Infusing these burgers with creamy goat cheese and adorning them with a lively pesto solves the concern that lentil burgers are always too, well, earthy. In lieu of zucchini, other good vegetable topping options include tomato, cucumber, and/or grilled eggplant slices.

1 1/4 cup (310 mL) dried green lentils
3 cups (750 mL) spinach
1/2 cup (125 mL) flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt, divided
1/2 cup (125 mL) wheat germ
4 oz (114 g) soft goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup (80 mL) chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground cumin
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
2 medium-sized zucchinis
Grapeseed oil for grilling
6 whole grain buns (optional)
Sprouts or microgreens (optional)

Place lentils in medium-sized saucepan with 4 cups (1 L) water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside to cool.

As lentils are cooling, place spinach and parsley in food processor container and pulse until well chopped. Add olive oil, lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt to container and blend until well combined, wiping down sides as needed. Set aside.

Add lentils to food processor container and pulse until most of the lentils have broken down but are not completely smooth. Add remaining garlic, remaining salt, wheat germ, goat cheese, walnuts, balsamic vinegar, mustard, cumin, and black pepper; pulse until well combined. Form mixture into 6 equal-sized patties.

Slice zucchini in half along their width. Stand the 4 halves upright and slice each into 4 or 5 thin slices.

Preheat grill to medium. Brush burgers and zucchini slices with oil. Grill burgers for 4 minutes per side, or until they have developed a crispy crust. Grill zucchini slices until tender, flipping once, about 5 minutes.

If using buns, heat them on the grill for 1 minute, or until toasted. Serve lentil burgers topped with spinach pesto, zucchini slices, and sprouts or microgreens, if using.

Serves 6.

Each serving contains: 350 calories; 18 g protein; 16 g total fat (4 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 35 g total carbohydrates (3 g sugars, 15 g fibre); 289 mg sodium

source: "Veggie Burgers", alive #370, August 2013

About the Author

Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD, is an Ontario-based dietitian, nutrition writer, and recipe developer. He is also the author of Muffin Tin Chef and The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook (Ulysses Press, 2012, 2013).