Do you have other ways to enjoy beet greens besides having them sautéed? A few years ago, when I wasn’t quite sure how to handle beets and their greens, I discarded all the greens. At that time, I thought they were only good for show under the genius food photographer’s camera. Now, you see. I learned. These absolutely delicious beet greens lentil burgers have lately become our family’s favorite.
Back in the spring, my family went to a local Earth Day event. My 4-year-old son, Leo, was attracted to a vegan/gluten-free food truck. (check out Shimmy Shack if you live in Ann Arbor area, Michigan). He enjoyed his lentil burger so much that he asked me to make it at home. Pinky swear!
Beet greens are new to Leo. To start something he never ate before, I decided to incorporate them into the lentil burgers. It can’t be a secret. Why? Because there is no way I can hide the vibrant pink color from the stem of beets. He questioned the color as you would expect a 4-year-old to do. Surprisingly, he told me that’s good because he loves beets. Hooray!
The main ingredients of these beet greens lentil burgers are
Lightly steamed kale leaves
Cooked brown lentils
Pea protein powder
With all the wholesome ingredients, these lentil burgers can be served without buns. They are whole-meal burgers and packed with protein, fiber, and carbs. Leo’s favorite is dipping them in my homemade sugar-free ketchup. How fun!
As I promised him, we assembled the beet greens lentil burgers between gluten-free hamburger buns. Hey, they are even better than the food truck version. I added some soy sauce braised shiitake mushrooms to enhance the flavor. They added some woodsy, meaty, and earthy savory flavors so the burger has an Asian flavor twist.
You can also freeze these lentil burgers and reheat them in the microwave later. They can become really handy when there’s not enough time to make a healthy meal for the little ones. Stack them up on your plate.
- 1 cup dry brown lentils
- 4 cups water
- 7 oz beet stems
- ½ cup lightly packed steamed kale leaves
- 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill quick cooking oats gluten-free
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds in whole
- 25 grams vegan pea protein powder
- ½ tablespoons canola oil for frying
- Cook brown lentils in water in a saucepan by following the package instructions. Once the lentils are cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Chop the beet stems in a food processor and transfer it into a large mixing bowl. Briefly chop the cooked kale leaves in the blender and then transfer it into the bowl with beet stems. Blend the lentils and oats in the food processor until well combined. Transfer the batter into the mixing bowl with beet stems.
- Add remaining ingredients except oil into the mixing bowl and mix the batter with a clean hand until well mixed.
- Heat a large cast-iron pan over high heat until it’s smoky hot. Brush the pan with canola oil. Reduce the heat to medium. Measure approximately 75 grams of the batter. Shape it into a ball, and then flatten it to form a burger-shape pattie. Fry the burgers in the pan for 2 minutes on each side or until they are lightly browned on the surfaces.
- Let the burgers cool slightly on a cooling rack before serving.
To make the soy sauce braised shiitake mushrooms: rinse 6 large dried mushrooms under warm water to remove the dust. Combine the mushrooms (without soaking them in water), 1 cup of water, and 1½ tablespoons soy sauce (gluten-free if desired). Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce the heat to let the mushroom cook in gently boiling water for 20 minutes with the cover on. Remove the cover to let the liquid evaporate so the flavor will be more concentrated. Slice the cooked shiitake mushrooms and serve with the burgers.