Cast Iron

Spicy Cauliflower-Red Lentil Burgers

October  4, 2017
3 Ratings
Photo by Elizabeth Cecil
  • Makes 7 burgers
Author Notes

The golden brown crust on the outside of the burgers really makes the meal, so don't rush to flip them—it's worth the wait! It’s is a welcome contrast to the creamy lentil filling, spiked with caramelized cauliflower. At first you won't notice the subtle heat from the red pepper flakes but after a few chews it comes through nicely. The fresh cilantro and generous squeeze of lemon juice perfectly brighten up the savory burgers and add a depth of flavor.

Spicy Cauliflower-Red Lentil Burgers are delicious warm or at room temperature. To serve, pile a toasted bun high with sauce (smashed avocado, mayo, yogurt, or pesto), then add the burger and your favorite toppings.

To read about how to adapt and repurpose these for future meals, head here. —Sarah Waldman

What You'll Need
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • Big pinch red pepper flakes (adjust to your liking)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon plus a pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 of one lemon, juiced
  • A handful of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • To serve: buns, smashed avocado, sprouts, sliced tomato, shaved purple cabbage
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 425° F. Toss the cauliflower florets with a tablespoon of oil, a pinch of salt, and the red pepper flakes. Arrange the florets in a single layer in a baking pan. Roast for 15 minutes, toss, and roast for another 10 minutes until golden brown.
  2. While the cauliflower roasts, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Pour in the red lentils and cook at a strong simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the lentils and put them in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the garlic, bread crumbs, egg, lemon juice, and chopped cilantro to the drained lentils. Mix.
  4. Remove the roasted cauliflower from the oven. Coarsely chop the roasted cauliflower with a knife or pulse it in a food processor. You don’t want a cauliflower paste, just roughly chopped pieces. Fold the chopped cauliflower into the red lentil mixture. Using your hands, form the burger mix into 7 patties, each made from a generous handful of the mixture. Place the formed patties on a baking sheet and pop them in the fridge to firm up (this helps the patties stay together while cooking), about 10 minutes, or while you get everything else ready.
  5. While the burgers chill, prepare the toppings and toast the buns. When you’re ready to cook, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of canola oil. Place three or four burgers in the hot skillet, brown one side, flip and crisp up the second side. Remove the first batch from the pan, wipe out any little bits, add another tablespoon of canola oil and cook the second batch.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cholula
  • Anna Biton
    Anna Biton
Sarah Waldman is a food writer and recipe developer living on Martha’s Vineyard. She is the author of, Feeding a Family: A Real-Life Plan for Making Dinner Work.

2 Reviews

cholula March 10, 2022
really good vege burger. will make it again.
Anna B. March 8, 2018
I have to say I found this recipe kind of disappointing. I probably needed more salt and lemon and maybe less cauliflower... added a second egg to help them hold together better. Overall a little bland and didn't hold together as well as I'd hoped.