Our affection for lentils is twofold: The health-minded side of us adores their high protein and folate levels, while our palate craves the legumes' earthy flavor. Our Test Kitchen's falafel-style lentil burgers are both nutritious and delicious: Black beluga lentil patties are beefed up with sweet potato, red onion, panko breadcrumbs and spices, then stuffed into mini pitas and slathered with tangy feta-yogurt-mint sauce. Put two patties into a large pita for a more substantial sandwich. Either way, prepare to fall in love.
Falafel-Style Lentil Burgers with Feta Sauce
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 burgers
Cook Time: 40 minutes
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
Four 4-inch whole-wheat pitas or two large whole-wheat pitas
1 vine-ripened tomato, cored and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1. Make the burgers: In a medium saucepan, 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 through a fine-mesh sieve and transfer the lentil mixture to a food processor.
2. 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. Shape the mixture into four 4- to 4½-inch patties, each about ½ inch thick.
3. 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.
4. Make the sauce: To a medium bowl, add the feta cheese, then use a fork to crumble it. Stir in the yogurt and mint.
5. 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 a few tomato slices. Top with the remaining pita rounds. Serve immediately. Calories per Serving: 340; Sodium: 1030mg; Total Carbohydrate: 54g; Fiber: 8g; Fat: 6g