Money Mindful Meals: Lentil Patties

I have started traveling again for work.

This means that my fridge is essentially empty (except for some moldy peppers and cheese that I forgot to toss last weekend). To compensate for my empty fridge I try to fill my freezer. Lately, it’s been full of veggie patties. Toss a frozen patty on the George Foreman, defrost a bun, and top it off with some goat cheese (if I am able to find some mold-free-cheese): a satisfactory meal in less than ten minutes. Seeing as my weekends have been packed with errands and catching up with friends, I’ve been resorting to these ten-minute meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and my 2am snack. Unfortunately I have expensive tastes when it comes to veggie patties (Quorn Chik’n Patties are my favorites) and going through a pack a day can get pricey.

Last weekend, instead of buying a few boxes of frozen patties, I opted to try a recipe for vegetarian lentil burgers. And they were absolutely delightful! The recipe made eight servings and had only a few ingredients. I made two batches and added parsley, garlic, and black pepper to the second, but ended up enjoying the original version better. The protein-filled lentils produce a creamy yet sturdy patty when combined with eggs and breadcrumbs; the combination tastes incredibly close to homemade meatloaf. When cooked in a tablespoon of olive oil, the patty develops a crisp outside while maintaining a moist interior. The texture contrast is so wonderful that I would recommend eating the lentil patties without a bun. Instead I would enjoy by dipping in homemade hummus, warm goat cheese spread, or Lemon Chive Crème Fraiche.

Alex Milling is a recent graduate of Northwestern University and is excited to eat a few lentil patties this weekend.


Lentil Patties
Serves 8
Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Total Cost: $5.07
Cost per Serving: $0.64

I bought pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s, but to further reduce the cost you can buy dried black lentils, soak, and cook.


2 1/2 cups cooked black lentils ($3.99)
4 eggs ($0.68)
1/2 teaspoon salt (pantry)
1 1/2 small yellow onions, finely chopped ($0.40)
1 cup breadcrumbs (pantry)
1 tablespoon olive oil (pantry)

Combine lentils, eggs, and salt in a food processor. Blend until well-mixed, but make sure a portion of the lentils still remain whole. Pour into large bowl and stir in onions and breadcrumbs. Let sit for 5 minutes so that the breadcrumbs absorb some of the moisture. The mixture will still be moist, but you should easily be able to form into eight, 1 1/2 inch thick patties.

Heat oil on skillet over medium low. Add two patties to the skillet and cover for 7 minutes. Flip and let the other side cook for another 7 minutes. Serve warm, with your favorite dip on the side, or freeze for later.


Originally posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2012

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