashed
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 2 large white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted almonds, pulsed into coarse flour
  • 1/2 cup golden flax meal
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder

Method . . .

  1. Cook your red lentils (or any lentils) in the water until softened. Like 30-45 minutes or so. Do the same with the quinoa, but it only takes around 15 minutes. For both, simply put in the water and boil until water is absorbed. Then combine the two and set aside.
  2. Smash your beans with a fork and set aside with your pot of lentils + quinoa.
  3. Then in a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté your onion, pepper, and mushrooms with some olive oil. Long enough to soften and lightly brown them. The smaller you chop the veggies the better.
  4. Let everything cool a bit until it's warm, but not too hot to handle. Then combine everything together by hand until well mixed.
  5. Divide into 10-12 patties -- I used a 1/2 cup measure to scoop the to-be "burgers" into my palm and then shaped/flattened them.
  6. Place on a plate or cookie sheet and put in your fridge for around an hour to set.
  7. Then in a pan over medium-high heat, cook on each side in a little olive oil until golden brown and warmed the whole way through.
  8. You may also follow the directions in my Freezer Veggie Burgers post to freeze some of this batch for later consumption.


  • I topped each burger with a slice of cheese and let melt for a few minutes by covering the pan I fried in the burgers in with a lid.
  • Sriracha. Enough said.
  • I made my own buns (6 of them in all) in just 40 minutes by adapting this easy bun recipe -- instead of an egg, I used 1 tablespoon golden flax meal + 3 tablespoons hot water. Instead of regular flour, I used mostly whole wheat with a little white mixed in.
  • I also topped with some homemade pesto, using a variation of our simple Spinach Pesto recipe, as I'll detail below.


Combine the following ingredients in your food processor until smooth.

  • 2 (heaping) cups fresh baby kale
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • Water -- to achieve desired consistency

I plan to freeze some burgers for a future night when we're stuck wondering what to make. I love that this burger doesn't have flour in it to make up the bulk -- you get enough flour with the bun, right? And it's easily adaptable to whatever's on hand.

Like I said, we didn't shop this week, so I dug deep into our cupboard to mix these guys up. I'm sure they'd taste great with black beans, and any color quinoa or lentils under the rainbow. The taste and theme could be considerably changed by exchanging, say, curry for chipotle seasoning, etc.

Quite a redemption dinner!

* means VEGAN

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