We have a problem here. I’ve got spring fever and it’s only the middle of January. This happens every year right after Christmas. I can always keep my spirits up for Christmas, even sometimes for New Year’s. But after the lights and the magic are gone I wish so much that I could just fast forward through the next couple months. I can’t stand winter. I know I’m not alone when I say it would be much easier if it weren’t so damn cold for weeks at a time. When you have a small baby, it takes a lot of effort to get outside when it’s -10C. If it’s any colder than that, you pretty much stay inside and make do with in-house activities. This is not the easiest task for someone who thrives on spending time outside.
If I can’t have spring right now, I’ll settle with another favourite thing: all the vegetables I can manage to consume. Honestly, I can’t wait for the day that loving vegetables isn’t considered weird. Fuelling your body with unprocessed whole foods feels so revitalizing. I love knowing that I’m taking care of myself in one of the best ways possible. Sometimes it’s difficult to sneak in meals when your six-month-old is getting more and more demanding by the day. When I have the chance, I make my meals as nutritionally packed as possible.
These lentil quinoa burgers did the trick! I paired them with garlicky mashed potatoes because they’re Brett’s favourite. I figured if he didn’t like the burgers, at least he had garlic potatoes. To my delight, he loved them!
You’re going to need:
1 can lentils OR 1.5 cups of cooked lentils
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 chopped jalapeño
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup corn
2 flax or chia eggs
2 tbsp ketchup (or, you know, more.)
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 cup gf breadcrumbs OR gf certified oats blended into a coarse flour
Salt to taste
I’ll be honest about a couple things first. The texture of chopped onions is one of my least favourite things. I chopped up extra celery and used onion powder. If I ever do use actual onion, it is a sweet white onion.
Second truth: I’m too lazy to soak and cook dried lentils. I use canned but more props to you if you start with dried lentils.
To start, heat oil in a pan and sauté the garlic with the onion. Let them get browned and caramelized. Add the jalapeños, celery, carrots, thyme, oregano, and cayenne and let them cook til tender. Stir in the corn. I added chopped dates for a sweetness here, but feel free to use dried cranberries or currants.
Transfer the veggies to a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher. Add in the lentils, quinoa, and flax egg, and continue mashing together. You want the mixture to be well combined while keeping about 1/3 of the lentils whole.
Add in the sauces, salt, nutritional yeast, and mix. Add in the breadcrumbs (or gf oat flour) and stir til just combined. Taste and add more sauce or spices as needed.
To test the mixture, form a burger patty. If it is too wet, add more breadcrumbs. If the patty crumbles or doesn’t feel like it will hold together, add another flax egg or more wet sauce.
Shape the mixture into patties – I made 6 large ones. You can fry or bake these. I baked them at 400F for 25 minutes. We didn’t use buns, because we have yet to find dependable gluten free buns.
The cayenne gives these a nice kick and they have the best texture of any veggie burgers I have ever made. Next time I make these I’m going to top them with grilled pineapple and maybe a simple glaze.
I love quinoa and lentils because they are nutritional powerhouses! From the quinoa you get good quantities of protein, folate, iron, and magnesium. The lentils offer more protein, more folate, and your omegas. Together they pack roughly 4.3 grams of protein into each burger (without taking into account the additional veggies.)
Now that I have a dependable veggie burger recipe, it’s time to find a dependable gluten free bun. Any suggestions, readers? I have heard good things about Lakeview Bakery on 90th, which is Lakeview’s location that only carries gluten free product and has NO gluten on premises. Has anybody tried it? Let me know your thoughts!