I’ve done a lot of thinking about vegetarian burgers recently, I really want to keep experimenting with flavours and ultimately come up with what I consider to be the ultimate vegetarian burger.
The ultimate vegetarian burger has to be satisfying, savoury, full of flavour, a bit of a treat and completely moreish.
I usually make my burgers out of beans but this time I used lentils and butternut squash which gave the burger a completely different texture. It is quite soft but they keep their shape well because they are mixed with gluten free flour. The key is to not over cook the lentils, you want tender not mushy! Also getting the balance of flour is vital because I feel that too much flour and you get this horrible chewy texture and you definitely lose flavour!
I added some cayenne pepper and smoked paprika which I think worked really well, also instead of mashing the butternut squash I roasted it then sliced it into small chunks and gently mixed it with the lentils so when you eat it you get big chunky soft bites of squash 🙂
I love cayenne pepper but it is very spicy so feel free to use less, or leave it out completely! A few years ago I was cooking a recipe for dinner and it called for paprika and a red chilli, I didn’t have either of these but I did have cayenne pepper and a scotch bonnet chilli! I swapped the ingredients without adjusting the measurements and it blew my head off!! I didn’t make the same mistake again. I also used to get a bit shake happy with the chilli flakes because it never looked like many were coming out but I’d always regret it.
Last time I made a gluten free burger I photographed it in a bun which kind of defeated the point but the two go hand in hand! This time I decided to serve it wrapped up in lettuce leaves which was fresh and delicious! Ill definitely do this more.
Makes 4 burgers
150g (1 cup) dry red lentils
1/2 butternut squash
6 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tspn smoked paprika
1 tspn cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons gluten free flour ( I used rice flour)
Small bunch finely chopped coriander stalks
To serve – lettuce leaves, tomatoes and some potato wedges!
Cook the lentils in boiling water for approx 10 minutes until they are tender and split open but not completely broken down. Drain and allow to cool.
Heat the oven to 200c. Peel and slice the butternut squash, coat with a little oil and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Once cooked allow to cool and then slice into small chunks around 2cm in diameter.
In a large mixing bowl add the lentils, butternut squash, finely sliced spring onions, crushed garlic, spices, flour and coriander stalks. Gently mix together with your hands and when fully combined shape into 4 burgers and place them on a plate in the fridge for at least half an hour!
When ready to cook heat a small amount of oil in a large frying pan and fry the burgers for around 4 minutes on each side until lightly browned and hot all the way through.
Serve in the lettuce leaves with any burger sides of your choice, I like wedges and salad!