This recipe is a little more time consuming than I normally would put in, but when you serve it up to three kids under 12 and not only do they eat it, but they love it, (and when you know that burger is made up of healthy lentils and vegetables) it's well worth the effort.
I often think that the reason so many people eat the food they do is because they've not been exposed to other ideas. For instance, parents always comment on all the kinds of different foods my kids will eat, from Thai food to Japanese food, to vegan and vegetarian food.
Sure, they love "kid" food too. But the trick is to keep offering and tweaking and offering again. Over time, something that seemed "weird" will become normal, and maybe even loved.
I also think it's best if you tell your children what they are eating. Lentil burgers are never going to pass for meat. It's never going to be the same consistency or flavor. Instead you're taking a classic meal and offering a different version that is equally as tasty but healthier.
Vegan Lentil Burgers:
2/3 cup dried brown lentils
2 cups water
3/4 cup of large pearl couscous (you can substitute prepared rice or dry oats)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped finely
2 ribs of celery, chopped finely
2 green onions, chopped
1 small handful of parsley, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
4 heaping Tbsp. masa flour
Braggs Liquid Aminos or soysauce
In a small pan, combine the lentils and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered until the lentils are soft and the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
(A note here: I usually find I need to add more water at some point. If the water is gone, but the lentils are still hard, add more water)
At the same time, toast the couscous in 1 Tbsp olive oil until browned.
Add in the 1 cup of water, cover and simmer for 12 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, saute the onion, celery, carrot and spices in a large skillet until soft. This step also helps to release any moisture in the vegetables. Let cool.
Once everything is cool enough that you can handle it with, well, your hands, combine the cooked vegetables with the green onion and parsley, lentils and couscous. Mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle your masa flour over the top of it, and give a few good shakes of Braggs over everything.
Mash with your hands until everything resembles thick refried beans. Form patties with your hands. You should get about 8 of them.
Oil an large baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes on each side in a 375 degree oven. Serve with your favorite fixin's and enjoy!
Kelly certainly did!