Spicy Lentil-Walnut Burgers

Recipe By Tessa Arias
August 11th, 2011

 Spicy Lentil-Walnut Burgers topped with a Yogurt Cilantro Sauce are meaty, satisfying, and delicious while being ultra nutritious and vegetarian friendly!

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Just the scent of the spices alone is enough to make your mouth water. The spicy burger is perfectly balanced by the tangy, fresh yogurt sauce.
Texture: I was really nervous about the texture because I don’t like the squishiness of foods like beans, peas, or sometimes lentils. Fortunately these patties have a crisp crust and thick, craveable inside.
Ease: Not quite as simple as making burgers from store-bought ground meat but still doable. You can cook the lentils, toast the walnuts, and make the yogurt sauce ahead of time.
Appearance: Alright so this recipe doesn’t produce the prettiest of meals.
Pros: Healthy, flavorful.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? Yes.

I feel as though I should preface this recipe post by saying – don’t go! Stay. I know a “lentil walnut” burger sounds… strange. Believe me, I like my burgers to contain meat. Nearly every vegetarian burger I’ve ever tasted has been rubbery, crumbly, bland, or just plain dissatisfying. Needless to say I was apprehensive to try out this recipe. But, I put my trust in Martha and I’m so grateful I did. These burgers are utterly flavorful with a caramelized crust and toothsome interior. The yogurt sauce on top is refreshing and bright, enhancing all the flavors from the Middle-Eastern inspired spices of the burgers.

The nutrition value of this recipe is tremendous. It actually excites me to think about how much good it does for my body. Lentils are full of fiber and minerals that help your body run smoothly. Walnuts contain Vitamin E and good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids. Not to mention the yogurt is rich in calcium and aids in digestion. Your body and taste buds will like these burgers.

How to make
Spicy Lentil-Walnut Burgers

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
 Spicy Lentil-Walnut Burgers topped with a Yogurt Cilantro Sauce are meaty, satisfying, and delicious while being ultra nutritious and vegetarian friendly!


For the burgers:

  • 3/4 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriandor
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large egg

For the yogurt cilantro sauce

  • 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • whole wheat pita bread or whole wheat buns
  • tomato, bell pepper, red onion, etc. for topping (if desired)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the lentils in a small saucepan, cover with 1-inch of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 15-20 minutes. Drain well and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and slightly darkened. Let cool.
  3. In a food processor, combing toasted walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Process until finely ground. Add the lentils and 1 tablespoon of the oil and pulse until coarsely chopped (some whole lentils should remain).
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg. Add the lentil-walnut mixture, mix well. Divide mixture into 4 equal parts, roll into balls, and flatten with the palm of your hands into 3/4-inch thick patties.
  5. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the burgers; cook over medium-low heat until crisped and browned, turning gently with a thin-edged spatula, 8-10 minutes per side. Once cooked transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Serve burger patties on pita bread, top with yogurt sauce (recipe below) and other desired toppings.

For the sauce:

  1. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk yogurt, cilantro, and lemon juice together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe Notes

From Great Food Fast
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Maris — August 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Looks very very delicious. Love the health benfit as well!

  2. #
    Caroline — August 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I try to make the majority of our dinners vegetarian and this just added itself to my list. Love it!

  3. #
    nat@thesweetslife — August 11, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    when I made lentil burgers recently, we loved them! i didn't include walnuts though so I want to try that next time!

  4. #
    cocidodesopa — August 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Perfect for any lunch or dinner. I like them a lot and I'm sure I'll make these lentil burgers.


  5. #
    Nelly Rodriguez — August 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    What a great recipe, I've never even imagined a lentil walnut burger!

  6. #
    Ramya — August 11, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Can it get any better than this..? I love the flavours n spices u used:-)
    This is going to be my Sunday Brunch this weekend..
    Can u tell me which lentil did u use? Coz here we get a lot of variety of lentils..

    • #
      handleheat — August 12, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      I believe they were brown lentils – in the picture of my ingredients they are on the bottom left.

  7. #
    Lindsey @ WhyJustEat — August 12, 2011 at 12:11 am

    That looks amazingly delicious! I eat meat, but veggie burgers just taste better to me. I'll be giving this one a try soon!

  8. #
    pizzarossa — August 12, 2011 at 6:23 am

    I'm on a mission to find the perfect veggie burger, so these will definitely get made this weekend! Thanks for the recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. #
    Leah — August 12, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Ive been looking for a veggie burger recipe- and now this recipe is frying behind me! cant wait to try them!

    • #
      handleheat — August 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm

      Yay! Hope you enjoyed ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. #
    Anne — August 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I made these last night and they were SO good! I'm usually not a big fan of meatless burgers but these were great…and surprisingly meaty! Thanks for such a good recipe!

  11. #
    Leanne — September 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    These look delicious! I've been looking for a good lentil burger that doesn't turn to mush and admit I've been a little nervous about that. Can't wait to try them– thanks!

  12. #
    Emma — October 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I made these a few nights ago and they were delicious! I used French lentils and stretched it out to five burgers, and they were still a decent size.

    I don't have a food processor, so I wasn't able to get the mixture very finely chopped – hence, the burgers were a little crumbly once cooked. Next time I might add two eggs to try to bind them together a little more. Or maybe try the blender to make the mixture more sticky!

    Thanks for the great recipe, I'll be making it again ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. #
    Victoria — January 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Made this last night, and had left overs for lunch. LOVED it. It browned nicely and held their shape, actually looked like meat burgers. Chilling in the bridge before rolling helps make them not stick to your fingers.

  14. #
    CWellman — March 26, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Looks great. I am trying them now. Iโ€™ve been searching for an alternative to my oatmeal, walnut burger recipe. Canโ€™t wait to taste these.


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