Saturday, July 23, 2011

Got flavor? Make Chipotle Lentil Burgers tonight!

You've been asking, so I'm delivering. Below is the recipe for Chipotle Lentil Burgers.

Lentils are on my list of SUPERFOODS. They are a nutritional powerhouse. Full of fiber. Low in calories. When combined with rice, you get a complete protein. If you want/need to lose weight or have diabetes/prediabetes, eating more foods like lentils will put you on the right path towards your goals. Teach your kids how to cook lentils and let them create their own lentil burgers.

Yet I find that lots of people have never cooked lentils, let alone eaten them. I've been making a killer lentil soup for years, so when I found this recipe in a new cookbook a relative sent me (thanks, Pam!), I couldn't wait to try it. I made a couple of changes and taught dozens of people how to make Chipotle Lentil Burgers in this week's Healthy Cooking classes. (They are ALL clamoring for the recipe so they can make this at home now!)

I also love this recipe because it's also introducing people to one of my favorite spices: Smoked Paprika. NOT the same as paprika. When you open a bottle of smoked paprika the first time and get a whiff of it, the common response is, "WOW!!" So put dried lentils and smoked paprika on this week's shopping list and enjoy!


• 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small red onion, cut into small pieces
• ½ pound zucchini (1 medium). Cut in half lengthwise and slice ½ inch thick
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped, stems and leaves
• 1-1/2 cups cooked lentils
• 1 cup bread crumbs
• 1 Tablespoon chipotle peppers, seeds removed, with adobe sauce
• 2 Tablespoons “lite” soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 2-3 teaspoons smoked paprika
Preheat a large pan. Sauté onion for about 3 minutes. Add zucchini, garlic, cilantro, and a pinch of salt, and sauté about 7 or 8 minutes, until zucchini is soft.
Transfer veggies to a food processor. Add all other ingredients EXCEPT for ½ cup bread crumbs. Pulse until mostly smooth, but leave a little texture. Transfer to large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ½ cup bread crumbs. Use a fork to thoroughly combine.
Preheat the pan (OK to use same pan zucchini was cooked in). Divide mixture into 6 equal pieces.
Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray. Form burgers into patties and cook for about 12 minutes, flipping often, until nicely browned on both sides. Use cooking spray as needed.
Serve on whole grain buns such as Arnold’s whole grain sandwich thins with your favorite burger toppings. I like to serve this with sliced tomatoes and dill potato salad.
Note: If you’ve never cooked lentils before, here’s all you need to know: You cook them just like white rice. Dried lentils take about 20 minutes to cook. Just follow the directions on the bag and it’s easy. The thing about lentils is they contain about 9 grams of dietary fiber per ¼ cup (dry) which is a little more than ½ cup when cooked.

This is adapted from a recipe in Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, 2011.

Live well, eat well. Using recipes like Chipotle Lentil Burgers, you CAN eat healthy AND economically.

Growing Healthy Kids is a movement to halt, reverse, and prevent childhood obesity, one child and one garden at a time.

Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids