This easy 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
When I first went vegetarian I relied mostly on store-bought products, like veggie burgers. They were very satisfying and tasty, so it worked. Still today we buy store-bought vegan products and they have only improved over time.
However, I also like making my own veggie burgers too. These 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.
Gluten-Free Lentil Burgers
With most veggie burgers the goal is to create a firm patty, therefore you need the perfect “filler.” For a lentil burger, it’s tempting to use breadcrumbs. Instead, this recipe is gluten-free since it uses a combination of ground flax seeds, tofu, and rolled oats.
How to 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.
In this recipe, I call for using brown lentils. They’re the ones most commonly available. You can use green lentils or red lentils, but be aware the cooking time is different.
Combine the lentils, water, and onions in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then 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).
How to Make Vegan Lentil Burgers
Here are the steps to make these tasty lentil burgers:
Step One: Cook the Lentils
Add onion, water, and lentils to a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to create a low simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
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
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: Create equally-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.
Do you Bake or Pan Fry Veggie Burgers?
I prefer to pan-fry lentil burgers, but I’m providing options for making the patties in the skillet and baked.
I like the skillet best because of the fried, crispy edge it produces. That said, I could go for baked lentil patties any day of the week.
Also, as a side note, you can make this recipe into Lentil Meatballs, too.
First, let’s begin with the bun. Spread a little vegan butter or olive oil on the cut sides of both buns and place the buns face down in the hot skillet. Cook until the bread is lightly toasted.
Or you can do like me, and opt for a gluten-free dinner by placing your lentil burger between two slices of lettuce.
Top your veggie burger with lettuce, grilled onions, sliced avocado, vegan mayo, and your favorite condiments. I think a drizzle of this Date-Sweetened BBQ Sauce would be amazing!
Here are even more amazing lentil burger toppings:
- Chopped lettuce
- Vegan Mayo
- Sliced tomatoes
- 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
What lentils should I use in lentil veggie burgers?
The type of lentils you use for 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 like vegan veggie burgers? Me too! Be sure and check these out:
- This Vegan Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger recipe is perfect for meal prepping!
- Can you imagine a chickpea infused Vegan Chicken Parmesan Sandwich? You won’t believe how good it tastes!
- The Ultimate Veggie Burger is fall-on-the-floor good!
- Serve this Vegan Chicken Parmesan on a bun and you’ll be in love!
- Not a burger per se, but this Vegan Chicken Salad recipe is a go-to favorite!
Easy Vegan Lentil Burgers
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup lentils
- 2½ cups water
- 1 cup extra firm tofu Pressed to drain extra fluid
- 2 tablespoon ground flax seeds, divided
- 1¼ 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 while repeating this process with the rest of the lentil batter.
- Oven Method: Heat your oven to 375°F. 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.