Falafel Style Lentil Burgers with Creamy Feta Sauce

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on May 1, 2013

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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!

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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.

The Ingredients

Recipe credit: Tasting Table

Yield: 4 burgers, Cook Time: 60 minutes

For the Burgers

  • 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
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Diced red onions
  • Fresh baby spinach (optional)

For the Feta-Mint-Yogurt Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
The Directions
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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.
.IMG_6996 IMG_6998Step 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.IMG_6999 IMG_7000IMG_7002Step 3: Shape the mixture into four 4- to 4½-inch patties, each about ½ inch thick.
.IMG_7005Step 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.
.IMG_7006 IMG_7007Step 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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Falafel Style Lentil Burgers with Creamy Feta Sauce

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 burgers

Serving Size: 1 burger

Each serving includes: 1 burger patty, 1 whole wheat pita, and 1/4 of the sauce and veggies. Nutritional Info per serving: (1 patty, 1 pita, 1/4 sauce): 340 calories, 6g fat, 54g carbs, 8g fiber, 10g protein.

Ingredients

  • Recipe credit: Tasting Table
  • For the Burgers
  • 2/3 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
  • ? 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
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Diced red onions
  • Fresh baby spinach (optional)
  • For the Feta-Mint-Yogurt Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves

Directions

  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.
  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.
  3. Shape the mixture into four 4- to 4½-inch patties, each about ½ inch thick.
  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.
  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.
  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.
http://pickyeaterblog.com/falafel-style-lentil-burgers-with-creamy-feta-sauce/

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

uma May 1, 2013 at 11:31 am

feta mint sauce is a tasty addition to lentil burgers.. awesome!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 1, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Thanks so much Uma!! The sauce really did make this a special dish!

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dixya@food, pleasure, and health May 2, 2013 at 7:40 am

i loveeeeeee lentils and just recently i made very similar burgers with black beans and sweet potatoes- such a delightfully healthy dish right 🙂

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 2, 2013 at 7:43 am

Yes!! Black beans are a great sub for lentils in this recipe too! Thanks Dixya!

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The food pyramid May 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Anjali, this is really an awesome dish. First of all, I love lentils, but I never thought about frying them…..hmmm. Really nice pictures as well!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 2, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Thank you so much!

Reply

Hayley May 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Oh my gosh, this looks so good! I am definitely gonna have to give this a try when I go home tonight. I unfortunately do not have a food processor in my apartment 🙁

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Thanks Hayley!! Oh and if you don’t have a food processor, you can try a blender or a potato masher should work too! Just make sure you beat the egg lightly before you mix it with everything else. Let me know how it turns out!!

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Michelle R May 7, 2013 at 6:20 am

This looks delicious, i am always looking for variations to veggie burgers. I love lentils, so i can’t wait to try this. Thank you for the recipe.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 7, 2013 at 7:25 am

Thank you so much Michelle! I’m sure you will love this recipe!

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Ryan Noelle May 7, 2013 at 8:32 am

Yay! I love this! I make something similar. A lentil loaf. Basically lentil meatloaf! xoxo

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 7, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Omg a lentil meatloaf sounds amazing! You have to send me the recipe! 🙂

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Abby July 14, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Hi! I just found your blog and I can’t wait to try some of these recipes! I was wondering where you managed to find whole wheat panko?

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 15, 2013 at 1:48 am

Hi Abby! So nice to meet you! 🙂 So I actually found whole wheat panko at my local grocery store (Berkeley Bowl – where I get all of my produce and other food items). I bet you could find whole wheat panko at any Whole Foods or health food store, and as a last resort you can always find it online. Hope that helps! Let me know how you like this recipe!

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PDhaker August 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

Whats green lentils in Hindi? Are they whole green moong

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I think that’s right! Whole Green Moong Dal sounds right to me. Let me know if that ends up working for you in this recipe!

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Angie January 12, 2014 at 7:40 am

Hi Anjali. I want to make this today but I don’t have marjoram. What is similar or can it be skipped?

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 17, 2014 at 10:59 pm

You can use oregano in place of marjoram! Hope that helps and I hope you like this recipe!

Reply

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