This is a variation of our bean burgers base recipe. Plant-forward diets should not be restrictive or boring, which is why we created this delicious bean burger recipe! These vegetarian lentil burgers provide plenty of flavor, moisture, and quality protein to satisfy your plant-based burger cravings!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for the Best Lentil Burgers
If using canned lentils, drain and rinse well to remove excess sodium. Mash to the texture you like. You can leave them slightly chunky or keep mashing to resemble refried beans.
To make lentil burgers from dried green or brown lentils, rinse 1 ½ cups of lentils under running water and remove any rocks or debris (it does happen!). Place lentils in a 2-2.5-quart pot and cover with water, ~1” above the top of the lentils. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for ~20-30 minutes, or until lentils are tender but not mushy. You should be able to smush it between your fingers.
If using lentils cooked from dried, be sure to drain the leftover cooking water thoroughly. Let cool slightly before adding to the burger mixture. If the burger mixture looks too wet, don’t panic! Cook them in the oven versus the stovetop, and add ~5 more minutes to the cook time, or until they are nicely browned on the outside.
Got picky eaters? Dice the onion or shallot finely so that they don’t notice them. You can also substitute 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
Match the patty size to your bun, noting that they will slightly shrink as they cook.
Do not overcook the patties or they will dry out! Once the edges are brown, remove them from the oven.
You can cook these burgers on the stovetop instead of the oven, but note they don’t stay together quite as well. Heat a skillet over medium. Add oil to the pan. Once the oil is shimmering, add the patties. Cook 3-4 minutes per side.
If cooking bean burgers on the stovetop, remember the 3 F’s of flavor: fire, fat, and food! Heat your pan, heat your oil, then add the burgers. Once the burgers are on the skillet, don’t move them around. Keeping them in place helps ensure maximum flavor development and browning.
- Lentils: use brown, green, crimson, black, or red lentils. Red lentils have a slightly mushier texture, but they are still delicious! You can also substitute other beans such as black, pinto, chickpeas, cannellini, kidney, etc. Use our stovetop or Instant Pot dried beans base recipes if cooking beans from dried.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: substitute plain, whole wheat, or seasoned bread crumbs, but cut back on the added salt if you do. Panko is typically very low in sodium.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes: use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil or rehydrated from dried. You can also substitute fresh, diced tomatoes.
- Fresh Basil: substitute any herb or combination of herbs. Chives, dill, oregano, Italian parsley, rosemary, and thyme all pair well with these lentil burgers. Don’t have fresh herbs on hand? Substitute 1 Tablespoon dried herbs. Note that some herbs, like rosemary and dill, have stronger flavors, so start with ½ Tablespoon. You can also substitute pesto, but if you do, omit the extra virgin olive oil.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: substitute canola or avocado oil.
- Shallot or Onion: use white, yellow, red, or green onions. You can also substitute ½ teaspoon onion powder.
- Garlic: substitute 1 teaspoon pre-minced garlic, ½ teaspoon garlic flakes, ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic, or ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder.
- Eggs: substitute two flax eggs to make vegan lentil burgers. To make two flax eggs, mix 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseeds with 6 Tablespoons water. Let sit for 10 minutes or until thickened.
- Oil for the Pan: substitute cooking spray.
Turn these vegetarian lentil burgers into sliders by reducing the patty size to ~2 inches in diameter.
For even more Mediterranean burger flavor, mix in ¼ cup feta cheese, or sprinkle it on top during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Use our bean burger base recipe for inspiration, then have fun exploring other flavors and ingredients! Use these other burger recipes for inspiration.
Use these kitchen tools for recipe success:
- Colander or strainer
- Can Opener
- Mixing Bowl
- Measuring Spoons & Cups
- Cutting Board
- Chef’s Knife
- Pastry Brush
- Baking sheet or griddle
Find all of our favorite pieces of kitchen equipment here!
Is this lentil burger recipe healthy?
These easy lentil burgers are a much healthier choice than their greasy counterparts. Unlike beef, beans provide fiber and no saturated fat. The featured ingredients in this recipe are lentils, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh herbs.
Lentils are packed with plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients promote gut health, decrease risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and promote a healthy weight. Beans and legumes are a key component of longevity diets around the world.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean Diet. It contains high amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols which may reduce inflammation. (1, 2) In this recipe, it replaces the saturated fat typically found in 100% beef burgers.
Not only do fresh herbs add a pop of freshness and flavor to a dish, but they add nutrition too! Herbs are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that promote health and help fight diseases.
For more information about the best ingredients to use, check out our ingredient guide!
Serve these veggie burgers with traditional ketchup and mustard, lettuce and tomato, a tasty pesto spread, or pickled veggies and avocado. These burgers are delicious topped with our vegan tahini dressing.
How to Store and Reheat Vegetarian Lentil Burgers
Cool leftover burgers completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Leftover burgers can also be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, place on a baking sheet and freeze for 1-4 hours. Once the burgers are partially frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before heating.
To reheat, place bean burgers on a pan and place in a cold oven. Turn the oven to heat to 350ºF. Once the oven hits 350° F, your burgers should be warmed and ready!
Want more bean-based dinner recipes?
Try out these delicious recipes!
Vegetarian Lentil Burgers
- 3 cups cooked lentils, drained (2 cans)
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs (whole grain suggested)
- ¼ cup diced sun-dried tomatoes (rehydrated if dried)
- 2 Tablespoons – ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons finely diced onion or shallot
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced (or 1 large clove)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Dash pepper
- ½ Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (for the baking sheet)
- 6 whole grain hamburger buns, lightly toasted
Toppings to YOUR taste
- Sliced tomato
- Lettuce or leafy greens
- Pickled vegetables
- Sliced or mashed avocado
- Ketchup, barbecue sauce, or hot sauce
- Vegan tahini dressing
- Greek yogurt ranch dip or aioli
- Sliced or shredded cheese
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Place lentils in a large mixing bowl and mash until almost smooth or leave slightly chunky.
- Add bread crumbs, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, onion, garlic, eggs, salt, and pepper, and mix until combined.
- Brush a baking sheet with oil or use pan spray. Create 6 patties with your hands or the help of a portion scoop and place on the pan, spaced ~1” apart.
- Cook 8-10 minutes or until cooked through and slightly brown on the edges. Serve on toasted buns with toppings to YOUR taste. Enjoy!