When I had a bag of lentils to use up, I turned to one of my favorite vegan authors, Robin Robertson for some suggestions. As expected, Robin had a whole arsenal of lentil recipes that went far beyond your traditional lentil soup or lentil curry. I opted to make her Better Than Bean Burgers (aka these lentil oat burgers) from her Vegan on the Cheap cookbook. I don’t always have buns on hand, so I made veggie burger salads.
Plant-Based Lentil Oat Burgers that go from Pantry to Table
I had to make a few adjustments based on what I had on hand and because my wheat gluten seems to have super-binding power (see below for gluten-free option also), but overall, I stayed true to Robin’s recipe. And I must say, I absolutely loved the texture. The taste is also nice and mellow, allowing room for flavorful condiments. But I do have some tips and suggestions for options in these quick FAQs.
What Type of Lentils Should I Use?
I used brown lentils, which are the cheapest and easiest to find. Once cooked, most lentil types will work fine in these lentil oat burgers. Red lentils tend to be a little softer, so more wheat gluten might be needed if using that type.
What is Vital Wheat Gluten?
Gluten is a key protein in wheat flour, and you can buy it as a stand alone flour. When wet, it binds almost like glue, and has a better texture for meat alternatives than many other binding options.
Can I Grill these Lentil Oat Burgers?
Mine were cohesive enough to grill. The wheat gluten gives them extra binding powder. You can increase it – Robin actually uses a 1/4 to 1/2 cup gluten in a batch this size! I just prefer the taste and texture with less gluten.
How Can I Make these High Protein Burgers?
They’re already pretty high protein, with almost 15 grams per burger patty. But every 1 teaspoon of vital wheat gluten that you add to the recipe will increase the protein by 2 grams per burger patty. As mentioned above, Robin uses 1/4 cup or more (12 teaspoons) in a recipe this size, so you can increase the gluten without a problem. It will make the patties increasingly more cohesive. It’s just personal taste with texture and how strong your gluten flour is.
Special Diet Notes: Plant-Based Lentil Oat Burgers
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
For gluten-free lentil oat burgers, double the recipe and substitute 1 egg (if eggs are okay for you) or 3 tablespoons aquafaba for the wheat gluten, and use certified gluten-free oats. The lentil mixture will be wet and a bit loose (it is more cohesive and firm with the wheat gluten), but you should still be able to shape it into patties and they will firm up as they cook.
- ½ cup rolled or quick oats
- 1½ cups cooked lentils
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Place the oats in a spice grinder and either pulse them for a coarse flour or blend for a fine flour, your choice. I left them a bit coarse.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mash the lentils with the parsley, onion powder, salt, pepper, and garlic. Mash them very well – almost to a puree. Finally, mash in the wheat gluten. I found this amount to be perfect, but you can add more wheat gluten for a stronger bind if desired. I would only go up ½ to 1 teaspoon at a time though.
- Shape the lentils into three to four burgers or eight mini patties. I like the patties because they cook quicker, are easier to handle, and work great atop salads.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat (I used just 1 tablespoon because I had a good non-stick skillet). Add the patties, cover, and cook 3 minutes per side for the mini patties or 5 minutes per side for the burger sized patties.