Sunday, February 22, 2009

No Animals Were Harmed in The Making of This Blog Post

My "fake" Hamburger Patty

Some time ago, I bought a pack of dried lentil beans. I had no idea what to do with them except that I had planned on sneaking some of the cooked lentils into some re fried beans (for burritos). After all, if I mashed them enough, no one would notice.

The other day, I had this crazy idea that involved turning lentils into hamburgers. What did I do next? I searched the trusty Internet and found a pretty decent looking recipe. There is one quite picky eater at my house- when it comes to trying something new in the kitchen- so I proceeded with caution.

If you look hard enough on the Internet you will find literally hundreds of women and men that are writing posts on how to save money grocery wise - especially in these tight times. One of the things that I can easily agree with most of them is to reduce your grocery budget by serving "meatless" meals every once in awhile. I know what you might be thinking, I am not turning vegan, I am just exploring my economical options grocery wise.

Raise your hand if you hate beans.

I have never been very fond of beans in general but in my family's journey of trying to eat healthier, beans have slowly found themselves inching their way into the cupboard. Which brings me back to what I had originally wanted to share with you all: Lentil Burgers.

Being one of those cooks that do not write down recipes and does not make exact measurements of ingredients, you may be at a loss if you are a beginner cook but bare with me, I'll try my best to explain my crazy lentil recipe. As I said earlier, I found a recipe on the Internet by searching "lentil burger" but I did not follow that recipe exactly. I changed it. OK, I altered it a lot.


Small pack of dried lentils
One small onion (chopped)
Whole wheat bread crumbs (dried) (About 5 slices of bread crumbled and dried out in the oven)
Three eggs
Olive Oil
Ketchup (about a tablespoon or so)

That's it. Can you believe it? Those ingredients turned into the picture above. Amazing, huh?

I started by soaking my lentils overnight in the crock pot. You don't have to, you could simply rinse them well in a colander, put in a pan of water and boil for about 40 minutes or until tender.

If you have read enough of my blog posts, I tend to do things the long, hard way. You don't have to soak your lentils, but I did. Basically, I soaked my beans over night in water and lemon juice. Why you ask? Check out The Weston A. Price Foundation for further info or read the cookbook, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. (Basically, soaking grains and beans in an acidic solution releases the "nasties" that cause gas and bloating in some people and also unlock some of the goodies inside to make it easier for your body to absorb the nutrition inside of the food). No one likes gas and everyone loves better nutrition- right? The next morning, I rinsed them with clean water, added fresh water back to the crock pot, covered the beans and cooked them all day on low.

When your beans are done, drain all extra liquid from them and dump them into a blender (you can use a mixer too). Add the three eggs and ketchup and blend until smooth. What you will end up with is a nasty looking brown liquid but it will surprisingly, smell good. I went ahead and added some salt and pepper to taste and blended awhile longer.

Meanwhile, tear up about 5 pieces of loaf bread and lay the pieces on a baking pan and bake for a few minutes. My oven was set on 350 degrees. I kept peeking at the crumbs and took them out when they were nice and toasty. At that point, I was able to break the larger crumbs up into smaller crumbs. Set them aside.

Transfer your brown lentil juice mixture into a large bowl and add your chopped onion. I ended up only adding half of the chopped onion because there are a few in my household that don't like onions. (I did not want to over do it). Mix in about half of your bread crumbs and stir the mixture. Wait a few minutes to allow the bread crumbs to absorb some liquid, and see if the mixture is too soupy. If so, add more bread crumbs to the mixture and stir. Don't worry if you think the mixture will not form "patties". All you need is a slightly firm glob that will plop easily from a spoon. (Don't you just love my proper cooking terms?)

In a medium heated frying pan with about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, carefully drop the patty mixture from a large spoon. Using your spoon, flatten the "glob" into the shape of a patty. (I fit four patties in my pan). Cover the pan and let them fry for about 6-10 minutes. Lift up an edge and see if they are browning well. If after 6-10 minutes and they are browned nicely, carefully flip the patties and cook for an additional 6-10 minutes until browned.

That's it, veggie burgers! Can you believe it was that easy? Just wait until you taste them. I couldn't believe how good they tasted. The guinea pigs at my house thought that they had ground beef mixed in with them.

They even look like ground beef patties don't they?

Yum, Yum and saved some money too!

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