Food and Drink, Guest Bloggers, Secrets of an Astoria Chef, Vegetarian and Vegan
Apr 16, 2013

Secrets of An Astoria Chef – Red Lentil Burgers

Our Astoria chef, Clare, has created a wonderful veggie (and vegan) friendly dish in red lentil burgers, an homage to Mundo’s beloved Red Sonja.

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Red Lentil Burgers. Image source: Clare Langan

This veggie burger was inspired by the infamous Red Sonja at Mundo, the popular restaurant eatery now occupied by Mezze Place. An unassuming mixture of red lentils, bulgur, scallions, parsley and lots of lemon, the dish was a must-try.

My riff includes a few more spices, lemon zest and fragrant basmati rice. To keep things vegan-friendly, Iʼve swapped out an egg for flaxseed to bring everything together. Serve these Mundo style in lettuce cups, alongside fresh pita or on top of a salad.

Red Lentil Burgers

3 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup parsley leaves
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 cups cooked red lentils
1 cup cooked rice (leftover works fine, I used basmati)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
Grapeseed oil

Serving suggestions:

Pita, cucumber, arugula, tomatoes, lemon, tahini

First, a note on cooking lentils: bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add about 1 1/2 cups red lentils and simmer until tender. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve, pressing out water. You want them as dry as possible and completely cool before using.

In a food processor, combine the scallions, garlic, olive oil, coriander, cumin, salt, parsley, cayenne and lemon zest. Pulse to combine. Add the red lentils, rice and flaxseed. Pulse to combine. You donʼt want it too pureed, just enough so it binds together and forms a tacky mixture.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a large oven-proof skillet over med-high heat (I used cast iron). Form the mixture into patties about 1/2” thick. You can make them burger-size or smaller croquettes as I did.

Cook the patties a few minutes per side until golden brown. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the patties are slightly firm to the touch (the crust may crack a little).

Serve with pita and veggies, on top of a salad or in lettuce cups a la Mundo.

Where to buy:

Red Lentils, Pita and Rice: Mediterranean Foods

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