Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Curry-Spiced Red Lentil Burgers

One thing I love about cooking is the ability to take a recipe and make it your own based off what you have in your own kitchen and what your preferences are - even if that original recipe was written by the masterminds over at Food & Wine.

Last week, Z and I did just that. Most of our spices are in storage, so we had little to choose from - and we also don't have the money to go out and buy all new spices for one single recipe. So, we took this recipe and made it our own - and saved a whole lot of money doing so.

Curry-Spiced Red Lentil Burgers
Adapted from Food & Wine
Yields: 5 servings
-1 1/2 cups red lentils
-1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
-3 medium carrots, roughly chopped (although I recommend "finely" chopped)
-3 tbsp. minced garlic
-1 1/2 teaspoons red curry powder
-1/4 teaspoon chili powder
-3/4 cup plain, dry bread crumbs
-1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves
-2 large eggs, lightly beaten
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-1 cup plain low-fat greek yogurt
-1 teaspoon lemon juice

1.) In a large saucepan, cover the lentils with cold water by 2 inches and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer the lentils until they are very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the lentils well.

2.) Preheat the broiler. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the carrots and two-thirds of the garlic and cook until the carrots begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in the curry and chili powder and remove from the heat. Mix in the bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, the eggs, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 5 patties.

3.) Line a baking sheet with foil. Brush the foil and both sides of the burgers with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Broil until golden, about 3 minutes per side.

4.) Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the yogurt with the lemon juice and the remaining garlic and 1 tablespoon of parsley. Serve the burgers hot and bun-less, with the yogurt sauce on the side.

On the side, we had oven baked potatoes flavored with dried rosemary, salt and pepper.

And we washed it all down with some Ommegang Abbey Ale.

The end result was a spicy, almost exotic-flavored burger that was nutritious and economical to boot. The yogurt dressing helped to cool down the spice of the burger, too, while the crispy, flavorful potatoes and the full-bodied Belgian beer rounded out the meal beautifully.

Do you follow recipes to a T or do you improvise when necessary?


  1. I definitely improvise based on what I have on hand!

  2. I am trying to get better about improvising. I'm one of the minorities out there (i feel) in that I always want to follow recipes to a tee!

  3. I love improvising with recipes too! These look great!

  4. I love new takes on vegetarian burgers. Curry is one of my favorite spices--this sounds perfect for a weeknight meal.