3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (14-ounce) can lentils, drained and rinsed
1 (14-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup shredded Gruyere
1 cup crumbled feta
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
all-purpose flour, for dusting
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet. Add onion and cook over medium heat until tender and not colored. Add garlic, cumin and cayenne, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
Put lentils and chickpeas in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add onion mixture, tahini and parsley and pulse again until nearly smooth. Spoon into large bowl and add egg, breadcrumbs and cheeses.
Mix with hands and add salt and pepper. Shape into patties and lightly dust with flour. Heat remaining oil in large skillet. Place burgers in pan and cook until golden on both sides. Serves 4.
Okay, this burger was seriously tasty. It ends up that lentils and chickpeas are great partners. The combination provided a hearty, substantial product that served as a great background for the flavors of the cheeses and spices. Feta cheese served a textural purpose but the Gruyere was the star for me. Vegetarian burgers can sometimes be dry but the Gruyere added a wonderful creaminess that helped the burger maintain moisture.
The flavor profile was really pleasing. Although Feta and Cumin go well together, I would have never thought to combine Gruyere and Cumin or Gruyere and Tahini. The combination of these ingredients, however, worked perfectly. The only change I made to the recipe was to omit the cayenne. My dad did not have cayenne in his pantry so we decided to go without. I don't feel as though the recipe suffered as a result, but I will try it with cayenne next time for comparison.
The most special contribution to this recipe was the high quality breadcrumbs. My father purchased a loaf of Spelt Bread from Cottage Grove Farmhouse Bakery and my step-mom converted it to breadcrumbs. This particular bakery is located south of Eugene in a small town called Cottage Grove. They use no chemicals, no additives and their motto is "just real honest bread." The only ingredients in this loaf were organic wholegrain spelt flour, water, honey, yeast and salt. Spelt is a cereal grain in the wheat family that has a lower amount of gluten than regular wheat flour. It is rich in protein, B vitamins, magnesium and fiber. Although not gluten free, spelt seems to work for many people that have wheat allergies. I have been eating variations of spelt for years and I have always enjoyed it in any form.
I would like to give a shout out to my brother, Nick, who received a special treat in his burger; a small piece of wooden spoon. My dad and step-mom have a 1970s Oster Blender that I used instead of a food-processor. It ended up working just fine but somehow during the process, a chunk disappeared off the wooden spoon I was using. Oops. :) Anyway, my brother handled it like a champ and moved forward with enjoying his meal.
"Meat Free Monday Cookbook" by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney via relish.com