I'm attending a dinner tonight that has the theme Slow Fast Food or is it Fast Slow Food? :-) :-) I know someone is bringing burgers made from a locally grown beef. However, for the vegetarians in the crowd, I decided to bring an option that is a whole lot tastier than the veggie burger I was served the last time I ate at Burger King several years ago.
My first rule in the kitchen is to always make a recipe large enough to have left overs to eat for lunch during the week or to freeze for another supper or two on days when we need "fast food" at home. Thus, I doubled this recipe, which would make 11-12 nice size patties. As I already mentioned, extras can be frozen so you have really healthy fast food at home.
Another rule, I love to simply use what I have in the garden, house, pantry, refrig, or freezer without needing to go to the grocery store. Chances are you have everything in the house to make this recipe. OK, maybe you don't have dried lentils (this time), but that is a quick thing to pick up as you pass a grocery store on your way to the library, bank, etc, etc. Pick up two bags while you're at it, so you are ready next time.
Cost for this recipe is pennies on the dollar (maybe nickels or dimes) compared to prepared veggie burgers bought in the grocery store. In addition, you can control the amount of seasonings and salt (most commercial veggie burgers are unnecessarily high in sodium content). It is not a recipe you can make in 5 minutes, but once made and frozen, it will go into the "fast food" section of your brain when you start hearing the "What's for dinner?" requests at your house.
A web site reader from Seattle sent this recipe to me in 2006, saying it was one of her favorites. It will one of yours, too.
Spicy Lentil Patties (original recipe - I doubled it)
1/2 cup dry green lentils (they look brown, not green)
1 bay leaf
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. black pepper
pinches of cayenne pepper and Italian herbs
1 small-medium baking potato
1/2 cup bread crumbs (make yourself from left-over bread)
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Combine lentils and bay leaf in 2-3 quart pan. Add water to cover by 3 inches. Boil until lentils are very tender, about 1 hour. Drain water from lentils and discard bay leaf. Transfer lentils to a large bowl and cool. Then add seasonings. Stir with lentils until well blended. Cover lentils and refrigerate overnight. Bake potato(s) in oven or microwave. Cool, peel, and coarsely mash. Add mashed potato to lentil mixture the next day and mix well.
Using a spoon or both hands, form mixture into 6 balls. Flatten each ball into a 1/2" pattie. Press breadcrumbs lightly onto patties. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to 6 hours.
Can be heated in non-stick pan with small amount of olive oil or baked in oven until hot (350 for 20-30 minutes). Flip over at the half-way point.
Serve on a whole grain bun with some salsa, fresh leaf lettuce, or even some guacamole. Yum, yum! Only the garlic and cilantro came from our garden for this recipe, but my husband makes our bread, so the bread crumbs were definitely home-made if not home-grown.
What else was served, you ask? Homemade milk shakes with locally produced milk and ice cream, salad with homegrown greens and radishes, home made french fries (again pennies on the dollar when starting with whole potatoes instead of buying frozen french fries), and dessert was home made rhubarb pie w/meringue topping and little strawberry tarts, using locally grown rhubarb, eggs, butter, and strawberries. Oh, yum, yum, yum, YUM!
Many studies have shown a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease in those people who eat beans and legumes regularly. In fact the Nurse's Health Study showed that those women who ate beans or lentils two times per week compared to those who ate them less than once per month had a 24% reduced risk of developing breast cancer. The reason for this risk reduction is unclear at this point. In fact many reasons may be involved and working together synergistically, such as the fiber, folate, protein and amino acids, flavenol content, or even something not yet identified and studied. I actually gave a goal of eating some amount of beans or legumes on a daily basis (yes, daily!) to enhance my overall health and hopes for long-term cancer survivorship. I call this "Active Hope". This recipe will give you a easy and tasty way to do that, too.
After a string of 90 degree humid days, rain and vigorous storms, today was sunny, dry, and almost cool, one of the perfect days of late spring as we approach summer. The following blessing reminds me of spring and days like today as we give thanks for our abundant food and all those farmers and weather factors involved with its production:
I am the one whose praise echoes on high.
I adorn all the earth.
I am the breeze that nurtures all things green.
I encourage blossoms to flouish with ripening fruits.
I am led by the spirit to feed the purest streams.
I am the rain coming from the dew
that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.
I am the yearning for good.
~~Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Diana Dyer, MS, RD