lentil goat cheese burgers

Burgers are just sandwiches with patties in the middle. I don’t care if that patty is beef, bird, or beans. What I do require is that it not be bread.

A carb-filled patty between two ends of a bun doesn’t make nutritional sense, but it does seem like most vegetarian burgers are bound by large amounts of bread crumbs, oatmeal, or other grains. Whether whole or refined, these are still grains where I want there to be protein.

Cara is a great source for high-protein, low-carb ideas like these lentil burgers, which are bound with just a tablespoon of bread crumbs per serving. The protein – and, more importantly, the flavor – is increased even more with the addition of creamy, tangy goat cheese, one of my favorite ingredients.

While certainly healthy enough for a good weeknight dinner, prepping these burgers is not a short process from start to finish. However, the active time is not unreasonable, making these a great option to make ahead of time, leaving just the final searing for dinner time. It’s nice to have a meal as hearty but nutritious as this one stashed in the freezer.

One year ago: Brown Soda Bread
Two years ago: Deli-Style Rye Bread
Three years ago: Rice Pudding

Printer Friendly Recipe
Lentil Goat Cheese Burgers (adapted from Cara’s Cravings)

Make 4 burgers

Don’t be shy with the salt. I always need more than I expect in these.

¾ cup dried lentils
1 bay leaf
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
2 large shallots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 ounces goat cheese
¼ cup breadcrumbs (fresh or dried)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 egg
for serving: buns, mustard, lettuce, tomato

1. Combine lentils, bay leaf, ½ teaspoon salt and 3 cups water in medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, 18-20 minutes. Drain the lentils, discarding the bay leaf.

2. Meanwhile, process the carrot, shallots, and garlic in the food processor until finely chopped but not pureed, about 5 seconds. (Do not clean processor bowl or blade.) Heat 1½ teaspoons olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat; sauté the vegetables with a pinch of salt until softened and the shallots just browns around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar; cook, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced to a syrupy consistency, 1-2 minutes.

3. Combine the lentils, sautéed vegetables, cheese, bread crumbs, and pepper in the food processor; process until evenly mixed and finely ground. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add the egg; pulse until just combined.

4. Divide the dough into four portions; shape each one into a disk about ½-inch tall and 4 inches across (or approximately the diameter of your burger buns). Chill, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days (cover if longer than 30 minutes).

5. Heat the remaining 1½ teaspoons of oil in a 12-inch nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat. Using a spatula, carefully lower each patty into the pan; cook without moving for 4 minutes, until the bottom side is browned. Flip the patties and continue cooking for another 6 minutes until the second side is browned. Serve immediately with buns and toppings.


  1. Oh my goodness. I WILL be making these. I am always on the look-out for another veggie burger alternative. I love goat cheese, so this makes it an even better choice. Thank you so much for posting these!

  2. I’ve made these before and they’re quite tasty. I was not successful at taking pictures that reflect how delicious they are so they’re not in my blog yet. But you’ve definitely succeeded on that front. Thanks for reminding me to make these again.

  3. i love the flavors in these burgers!

  4. maria says:

    looks great! at what point would you freeze the patties? at step 4, just after shaping them?

  5. bridget says:

    maria – Good question. Yes, after step 4 is the perfect time to freeze them – which I remembered this morning after I found two uncooked patties in the freezer!

  6. Melissa says:

    Those look fabulous!! I think I will try and sneak in some red peppers, because I am obsessed with them. What colour lentils did you use – is that green? I normally have red lentils kicking around, but I think they’d probably be too mushy.

  7. bridget says:

    Melissa – Brown or green (not French lentils de puy) would work well. I’ve never cooked with red lentils, but I know their texture is different than other types, so I’m not sure how they would compare.

  8. Hmm, not quite a fan of goat cheese but have been looking for a lentis based recipe — any suggestions for other types of cheeses?

  9. We were eating the black bean burgers I make all the time this week and I was thinking I should try a variation using chickpeas or lentils. Voila, here it is. I never thought of adding goat cheese to the patties themselves.

  10. These look great! My hubby had a hard time with the last lentil dish I made, but I think I talked him into this one!

  11. I like the idea of these since we have an overabundance of lentils in our pantry and I’m getting tired of lentil soups. Do you think they would stick together if I left the cheese out (dairy allergy)?

  12. bridget says:

    mike – I would try Neufchatel (similar to cream cheese, but less fattening).

    Sara – Soy yogurt might provide some of the same creamy texture and tangy flavor. I’d cut it in half, or even better, strain it overnight before using it.

  13. I made these with a bunch of (not vegetarian) friends tonight and they were wonderful!
    We tripled the recipe, and ended up using 2 onions instead of six shallots…everything else was by the book. We did half in the frying pan and half of them broiled. They all had a crumbling problem (we were impatient with the chilling step), especially the broiled ones, but they were easy to reform after cooking. The goat cheese flavor is pronounced even when cooked. I had two!

  14. These look awesome! Good to know they’re packed with flavor. I really like the black bean burgers from Cara’s blog, too. I’ll definitely give these a try.

  15. Wow – these look and sound amazing! I am definitely trying these this weekend! Thank you so so so much for all of your amazing recipes! I am such a fan!

  16. These look delicious! I’m always looking for an interesting new weeknight meal so this looks great!