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