Southwest Lentil Burgers

Southwest Lentil Burgers

The reason I adore burgers has never been the meat, even when I did eat meat.  Back then, the smaller the patty, the better, so I could pile more condiments on top.  Getting too much ground beef in one bite was not a good thing for me… I think I was always destined to be vegetarian!

So when I went “veg” it was easy to love burgers made from the condiments themselves, know what I mean?  The flavour agents… onions, mustard, ketchup, tomatoes, avocado, salsa…

Southwest Lentil Burgers

I’ve been making lentil burgers for years now, and I think everyone who knows me (vegetarian or not) has the recipe.  But then I decided to step it up a notch by adding salsa, cumin, cilantro, & brown rice… SOUTHWEST BURGERS, people!!!  And who doesn’t love Mexican food??  If you don’t, I’m sorry, but we can’t be friends.

Southwest Lentil Burgers

These burgers are based on lentils & brown rice, which not only taste great together, but also give you complete protein.  Salsa, bell peppers, onions, garlic, Mexican spices, and fresh cilantro really make the flavour pop in these healthy, hearty burgers.  I used my Vitamix to mash it all up and get a fairly uniform texture, but a food processor also works.  If you don’t have either, a good ol’ potato masher always does the trick, and that’s what I used before I got my Vitamix.  You get a little shoulder workout that way too… ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!

Southwest Lentil Burgers

I used quick oats as the binder, with a little bit of “panko” bread crumbs.  But if you need them to be gluten-free, just use certified GF oats, and sub the same amount of oats for the bread crumbs.  The mixture seems a bit sticky when you first make it, so if you have time to chill it before forming the patties, do.  But it still works even if you make them out while it’s warm.  The upside to the stickiness is that these burgers hold together really well as they’re cooking, and have a non-crumbly, firm texture when they’re done.  That’s worth scraping a little extra dough off my hands.

Southwest Lentil Burgers

I serve them with flour tortillas for dinner, and on top of salad (with cilantro-chili cashew cream) for lunch.  It’s your call…


Southwest Lentil Burgers

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 6-7 medium patties

Southwest Lentil Burgers


  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 t. cumin
  • ½ t. chili powder
  • ½ t. oregano
  • 1 t. salt, divided
  • ½ t. black pepper
  • 1 t. red wine vinegar
  • 1 t. lime or calamansi juice
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 T. flaxseed meal + 2 T. water
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs (sub another ¼ cup oats for GF)
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro, chopped
    To serve:
  • chopped avocado
  • salsa
  • chopped tomato
  • cilantro leaves
  • flour or corn tortillas


  • In a small saucepan, cook the lentils in plenty of water until soft, about 25 minutes, adding ½ t. salt in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain any leftover broth (this is great to keep, it’s very flavorful!) and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion & bell pepper until beginning to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, remaining ½ t. salt, & pepper, and cook 1-2 more minutes.
  • Add the red wine vinegar and lime or calamansi juice and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from heat.
  • Add the cooked lentils, bell pepper/onion mixture, brown rice, flax/water mixture, and salsa to a food processor or high-speed blender. Process at low speed or pulse until mixture is mashed but still has some texture. Stir in cilantro.
  • If you have time, chill the mixture for half an hour before making it into 6-7 medium patties, but if not, just make it out anyway… it will just be a bit stickier.
  • To cook, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Glaze the skillet with grapeseed or olive oil, then cook the patties 4-5 minutes on each side (flip once) or until golden brown on both sides. You can also bake them (brush with olive oil first) at 200C (400 F) for 20 minutes, flipping once so both sides get brown.
  • Serve with tortillas, salsa, chopped tomatoes & avocado, and cilantro leaves.
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6 thoughts on “Southwest Lentil Burgers”

    1. Welcome to the veg world, Jo! 😉 Knowing your kids, I think they will love this one… my kids do. These burgs really do stay together well… the dough will even seem a bit wet at the beginning. If it’s too hard to make the patties, chill it, or add more oats/bread crumbs. Let me know how it goes! xxx

  1. Perfect timing, Rebecca! I have been bringing a dry mix from Prague for veggie patties, but always was searching for good recipe for fresh ones! Will make tomorrow;-))).

  2. Marilyn Duncan-Webb

    I’m certainly planning to try these. I notice the ingredient list calls for brown lentils, but the photos looks like they’re split red lentils. Could I substitute red for brown? Also, just a reminder for people with celiac disease, the oats need to be ‘certified gluten free’ or ‘certified wheat free’ as recular grocery store oats are commonly contaminated with wheat. I use the Only Oats brand and have had no problems.

    1. Marilyn, I think the lentils have taken on a reddish colour due to the salsa & chili powder… but they are definitely the brown ones. Red split lentils will be too soft for this recipe. I should have specified “certified GF” oats… contamination is certainly a common problem. Glad you’ve found a brand that works for you! Enjoy the recipe!

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