Friday, 25 March 2016

Butternut Squash Vegan Lentil Burgers

Vegetarian Lentil Burgers are easy to make and are packed with fibre and protein.

The lentil burgers are inspired by one of my favourite healthy vegetarian recipes from Chef Michael Smith. It's also 21 Day Fix friendly and is incredibly cheap! I never have certain ingredients he uses on hand though - for example miso paste isn't something I keep in the fridge so it's not in this recipe. I wanted to make this recipe for vegan Easter dinner so I modified it to make it simpler.

 I suggest using frozen butternut squash (look for it in the frozen veggie section) which makes the prep much easier. It's also a lot cheaper than buying a whole butternut squash in Canada these days. Instead of the butternut squash and potato you can also substitute 2 cups of grated sweet potato or 2 cups of grated carrots. I've tried both and it works great. All of these orange veggies have the same sweet flavour that goes great with the savoury flavour of the sage, lentils and mushrooms.
To save money try using more lentils as a protein source.

The mushrooms, peanut butter and black lentils give the burgers a rich hearty taste which is reminiscent of a burger and goes well with typical burger toppings. I love topping mine with aged cheddar, avocado, tomato and lettuce on a whole wheat bun. To chop all the veggies I use my food processor with the grater attachment but you can also use a box grater or chop them with a knife. The food processor makes things a lot quicker. To mix things together you can also use your food processor with the regular blade but don't process the lentils or potato - mix those in afterwards.
Fun fact: Lentils come from Canada and grow well in the prairies.

For the lentils be sure to choose black, beluga, french or dupuy lentils. You may have to make a special trip to the bulk barn, whole foods or a health food store to find these since they usually aren't in the regular grocery store. Black lentils hold up better and don't fall apart so I like them better in most recipes. To make the lentils just soak them for a few hours in a large bowl covered with water (they will expand in the water) then boil them for 15 minutes like you're making rice. When they are done you'll be able to smash them with a fork. Drain off any excess water and let them cool a bit before using them in the recipe.

If you can't make a trip to the bulk barn the next best lentil type would be canned lentils - you don't have to boil these, just drain and rinse them and they're ready to go in your recipe. The pink lentils you see in the grocery store can be used in a pinch but they are kind of flavourless and don't have the same oomph as the other kinds.

If you think of lentils as coming from India (I thought myself that they were imported) you would be wrong. Lentils actually grow extremely well in Canada. Canada is actually the World's main producer of lentils believe it or not and 80% of lentils come from Canada! So in fact by eating more lentils you're supporting the Canadian economy! I hope with this recipe you'll be able to incorporate more lentils into your diet. Not only are they tasty, cheap and local to Canada but they're also healthy and packed with fibre and protein. If you're still scared of cooking lentils explore Chef Michael Smith's website as there are a lot of short youtube videos on how to cook them - don't worry though it's not rocket science!
Black or dupuy lentils go best in burgers.



Butternut Squash Vegan Lentil Burgers 
     Makes about 12 patties
Ingredients 
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

  • 1 Onion, Chopped

  • 200 gr Mushrooms, Chopped

  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Diced

  • 2 Cups Black, Beluga, French or Dupuy Lentils, Cooked

  • 1 Cups Cubed Butternut Squash, Cooked (or frozen squash defrosted)

  • 1 Cup grated Potato

  • 1 Cup Breadcrumbs (or almond flour to make it gluten-free)
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Sage

  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Ground Flax
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat and fry the onion, mushroom and garlic until golden brown (10-15 minutes).
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. 
  3. Form into patties with 1/3 Cup of the mixture in each patty.
  4. Fry over low heat, cook on the BBQ or cook for 20 minutes at 400F in the oven.
  5. Serve hot with cilantro and avocado on a whole wheat bun.
* The raw patties can be frozen and cooked at a later date.