Latin Lentil Burgers (or Croquettes by any other name)

Basically, don't do it this way. When we couldn't get the proper consistency mashing lentils by hand, Cafe Drake HRV just threw them in the blender. Duh.

This recipe is brilliant for several reasons, including a very stiff burger mixture which allows you to shape almost perfect circles. No ring mold required.

A glorious messy melange of flavors, colors and textures is just the sort of kitchen "chaos" we can embrace.

Entrees need strong co-stars. Above, aan arugula salad with pea shoots, cherry tomatoes, scallions, roasted bell peppers, olives and a buttermilk dressing.

Our lentil burgers are dressed with lentil sprouts. Nutritionally dense and crunchy, the sprouts transform this meal in to a protein powerhouse of biblical proportions.

Leftover for Lunch: Lentil Burgers with Spinach-Peanut Stew, Roasted Yellow Squash, Bhutanese Red Rice, Olives and Buttermilk Dressing.

Not so much a recipe as a guideline, here's how we make Latin Lentil Croquettes (or burgers, if you prefer) at Cafe Drake HRV: start with 1 14-oz can of rinsed and drained lentils or 1 1/2 cups of those you've already cooked. Honestly, lentils are by far the easiest and quickest legumes to make at home and for croquettes you needn't worry if the lentils are overcooked since they'll be mashed anyway and you can use the plain ole ordinary brown variety. Save the tiny green French or black beluga ones for salads.

So to continue, throw the lentils in a blender or food processor along with: 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 1/3 cup chopped onions. Process until just thick and still slightly chunky. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add 3 T. or so minced green olives, crushed red pepper flakes to taste, salt to taste, 3 T. sunflower seeds, 1 t. ground cumin and 1 T. smoked paprika. Finally sprinkle the bowl with ground flax seeds, around 2 T. total. Mix well and shape into a large ball. Place in fridge for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

When you're ready to eat, heat 1-2 T. olive oil in a non-stick skillet over a medium flame. Shape the mixture into 4 or 5 burgers(croquettes). This will be easy to do as the ground flax seeds bind the other ingredients tightly.

Fry for about 4 minutes per side, adding a bit more oil if needed. Serving options and garnishes are limited only to your imagination.


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