Lentil-Goat Cheese Burgers and Tangy Lemon Vinaigrette

Last year I came up with the Platinum Chef Challenge as a way to challenge myself and other bloggers to try out some new and different foods and flavor combinations. In the year and a half that has passed, we’ve had some crazy but fun ingredient lists and we even have a fun logo.
This round, I was quite happy to see Amanda’s choice of ingredients had some of my old favorites (goat cheese!) and something new to me – lentils. For long time I have wanted to try cooking with lentils but hadn’t quite had the push until it was presented as a challenge. Interestingly, my husband claimed he “loved lentils”. I thought this was strange since I had never cooked them in the years we’ve been together but he apparently thinks lentil soup is great. Well, I wanted to make something other than soup. We haven’t had burgers in a while – turkey burgers, black bean burgers – so I thought lentil burgers would be a good choice. I decided to adapt a recipe from Cooking Light to make Lentil-Goat Cheese burgers. Along with some baby spinach and a lemon vinaigrette, I’d have all my ingredients covered.
I chose to make two very large lentil burgers with the following recipe. They were tasty, but very soft, and I didn’t realize quite how big they would come out. I think it would be better to make 3-4 smaller ones next time. But, we still both really enjoyed them. My husband had his on a bun, while I went naked (er, bread-less) and ate my burger with the lemony-dressed greens. Speaking of that lemon dressing, it was pretty fantastic. I adapted a recipe in my Moosewood Low-fat Favorites Cookbook for Orange Tarragon dressing, to make a lemony dressing instead. The ingredients might sound strange – it calls for two whole heads of roasted garlic (however I cut the entire recipe in half). The garlic, once roasted and mellowed, actually makes the dressing pretty creamy and thick, which is great because there is no oil in this recipe. I was quite surprised at how well that worked. And because of the strong flavors, a little goes a long way here. I would definitely like to experiment some more with using roasted garlic in homemade dressings.
Thanks again, Amanda, for picking such wonderful and challenging ingredients!
Lentil Goat Cheese Burgers

1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup dried lentils
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon olive oi
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Place first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender; drain. Discard bay leaf. Place lentils in a large bowl; partially mash with a fork. Cool slightly. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly. Add onion mixture, cheese, and remaining ingredients to lentils; stir well to combine. Cover and chill 45 minutes.

Divide mixture into 3-4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Cook patties 5 minutes on each side or until done.
Roasted Garlic & Lemon Vinaigrette
1 whole head of roasted garlic (squeeze the cloves out of the skins)
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt & pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp minced fresh tarragon
2 tbs white wine vinegar

Combine garlic cloves and remaining ingredients in a blender, process until smooth and creamy. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

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7 Responses to “Lentil-Goat Cheese Burgers and Tangy Lemon Vinaigrette”

  1. 1

    That Girl — November 16, 2008 @ 5:20 pm Reply

    I was pretty excited about these ingredients this month too! I just figured out what I’m making last night!

  2. 2

    Liz — November 16, 2008 @ 10:47 pm Reply

    Oh my gosh, this sounds awesome!!

  3. 3

    Sarah — November 17, 2008 @ 2:52 am Reply

    Can’t wait to make these!

  4. 4

    lauren — November 17, 2008 @ 2:57 pm Reply

    whoa – these look great! I have never cooked with lentils either, but want to try!

  5. 5

    Maria — November 19, 2008 @ 3:55 pm Reply

    What a tasty meal!

  6. 6

    Liz — January 19, 2009 @ 11:30 pm Reply

    I made these on Saturday and loved them! Thanks!

  7. 7

    Maria — April 5, 2011 @ 1:13 am Reply

    What a tasty meal!

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