September Nutrition Highlight: Lentils
I always have some variety of a lentil in my pantry. Lentils are an excellent source of plant protein (12 grams of protein in ½ cup of cooked lentils), potassium, fiber, folic acid, iron and manganese. These nutrients support heart health, digestion, and are super satisfying!
I love cooking with them because they are easy and quick to cook and can be used in a variety of recipes including soups, stews, salads, and veggie burgers. Since lentils are shelf stable for up to a year (if stored in a cool dry place) and cooked lentils can be frozen for 3 months they are an easy way to always have a protein on hand. They come in a variety of colors and shapes. Split lentils are best for stews or soups and whole lentils are best for salads or veggie patties (like the recipe below).
As the seasons change I love a recipe that can be adapted for a lighter summer feel or a heartier fall meal. These lentil burgers can be paired as a patty with a salad or served like a traditional burger.
Recipe from Bon Apetit
1 cup of green or brown lentils
1 garlic clove
6oz crimini mushrooms (stems trimmed)
2 tbsp. white miso
¼ tsp. smoked paprika (optional – I leave this out)
4 tbsp. avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup flour (oat, gluten free, blend, all purpose)
Step 1: Cook Lentils. Having lentils already cooked will save you time! Pour water in a large saucepan to cover the lentils by 4”. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes from the time the water reaches a boil. Drain very well in a fine-mesh sieve, then let cool at least 10 minutes (spread them out on a baking sheet, which will help them cool faster).
Step 2: Finely chop mushrooms and place in a medium bowl. I used a food processor to save time. Add miso, paprika, 2 Tbsp. oil (I used avocado oil), and garlic clove. Add lentils (you should have 2 cups cooked) and stir and mash them with the back of a spoon or a potato masher until lentils are partly mashed but with lots of whole lentils still remaining. Vigorously stir in flour until mixture holds together when squeezed; if it doesn’t, continue to mash until it does and add 1–2 Tbsp. flour if needed. Form into 6 patties about ¾" thick.
Step 3: Working in 2 batches, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet (nonstick is essential since these will definitely stick to a regular skillet. I use an enameled case iron and it works great) over medium. Cook patties until deeply browned and very crisp on bottom side, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn and repeat on second side, adding more oil as needed to maintain a light coating around patties in skillet. NOTE: These are a bit soggy to try to bake but I hear so many people are into cooking with an air fryer. I don’t have one, but if you do and want to experiment let me know how these work out!
Step 4: Assemble your burger or salad however you like!
Meet the Author
Kristen is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer, who also holds a master's degree in social work from Fordham University. She has a strong interest in the interconnectedness between physical health and mental well-being that led her to pursue a career in personal training. Kristen works to promote healthy and happy lifestyles by coaching her clients through safe and fun workouts designed to help them achieve their personal goals.
Growing up as a competitive figure skater and ice hockey player, movement and physical fitness have always played a central role in her life. Kristen is an avid snowboarder and enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and biking with her family.
“I love helping my clients reach their wellness goals by designing fitness programs that can be incorporated into a balanced lifestyle. My goal is to make working out a fun part of your routine!”
If you'd like to train with Kristen, shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!