Lentil Quinoa Burgers with Hemp Pesto

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It’s grilling season, and if you are a vegetarian, hamburgers aren’t high on your list for a fun summer meal. A great alternative is this recipe, which is chock-full of protein, fiber and omega-3’s.  The fiber will keep you feeling full, and the protein in the lentils will help balance your blood sugar. Hempseeds are a great source of omega-3’s, which provide cardiovascular benefit.  Hempseeds can be found at any healthfood store and add a nutty flavor to the burger.  I made extra pesto and found that it was tasty on a variety of sandwiches.  You can also freeze it for future use.

Quinoa is an ancient, gluten-free grain that contains all of the amino acids, so it is one of the few non-animal proteins that is an actual complete protein. Quinoa is light, tasty, and  easy to digest. It is not sticky or heavy like most other grains, and  it has a delicious flavor all on its own.

Even meat eaters will love this delicious burger!

1 cup dried green or brown lentils
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup cilantro, packed
1/3 cup hempseeds
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Juice of 1 lemon
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup hemp oil
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp cumin powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup walnut pieces
1 Tbsp vegetable oil, such as grapeseed oil

4 whole wheat pitas, sliced in half
2 cups arugula
1 cup roasted red peppers, sliced (use store-bought or roast your own)

In medium saucepan, bring lentils and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 35 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and let cool.

In separate small saucepan, combine quinoa and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in bowl of food processor, pulse together cilantro, hempseeds, Parmesan, juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 garlic cloves, and salt. Scrape down sides of bowl. With the machine running, pour in hemp oil through the feed tube and process until mixture is well combined but still grainy. Remove pesto and clean food processor bowl.

Add half of lentils to food processor bowl along with quinoa, bread crumbs, egg, 2 garlic cloves, mustard, cumin, remaining lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Process until well combined, scraping down sides if needed. Add walnuts and remaining lentils; pulse or mix with fork until they are incorporated into the mixture. Form into 8 equal-sized burgers.

Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook lentil burgers for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until browned. Spread hemp pesto on the inside bottom of pitas. Place burgers in pitas and top with arugula and roasted red pepper.

Serves 6.

Each serving contains: 460 calories; 23 g protein; 20 g total fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 52 g carbohydrates; 14 g fibre; 393 mg sodium

Recipe from Alive Magazine

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July 2011
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