Grocery prices soaring, leaving families searching for new ways to stretch their food dollars. This is a great time to turn to and old favorite, beans. Not only are they incredibly cheap, the fiber will fill you up. The best part about beans is that they are incredibly shelf stable and are very versatile.
A few years ago, I created a lentil burger recipe which has become a family favorite. The texture is firm, but not crumbly. They also freeze very well, making them easy to grab for lunch on your way out the door to head to work.
If you’ve never tried a bean-based burger, let me give you my best pitch for why you should.
- have no Cholesterol
- are very low fat
- contain lots of protein
- are high fiber
- are incredibly economical
- taste fantastic
When I say “economical”, I really mean it! Two pounds of brown lentils cost less than $3.00 and, yet, will yield 28-30 burgers. That’s a lot of bang for your buck! Seriously!
Even when you add the cost of the other ingredients you are looking at about 15¢ per burger!
Compare how many burgers you get from two pounds of hamburger.
I based the cost per burger for this recipe on purchasing 1-pound bag of lentils from Dollar Tree for $1.25 per bag. However, in reality, six months ago, I bought twenty-five pound bags of lentils in bulk for about 70¢ a pound. So, my current cost per burger rounds out to substantially less.
I allowed a generous $1.50 to account for the cost of the spices and other ingredients. I truly don’t believe that the cost will be that high, but since your cost will be different than mine, I wanted to err on the high side, rather than the low side of figuring the actual cost of these burgers.
Watch me make these burgers and give you step-by-step instructions and helpful hints.
What will this recipe cost you to make?
- $2.50 – Lentils -(2 pounds)
- $.75 – Spices
- $.50 – Liquid smoke and Soy Sauce
- $.25 – Flour (or gluten free substitute)
The total cost of the ingredients is $4.00.
Using 1/3 cup of the lentil burger mixture to create each burger, you can expect a yield of 28, making the 14¢ each.
For a larger burger, use 1/2 cup of the mixture. You’ll get a yield of 21-22 burgers, making the cost about 18¢ per burger.
Read these related recipe posts:
- Easy 20-Minute Lentil Barbecue Sandwich Filling
- Fast, Easy Lentil Taco Filling
- Vegan Italian Lentil Soup
Why we love lentils
From a nutritional perspective, one-cup of cooked lentils boasts just over 15 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein, with negligible naturally occurring fat and sodium.
However, the true glory of lentils comes from the fact that they cook in 15-20 minutes flat. No other dried bean offers you that amazing almost fast-food-like convenience.
The only disadvantage is that since they are small and grow close to the ground, packaged lentils notoriously tend to contain grit and bits of dirt and rock. Giving them a brisk rinse under running water is an absolute “must” before cooking.
Start by rinsing two pounds of brown lentils (about 4 1/2 cups of lentils) and then placing them in a large pot along with 7 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.
At the end of the cooking time, the water should be absorbed into the lentils and the lentils should be tender, but not mushy. Remove from heat and add the remainder of the ingredients, except the flour.
After adding the seasoning, add 1/2 cup of flour and stir into mixture. Then, add flour 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture will just hold together.
Line two large baking trays with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. This will allow the bottom of the burgers to brown while cooking without any added oil.
Additionally, parchment paper may be removed after use and thrown away, simplifying clean up significantly.
Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, evenly space mounds of the burger mixture on the baking sheets and lightly pat them into a burger shape. I put fourteen to fifteen burgers on each, large baking sheet.
For a larger burger, use 1/2 cup of the mixture, which will yield 20-22 finished burgers.
The burgers won’t expand as they cook. So, unlike cookie dough, you don’t need to leave a lot of space between burgers.
Bake at 375 degrees. After 15 minutes, carefully flip the burgers to insure even browning on both sides. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes. Do NOT overcook the burgers. They will dry out and break apart.
Burgers should be brown and slightly firm to the touch when done. They will get firmer as they cool.
Note: If you chose to use 1/2 cup of the lentil mixture for each burger, then you may need to add another 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.
These smoky traditional burgers, have a “meaty” taste, because of the chili seasoning and liquid smoke.
Serve on a bun topped with traditional burger condiments.
Traditional Smoky Lentil Burgers
- 2 pounds brown lentils (about 4.5 cups) washed well and sorted
- 7 1/2 cups of water
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce (can sub Braggs aminos, if desired)
- 1 Tbsp salt-free seasoning (I like Kirkland brand)
- 2 Tbsp. liquid smoke
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 2 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 – 1 1/2 cup flour (can sub gluten free flour)
Yield: 28 – 30 burgers
Rinse 4 1/2 cups of lentils well and place in pan with 7 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. The water should be absorbed and the lentils should be tender, but not mushy. Remove from heat and add the remainder of the ingredients except for flour. Mix well.
Add flour 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture will just hold together. Add the flour a little at a time until the mixture has the consistency to make into balls, which hold together. The mixture should not be too dry or the finished burgers will fall apart.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, place mounds of the burger mixture on the baking sheets. Pat each of the mounds and flatten slightly to form a burger shape. The burgers will shrink slightly when cooked. This recipe will fill two, large baking trays with 12-15 burgers on each tray .
Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully flip the burgers. Bake an additional 15 minutes. The burgers should be browned and firm to the touch.
Serve fresh or cool completely and freeze for later use. Traditional Smoky Lentil Burgers will keep in the freezer for up to six months.
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