These lentil patties are absolute perfection! They are packed with flavor from simple ingredients, moist and tender on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Best of all – they hold their shape well and do not fall apart. The recipe is vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), gluten-free (grain-free), soy-free, nut-free, and refined sugar-free.

lentil patties

Crafting the perfect veggie burger from scratch takes adequate precision. A well-made veggie burger should be flavorful (as opposed to bland), firm (as opposed to mushy), and hold together well (as opposed to falling apart).

Below are some tips for making the perfect veggie burger:

  1. Eliminate extra moisture. Most veggie burgers contain, well, vegetables, which have a high water content. Too much moisture makes vegetable patties soft, mushy, and fragile. Fortunately, there are several ways to release liquid from vegetables. The two most common are heat (= sautéing or roasting the vegetables first) and osmosis (= sprinkling salt over the vegetables and letting them sit, sometimes with a weight on top to help press out the liquid). Choose one or the other.
  2. Strive for textural variety. It’s easy to over-process all the ingredients, especially when using a food processor. Try not to do that. Instead, keep some of the lentils intact, reach for a box grater to prep the vegetables, and combine all the ingredients using a mixing bowl and a spatula.
  3. Choose a good binder. It goes without saying that a good binder (or two) is a must for veggie burgers that retain their shape and don’t fall apart. I like a combination of gelatinous binders (e.g., chia seeds, flax seeds, or psyllium) and non-gelatinous binders (e.g., chickpea flour, oat flour, or chickpea breadcrumbs).
  4. Make thick patties. Very thin patties may fall apart during cooking. Patties that are about 1 inch/2.5 cm thick are ideal. Don’t go too big, though, or the burgers might not cook evenly. A pro tip: use a measuring cup to get equally-sized patties.
  5. Cook the patties lower and slower. One way to solve mushy veggie burgers is to cook them a bit longer and slower, on a lower heat. Start by cooking the patties over medium heat to sear the exteriors on both sides, then reduce the heat and continue cooking, flipping every now and then, until firmed up. Then let them cool for a few minutes, during which time they will firm up further.

Now that you know the basic guidelines, let’s make the best lentil patties!

lentil patties recipe

Tips for Making Lentil Patties

Ingredients

You don’t need much to make these simple lentil patties:

  • Lentils: I love how quickly red lentils cook, so I typically use red or yellow lentils for these patties, but you can use any lentil variety you like. If you choose brown or green lentils, you’ll need to use more water and cook the lentils a little longer. Depending on the type of lentils, the flavor will be slightly different – red and yellow lentils are sweeter and not as earthy as brown or green lentils.
  • Vegetables: while lentils are the main ingredient in this recipe, vegetables add a lot of flavor. I used onion and garlic for the aromatics, followed by zucchini and carrots.
  • Chickpea flour: also called garbanzo flour, this grain-free flour helps bind the lentil patties. It gives them a little crispiness on the outside while remaining soft on the inside. Oat flour is a good substitute if you don’t have chickpea flour.
  • Chia seeds: in addition to acting as a binder, chia seeds also absorb moisture from the lentils and vegetables. A couple of tablespoons is all you need. Another option is flaxseed meal, but since flax seeds are a weaker binder than chia seeds, you would need to add a little more to achieve the same binding effect.
  • Herbs & spices: I didn’t use any herbs or spices for this recipe, but you can add them if you’d like. The sautéed aromatics and vegetables are a great start, and my kids prefer the simplicity of it. I really like Italian seasoning here; my husband likes a mix of cumin, smoked paprika, and chili pepper. It’s up to you.
  • Salt: a must ingredient to enhance the flavor.

How to Make Lentil Patties

These homemade veggie burgers take longer to prepare than regular burgers, but they are worth it. Here are the steps:

  1. Soak the lentils (optional). Red lentils are the fastest-cooking lentil variety, so they don’t technically need to be soaked. However, regardless of how quickly these lentils break down, soaking lentils is still beneficial for improving mineral absorption by reducing phytic acid and tannins. So, I always soak my legumes.
  2. Cook the lentils. Add the soaked (or just rinsed) lentils, water, and salt to a small pot and bring them to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook the lentils until all the water is absorbed, for 12-15 minutes. The lentils should be dry when they are done cooking.
  3. Sauté the vegetables. You can make lentil patties using almost any vegetable. The trick is to sauté the vegetables first to eliminate their water content and condense their flavor. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, for 5-7 minutes. Add the carrots and zucchini, season with salt, and sauté until the vegetables have softened, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Mix all the ingredients. Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix to combine. You could also use a food processor, but in that case, pulse the ingredients only a few times to combine. Be careful not to purée!
  5. Shape the patties. Using a ⅓ cup-size measuring cup, form the mixture into 10 patties. You can shape the lentil patties however small or large you want, but the larger they are, the more unevenly they’ll cook. From what I have tested, a ⅓ cup/70 g of mixture is the sweet spot.
  6. Cook the patties. Heat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. Brush the skillet with a little oil and cook the lentil patties until golden brown, for about 5 minutes per side, turning the heat down as necessary. The exact timing will depend on the heat of your stove and cookware. Alternatively, you could bake the patties in a 350°F/180°C oven until golden brown, for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through baking.
how to make lentil patties

How to Serve Lentil Burgers

These lentil cakes can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or main.

For an appetizer or a light lunch, eat the lentil patties on a salad. My two go-to salads for these patties are Mediterranean quinoa salad and garden salad.

For an impressive supper, get creative with the toppings: spicy mustard, mashed avocado, sliced tomatoes, caramelized onions – and serve the patties on a bun.

The last time I made these lentil burgers, I served them in a pita bread with hummus.

How to Store Red Lentil Patties

  • Refrigerating: transfer the lentil patties to an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: transfer the lentil patties to an airtight container and freeze them for up to 3 months.
lentil burgers

More Veggie Burger Recipes

Did you make this recipe? I would love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a review and rating below.

red lentil patties

Lentil Patties

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 10 patties
These lentil patties are absolute perfection! They are packed with flavor from simple ingredients, moist and tender on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Best of all – they hold their shape well and do not fall apart.

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup (200 g) red lentils*
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup (46 g) chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) ground chia seeds
  • salt, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Soak the lentils (optional). Add the dry red lentils to a bowl, cover with water, and soak for at least 2 hours, ideally 8 hours. Once soaked, drain the soaking water and rinse the lentils. 
  • Cook the lentils. Add the soaked (or just rinsed) lentils, water, and salt to a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook the lentils until all the water is absorbed, for 12-15 minutes. The lentils should be dry when they are done cooking.
  • Sauté the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until translucent, for 5-7 minutes. Add the carrots and zucchini, season with salt, and sauté until the vegetables have softened, for about 5 minutes.
  • Mix all the ingredients. Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix to combine. You could also use a food processor, but in that case, pulse the ingredients only a few times to combine. Be careful not to purée!
  • Shape the patties. Using a ⅓ cup-size measuring cup, form the mixture into 10 patties.
  • Cook the patties. Heat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. Brush the skillet with a little oil and cook the lentil patties until golden brown, for about 5 minutes per side, turning the heat down as necessary. The exact timing will depend on the heat of your stove and cookware.
  • Serve the lentil patties in a bun or atop mixed greens with desired toppings.
  • Store. Leftover lentil patties keep well covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For longer-term storage, freeze uncooked pre-shaped patties in an airtight container, separating each row with a piece of parchment paper, for up to 3 months. (You can freeze cooked lentil patties as well, but they are never quite as good).

Notes

*1 cup/200 g dried red lentils yields ~ 2 ¼ cups/585 g cooked.
**Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please feel free to make your own calculations.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 10, Calories: 127kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 2g, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 1g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keywords: lentil burgers, lentil patties, red lentil patties