There are, of course, many reasons why I love my husband, but here's one close to the top of the list...He almost never complains about what I set before him for dinner. Definitely, there are things that are not at the top of his food-love list, but if I spend time making him dinner, he's always appreciative. There is only one time that comes to mind when I felt I really disappointed him and that's when, in a rush, I basically made him a plate of dry noodles. Little irks him more than dry, bland food. After all, he was raised on his mama's Korean home cooking, full of spice and drunk with flavor.
That being said, lentils, quinoa, and couscous are not high on his favorites list. He tolerates them well and sometimes even likes them, but he would definitely take a good hunk of meat over any of my vegetarian dishes. Fair enough. But when I stumbled upon Heidi's lentil burgers featured on her health-guru blog, 101 Cookbooks, I thought I'd give them a try.
When my husband sat at the table, I probably should have told him right off that these weren't beef burgers, or my more typical bison burgers, but I just let him take a bite.
Hey, this isn't meat!
That was his first response. But after the first disappointing/confusing bite, he warmed up to them. He finished up his vegetarian burger by saying that this was a particularly nice way to prepare lentils. So I think that's the green light to make more in the future. Hooray! I also really enjoyed them and was surprised at how good and flavorful these burgers were. The texture is definitely different, but perhaps similar to a falafel. Topped with some fresh basil and spinach from my garden, a few slices of avocado and a dollop of lemony goat cheese, these little burgers really hit the spot on this very hot summer day.
Source: 101 Cookbooks
makes 10-12 burgers
3 cups cooked black or French lentils (this is probably 1-1.5 cups dry lentils)
1/2 t. fine sea salt
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup bread crumbs
1 T. olive oil
Pulse the lentils, salt and eggs in a food processor until mixed, but still somewhat chunky. Move the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the onion and bread crumbs. Begin to heat your pan over medium low heat while the bread crumbs absorb some moisture.
Add the oil to your preheated pans and then form burgers about 1 inch thick. Cook on one side for about 7 minutes and check to make sure you don't burn them (I did the first time). Once browned, flip and cook the other side for 7-10 minutes until cooked through. Top them with whatever you have around. I used spinach, basil, avocado, and softened goat cheese mixed with some lemon juice.
I'll leave it up to you to decide whether or not to tell your husband before he takes his first bite. But it does look like meat. Maybe he won't notice?