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Levantine Lentil Burgers

Here is an old post from when I was in chef school:

So, every 2 weeks, I write about 6 recipes. For whatever, reason, I kinda JUST realized I should post them up here! The ones I’ve made are always good (we are required to actually MAKE 1 of the 6 we write), so I would assume the others should be good too. Just as a disclaimer, though, I can’t guarantee they’re all winners, because most of them I wrote sitting at my laptop, not by cooking them! BUT the one from today, I have made, and let me say……I’ve made lentil burgers before, and they were NASTY as heck – to quote my dear friend Nasty Nate, “Why are you eating a plate of dog poop?” Yeah……they kinda tasted like that too.

THESE, however, are different. I wrote them for our Ethnic Cuisine homework, so they are inspired by Levantine cuisine – and they are GOOD, man! I cooked all of them and just kept them in the fridge, so they were easy to grab, even really quick and eat them cold in the morning for breakfast. You can go crazy with the toppings – caramelized onions and mushrooms, avocado and tomato, the saffron mint yogurt (which I partially stole from Heidi Swanson)…be creative!

Enjoy! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, and how they turn out! I’m still learning too, so any suggestions you have are more than welcome! :-)

Levantine Lentil Burgers with Mint Saffron Yogurt

Servings: 8 burgers

These burgers are a hearty, protein packed and flavorful option for vegetarians, or those simply looking to cut back on their meat consumption. The mint saffron yogurt adds the extra kick to make these burgers something special!


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 2 cups cooked black lentils (reserve ½ cup)

  • 2 eggs1 cup cooked brown rice, divided

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ cup coconut oil (1 tablespoon reserved for sautéing onion and eggplant)

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • ½ eggplant, chopped

  • 1 pinch saffron threads

  • 1 tablespoon boiling water

  • ½ cup plain organic yogurt

  • 1 mint leaf, finely chopped

  • 8 small mint leaves and parsley sprigs, for garnish


  1. In a small saucepan, heat ½ tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add cumin and stir, and heat approximately 5 minutes, to toast spice and bring out the flavors. Remove from heat. Add paprika after oil is removed from heat, as it tends to lose its potency as it is heated.

  2. Add 1 ½ cups black lentils, eggs, ½ cup rice, and spice oil mixture to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

  3. Pour into a bowl, and add the remaining ½ cup of lentils and ½ cup of rice, thyme, parsley, and salt. Mix well and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

  4. Heat a large heavy skillet (cast iron works well) over medium heat. Shape mixture into patties approximately the size of your palm, about 1 inch thick. Add the remainder of the ¼ cup coconut oil to skillet and cook patties covered, 4 at a time, for 7 to 10 minutes. If the bottom has not browned after 10 minutes, turn up the heat.

  5. Flip patties and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until browned on both sides.

  6. While patties are cooking, sauté chopped onion and eggplant in coconut oil until tender and browned, approximately 10 minutes.

  7. To prepare yogurt sauce, place pinch of saffron threads in 1 tablespoon boiling water – allow to sit for 5 minutes.

  8. Take yogurt and add the chopped mint leaf. Add saffron water and stir well.

  9. After all burgers are cooked, top with sautéed onions and eggplant and add a large dollop of saffron mint yogurt to the top. Garnish each patty with a mint leaf and parsley sprig, and serve warm.

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