This delicious red lentil burger recipe uses Indian spices and cooking techniques to make a healthy and delicious vegetarian meal. They are easy to make and so flavourful that they’re soon to become a favourite for a weeknight dinner.
What is great about these red lentil burgers is that they also freeze well and the recipe is easily doubled if you want to make a big batch and then freeze them for use later. So if you’re looking for a great, delicious and healthy meal that is perfect for any day of the week, these lentil burgers may just be the ticket.
Though they use a few spices and techniques that may seem intimidating, if you follow the recipe, you’ll find that they can come together in a bit over half an hour and it is so worth it. So if you’re looking for some spicy lentil burgers to jazz up your dinners, then these are a great choice.
How to Make Red Lentil Burgers
First and foremost, you need to cook your lentils. You can cook the lentils while you are getting everything else ready.
All you need to do is cover them with cold water, set over medium heat and bring boil until they’re tender. Then drain then and set aside until needed – this should only take about 10-15 minutes.
A foundation of Indian cooking that I have used in these burgers to amp up the flavour is the concept of “layering” spices. That means adding different spices at different times of cooking to develop a lot of complex flavours.
Start by adding some whole cumin seeds and some whole black mustard seeds to a cold skillet. Set the pan over medium heat and toast the seeds until they begin to dance around on the pan and they become very fragrant – only a couple of minutes.
Add a bit of neutral oil to the pan once you read this stage and heat it until shimmering. Then, add a finely diced red onion along with a generous pinch of salt.
Cook the onion until it begins to brown around the edges – this will take about 7-10 minutes. I urge you not to skip this step as it is really important to developing complex flavours in these burgers.
Once your onions are beginning to brown, add some very finely minced garlic, ginger and chilis. You can use a green chili like a serrano or jalapeño or use Thai chilis if that’s what you can find. If you’re sensitive to heat, go ahead and remove the ribs and seeds from the chilis to make it less spicy.
Cook the garlic and ginger until just fragrant, only about thirty seconds or so. Then, it’s time to add a few more spices.
This time, add in some ground coriander seed, ground turmeric, ground cumin and ground cardamom. Stir these into the onion and garlic mixture and cook until fragrant, another thirty seconds to one minute.
Then, add in a bit of tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste into the onion mixture and cook it for about two minutes, just to get the tinny flavour cooked out and it begins to darken a bit.
Take the pan off the heat and set aside for a few minutes while you get the rest of your burgers together.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together some eggs with a bit of lemon juice for acidity. Then, add in your cooked onion mixture and stir to combine.
Next, add in your cooked lentils along with some garam masala and chopped fresh cilantro. Mix this until very well combined.
Finally, gently fold in some panko breadcrumbs until they are just incorporated – you don’t want to overmix at this point!
Divide the mixture into equal pieces. Using your hands, roll them into balls and flatten them into patties.
I like to weigh mine out to ensure they’re equal, but you can eyeball this if that’s what you’d prefer. If you want to freeze the burgers, this is the time to wrap them and chuck them in the freezer. Just make sure to defrost them completely before you cook them!
To cook the lentil patties, heat a tablespoon or two of neutral oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s shimmering, add each patty to the pan and cook for about five minutes per side – or until they’re crispy and golden brown.
- 150g (3/4 cup) dried red lentils
- 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- 1 red onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 10g (2 teaspoons) fresh ginger, finely minced
- 1 green chili (such as a serrano) or 2-3 Thai chilis, finely diced (see note)
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 2 eggs
- 15ml (1 tablespoon) fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 10g fresh cilantro, chopped
- 75g (1 cup) panko bread crumbs
- Salt & pepper
- In a small saucepan, cover the lentils with cold water. Set over medium heat, bring to a boil, and cook until they are tender - about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
- While the lentils are cooking, add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds to a large skillet. Set over medium heat and cook until the seeds become more fragrant and begin to dance around on the pan - about 2-3 minutes.
- Add 15ml (1 tablespoon) of neutral oil to the skillet with the mustard and cumin seeds and heat until shimmering. Add the onion along with a generous pinch of salt. Cook the onion until it has softened and is beginning to brown around the edges, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic to the pan with the onions. Stir to combine and cook until very fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the coriander, turmeric, ground cumin and cardamom. Stir and cook for another minute or so, until very fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste to the pan. Stir to combine with the onion mixture and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice, along with a couple generous pinches of salt. Add the cooked onion mixture and stir to combine.
- To the bowl, add the drained lentils along with the garam masala. Stir until well combined.
- Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the lentil mixture and fold them in until just incorporated.
- Evenly divide the lentil mixture into 4 balls. Press them into patties with your hands and set aside.
- Over medium heat, add 15ml of neutral oil to a large skillet. Heat until shimmering and add your patties. Cook for five minutes before flipping and cooking for another five minutes. Serve immediately.
If you're sensitive to heat, remove the ribs and seeds from the chiles to make it less spicy.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 197Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 345mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 11g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This red lentil burger recipe is spicy, flavourful and easy to make. Great as a make-ahead dinner and perfect for any night of the week, they’re sure to become a family favourite.
Are you looking for a spiced lentil burger recipe? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!