Falafel Style Lentil Burgers with Creamy Feta Sauce
Posted May 01 2013 12:00am
It is no secret that I love lentils . Between their high protein content and their earthy, nutty flavor – I’m always looking for more ways to squeeze lentils into my diet.
I’m also a huge fan of mediterranean flavors and the husband and I absolutely love falafel . And so, when I saw this recipe from Tasting Table, I absolutely had to try it!
These patties are made from tiny, quick cooking beluga lentils. Sweet potato is the sneaky ingredient that beefs up these patties and gives them a slightly sweet flavor. Spices like cumin, sumac, and oregano take you straight to the Mediterranean, and panko breadcrumbs + 1 egg helps bind the mixture together.
What you end up with is a delicious and nutritious falafel-style burger that is topped with a creamy feta and mint sauce that, truth be told, I could just eat straight from the bowl!
You can use whole wheat pita bread as the “burger bun” for these patties, or you can actually put them in a whole wheat burger bun. Either one would work. The feta sauce acts like a healthy version of “mayo,” and you can top it with any fresh veggies you like! I chose tomatoes, red onions and cucumbers to keep with the falafel theme.
One thing to note is that these patties are slightly soft: they won’t become super firm like traditional veggie burger patties, so it’s important to add texture and crunch from all of the vegetable toppings you add to this dish.
⅔ cup black beluga lentils (or green lentils), rinsed
½ medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
4 cups water
½ small red onion, finely chopped
1 large egg
⅔ cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground sumac (optional)
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Nonstick pan spray
For the Toppings/Burger Buns
Four medium sized whole-wheat pitas
2-3 vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
Diced red onions
Fresh baby spinach (optional)
For the Feta-Mint-Yogurt Sauce
Step 1: Make the burgers: In a medium pot, add the lentils, sweet potato and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer until the lentils and potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the mixture.
. Step 2: Transfer the lentil mixture to a food processor. To the lentil mixture, add the onion, egg, panko breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, cumin, marjoram, oregano, sumac (if using), salt and pepper. Pulse until coarsely chopped, about five 1-second pulses. Step 3: Shape the mixture into four 4- to 4½-inch patties, each about ½ inch thick.
Step 4: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat the skillet with nonstick pan spray and add two of the lentil burgers. Cook until the burgers are browned, 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with the remaining patties.
Step 5: Make the sauce: To a medium bowl, add the feta cheese, then use a fork to crumble it. Stir in the yogurt and mint.
Step 6: Slice open each pita to create 2 round slices. Place a lentil burger on 4 bottom rounds and top each with some of the feta sauce and your veggies. Top with the remaining pita rounds. Serve immediately.
Each serving includes: 1 burger patty, 1 whole wheat pita, and 1/4 of the sauce and veggies which ends up being pretty filling! For even more protein you can add 2 patties to your pita/burger sandwich and make it a double decker
But for the traditional amount (1 patty, 1 pita, 1/4 sauce), this recipe ends up being 340 calories, 6g fat, 54g carbs, 8g fiber, 10g protein. Not bad for a healthier falafel/burger dinner!
The husband and I both loved this recipe. And while it did take an hour to make, it was totally worth it at the end!