This easy vegan lentil burgers recipe creates a vegan, gluten-free, plant-based burger that’s a high-protein alternative for your vegetarian dinners. These healthy patties are high in fiber, folate, and flavor.
Homemade Veggie Burgers
I like making my own veggie burgers because it’s so easy! These vegan lentil burgers are a perfect example. When I make it myself, I can decide what herbs and flavors are used. So, I combined my love of convenience with my desire to control ingredients by making these super easy lentil burgers.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Using rolled oats combined with flax and tofu creates a firm patty without using breadcrumbs, making this a tasty but gluten-free lentil burger recipe
- The right mix of seasonings, including paprika, adds color and flavor to every bite
- Cooking lentils to perfection creates lentil burgers with the best texture!
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Onion — I used a yellow onion, but you can substitute white or red.
- Lentils — I prefer using dried bagged brown lentils.
- Tofu — We’ll be using extra-firm tofu. Here’s more on how to buy tofu.
- Ground flax seeds
- Rolled oats — You can use rolled oats, also known as old-fashioned oats, or substitute instant oats.
- Vegetable Better than Bouillon — This is a favorite seasoning and is available in most grocery stores.
- Nutritional yeast flakes — You can buy nutritional yeast flakes at health food stores or online.
- Seasoning — You’ll need rubbed sage, turmeric, paprika, and freshly ground black pepper.
What are the Best Lentils for Lentil Soup?
There are many different varieties of lentils, from red lentils, green lentils, brown lentils, and black lentils. Everyone has opinions about what lentils are best based on their cooking time and texture. I recommend brown lentils because they’re easily available and cook up perfectly without soaking. You can substitute green lentils (also known as French lentils) without adjusting the recipe. If you use red lentils, they cook up much more quickly and can get mushy, so be sure to keep an eye on them as they cook.
How to Make Vegan Lentil Burgers
Here are the steps to make these tasty vegan lentil burgers:
- Cook lentils in a saucepan for 25 minutes until done.
- Pulse remaining ingredients in a food processor until combined.
- Pulse 2 cups of the lentil mixture with the tofu mixture.
- Stir in the remaining lentil mixture into the food processing bowl.
- Set aside for about 5 minutes, to allow the mixture to thicken.
- Make patties and cook them in the skillet or oven until browned.
- Serve burgers on buns with your favorite toppings.
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Step One: Cook Lentils
Cooking with lentils is a great thing to learn because they’re pretty easy to make. That’s because, unlike other beans, lentils don’t require pre-soaking.
- Combine the lentils, water, and onions in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat until the water is at a low simmer. The water should be moving, but not too much. I love these tips on cooking lentils from The Kitchn.
- Cook the lentils until the moisture is all cooked out. In fact, the trick to improved texture in your lentil burgers is reduced moisture from the ingredients. To achieve this, when the lentils are done, I will remove the lid and leave the saucepan on the stove for a few minutes to let it “burn off ” some steam (aka moisture).
Step Two: Create the Batter
The rest of the steps involve a food processor because it makes creating the batter for these patties easy. Combine tofu, 1/2 cup oats, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, nuts, and spices in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined.
Add two cups of the cooked lentils. Pulse again. Then add the remaining lentils and onions, remaining ground flax, and remaining oats. Use a spatula to stir this together to create the finished batter.
Step Three: Form Patties and Cook
This vegan lentil burger recipe makes a big batch of veggie burgers. You can make them all using one process below or mix them up, doing half and half!
For pan-fried lentil patties:
- Place a skillet over medium heat and spray with vegetable cooking spray.
- Use an ice cream scoop or measuring cup to place a dollop of lentil burger batter on the skillet and use a spatula to flatten it out and smooth out the edges.
- Repeat with the remaining space in the skillet.
- Cook the lentil patties until lightly browned on one side and then flip and cook on the other side.
- Transfer to a pan and bake at 300°F for about 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter.
For baked lentil patties:
- Make uniform-sized patties.
- Place patties on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated oven to 375°F degrees.
- Bake for approximately 25 minutes, removing the pan to flip burgers about half-way through.
Also, you can make this recipe into Lentil Meatballs, too.
Store burgers in airtight container in the fridge where they will keep up to 4 to 5 days. They can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Here are some favorite veggie burger toppings:
- Chopped lettuce
- Vegan Mayo or this Vegan Big Mac Sauce
- Sliced tomatoes
- Vegan BBQ Sauce
- Tempeh Bacon slices are great
- Use this Garlic Confit to add mashed roasted garlic or fry lentil burgers
- Believe it or not this Walnut Pesto adds amazing flavor
- You can use storebought buns or use this Vegan Hot Dog Buns recipe to make hamburger buns.
What lentils should I use in lentil veggie burgers?
The type of lentils you use for vegan lentil burgers matters because each variety of lentil cooks differently and yields a different texture once cooked. Brown lentils are preferred because of their sturdy texture. They’re readily available (and affordable), keep a firmer shape, and don’t get overly mushy. If you want to use another variety, like red lentils, you should mix half and half red lentils with brown lentils.
How do you make bean burgers stick together?
Bean burgers need some ingredient to make them stick together or, they’ll be a crumbly mess. Make your bean burgers vegan by using binding ingredients, like bread crumbs (the gluten is the binding agent), ground flax seeds, oats, and more!
Do you bake or pan-fry veggie burgers?
You can bake or pan-fry veggie burgers based on your preference. I prefer to pan-fry lentil burgers, because of the fried, crispy edge it produces. That said, baked lentil patties can develop crispy edges and baked-in flavors that are amazing, too.
I made these for my guests (2 are vegan but the rest are meat eaters) and they all loved them… This is definitely going to be our go-to vegan burger recipe.
Vegan Lentil Burgers
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup lentils
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 cup extra firm tofu Pressed to drain extra fluid
- 2 tablespoon ground flax seeds, divided
- 1 ¼ cups rolled oats, divided (old fashioned oatmeal)
- 1 tablespoon raw cashews (see note)
- 2 teaspoons vegetable Better than Bouillon
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Add chopped onions and lentils to a saucepan. Add the water. Bring this to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes.
- In a food processor, add the tofu, 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds, ½ cup of rolled oats, raw cashews (or nuts/seeds of your choice), bouillon, nutritional yeast flakes, sage, turmeric, and paprika. Pulse until combined.
- When the lentils are done (they should be tender), drain any excess liquid using a strainer. I dabbed it with a paper towel as well. Less liquid is good. Add 2 cups of the lentil mixture with the tofu mixture. Pulse to combine.
- Add the remaining lentil mixture into the food processing bowl and use a spatula to stir it. Add the remaining ground flax and oats and stir to combine. Set aside for about 5 minutes, to allow the mixture to thicken.
- Skillet Method: Spray cooking spray over a skillet. Place over medium to medium-high heat. Use an ice cream scoop to place dollops of the lentil mixture equally spaced apart on a skillet. Use the back of the scoop to spread the dollops out to form the shape of a patty. Sprinkle the tops of each with freshly ground pepper. Cook for several minutes until the bottom side is golden brown. Flip and cook the other side as well. Place cooked burgers in a heated oven or toaster oven set at 250°F/120°C while repeating this process with the rest of the lentil batter.
- Oven Method: Heat your oven to 375°F/190°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use an ice cream scoop to place dollops of the lentil mixture equally spaced apart on the baking sheets. use the back of the scoop to spread the dollops out to form the shape of a patty. Sprinkle the tops of each with freshly ground pepper. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping the burgers about half-way through.
- Serving suggestions: Place lentil burger between two slices of a grilled bun (put a little olive oil in your skillet – yes, that same one again – and place the buns face down in the skillet and cook until the bread is lightly browned). Or you can do like me, and opt for a gluten-free dinner by placing your lentil burger between two slices of lettuce. Top with lettuce, grilled onions, and your favorite condiments.
- Burgers will last 4 to 5 days in the fridge or up to 2 months in the freezer.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.