I used to eat veggie burgers thinking they were much healthier than meat burgers.
Then I learned about what was actually IN them. Many of the “good” ones have wheat, gluten or soy at least. The “bad” ones have all kinds of stuff like:
- Yeast extract, which is basically MSG (read more here)
- Textured soy protein, which is made using hexane – a byproduct of gasoline refining and is classified by the CDC as a neurotoxin. Here is an article about soy protein, and another one on textured vegetable protein
- Corn products like corn oil or maltodextrin, “modified” corn starch (anything “modified” is not healthy)
- Colors and preservatives
There are a couple of brands that are good, even for all-organic, gmo-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, garlic-free, corn-free me, but then there is the taste factor and the cost factor… The best ones are the Sunshine Burgers, but the taste is not really my favorite. They work in a pinch, and are the only ones I’ve found that I like at all.
So, after all that, I hadn’t had a veggie burger in quite some time. A friend of mine mentioned a quinoa/lentil burger she was going to try, and I thought, hmmm, why not try to make one?
Now, why am I so picky about things like yeast extract, modified corn starch (aside from the fact it’s corn which I’m avoiding), and colorings, etc?
Many of these products were made in a lab, not in a garden or in a kitchen, and so in my opinion they should stay in a lab, and not in someone’s meal. If you read the article above on yeast extract, you’ll see that it’s actually a modification of MSG, which is unhealthy, however, it’s able to be passed through even organic certifications because of a non-strict labeling law. Many of the additives to food, and processed foods are really quite toxic once you learn about them.
So watch out for the organic bouillons and broths and chips. If you are avoiding MSG, check for “yeast extract” before you buy. We found the organic bouillon we were using had it, which is how I learned about it.
Well, this recipe has no MSG, no gluten, etc. It will take longer to make than the others I’ve listed on the site, unless you make the quinoa and lentils ahead of time. Then you just have the mixing and frying time, which is much more doable when you have a toddler around. But it is worth the wait
Lentil and Quinoa Patties
- 1/2 cup organic red lentils
- 1 cup organic quinoa
- 1/2 cup organic onion, diced
- 1 large or 2 small organic fennel stalks
- 1 medium organic kale leaf, despined
- 1/4 cup organic sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup organic hemp seeds
- 1 organic egg
- 7 Tablespoons gluten-free flour or breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon organic tumeric powder
- 1 teaspoon organic cumin powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 pots and spoons
- Mixing bowl and spatula
- Frying pan and spatula
- Wash/rinse quinoa.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add quinoa and a dash of salt. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- At the same time, bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add lentils, turmeric, cumin and some salt and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 min.
- While those are cooking, place onion, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, fennel and kale into a food processor.
- Once the lentils are finished and cool enough to taste, then add them to the food processor and process until the mixture is a thick puree.
- Once the quinoa is finished, transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
- Add mixture to the quinoa and stir.
- Add the egg and combine well.
- Then add the flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the consistency of a burger patty, although it is fine if it doesn’t hold together quite as well as a burger. It took me 7 Tablespoons, but don’t be surprised if you need a little more or less.
- Add some more salt (about 1 teaspoon) and some pepper (1/4 teaspoon or so) to the mixture. Combine well.
- Heat the frying pan on medium heat and put in a little oil.
- Using your spoon, spoon over some patties! They will cook for about 4 minutes on each side (unless your frying pan isn’t all the way heated yet, then they will cook longer). You’ll know when they are ready to flip as they will stay together and the cooked side will be golden brown. They should be a nice golden brown on both sides when they are finished.
- Serve either as you would with burger patties on a gluten-free bun with toppings, or as a pretty stack with maybe a hint of ketchup, mustard or veganaise.