These just-so-slightly-spicy Vegan Lentil Burgers are made with split red lentils and are topped with the most delicious creamy vegan avocado sauce. Ready in under 20 minutes, these lentil patties are great as burgers, lettuce wraps, or in a salad.
These burgers stand proud. They stand tall. They don't apologize for being vegan burgers at a party.
Red lentils are one of my go-to ingredients for fast, filling, delicious, nutritious meals. These vegan Lentil Burgers are made with red lentils and take less than 20 minutes to make if you already have leftover red lentils.
These lentil burger patties have a really nice flavor thanks to a few easy ingredients: sriracha, sweet paprika, garlic powder, and fresh cilantro and scallion. They are juuuust slightly spicy and go perfectly with the creamy vegan avocado sauce.
I wouldn't even call them spicy, I would say they have a nice warmth to them.
They have a fantastic texture - a little firm, chewy, but not dry. They taste substantial and satisfying (is that a way to describe how something tastes? I think so!)
I hope you try these easy lentil patties! They are fantastic as burgers, but also go great with lettuce wraps or over a salad for a lighter meal.
Related recipe: Creamy Vegan Lentil Soup
How to make vegan lentil burgers:
Step 0: This recipe starts with already cooked split red lentils. If you don't have cooked red lentils, they only take about 10 minutes to cook on the stove-top (and that's including the time to boil the water!). Most packaging says to cook lentils for 12-15 minutes, but I find that they are ready in about 7-8 minutes - so check on the lentils to make sure you don't overcook them!
If you happen to overcook the lentils, that's OK too - after all, you'll be processing them in a food processor to make a paste.
ALRIGHT, now that we have our lentils, let's make these lentil burgers!
Step 1: In a small food processor (I love my Cuisinart 4 cup one!), combine 2 cups of red lentils, cup quick cooking or instant oats (or use gluten-free oats), 1 tablespoon lime juice, ¼ - ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 tablespoon sweet paprika.
Pulse a few times, stopping to scrape down the mixture if needed.
- You can skip the paprika if you want, or use smoked paprika for a nice smoky flavor, or add a pinch of powdered cayenne pepper to increase the heat.
- Make sure your sriracha is vegan - the Huy Fong brand is technically not vegan because of the process of the sugar they use. Sky Valley is a vegan sriracha sauce you can use.
- If you prefer no heat at all, you can use ketchup or tomato paste instead, or skip this altogether.
- Feel free to use lemon juice instead of lime juice.
Step 2: Add freshly chopped cilantro and scallion. Use parsley if you've got the cilantro soap gene.
Pulse to combine. The mixture should be like a thick paste.
Step 3: Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Give it another stir if it doesn't look well-combined. Give the mixture a taste and see if it needs more salt - it doesn't have any raw ingredients that can't be tasted.
Use your hands to form 4 lentil patties - each from about ½ cup of the lentil mixture. They patties should not be too crumbly or too wet.
Pro cooking tip for making vegan burgers: Wet your hands in cold water in between every patty, this prevents the lentil mixture from sticking to your hands.
Step 4: Dredge each lentil patty in flour. Use gluten-free flour, such as a gluten-free flour mix or cassava flour, if you prefer. To dredge, simple place the burgers in the flour, then flip over and place the other side in flour to add a light coating of flour.
Don't skip the dredging step! This really helps the burgers not stick to the pan.
Step 5: Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick pan, and carefully fry the patties for about 2-3 minutes per side over medium heat, or until the patties are golden brown on each side. Serve warm with avocado sauce
Step 6: Prepare the avocado sauce by blending together half an avocado, ¼ cup vegan mayo, a tablespoon of lime juice, chopped cilantro leaves, and salt. If you want, you can add a pinch of garlic powder and some spice by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper, sriracha, or red pepper flakes.
You can use vegan sour cream or plain unsweetened vegan yogurt instead of the mayo, or just skip them if you don't want to mess around with those ingredients at all. Just mash the avocado with the rest of the ingredients with a fork and you'll have a basic guacamole.
Related recipe: Vegan Stuffed Avocado Salad
Other add-ins for vegan lentil burgers
Feel free to add in any of these ingredients to these lentil burgers. Full disclaimer: I haven't tried all of these, but there's no way they can hurt!!
- Vegan feta (crumble it up and stir it in)
- Other fresh herbs, such as fresh basil or parsley
- Finely minced red onion in place of the scallion
- Vegan bacon bits
Related recipe: Vegan Chickpea Patties
How to serve these delicious lentil burgers
I think the creamy avocado sauce is perfect with these lentil burgers because the creaminess of the sauce pairs so nicely with the just-so-slightly spicy lentil burgers. You've also got the cilantro in both the lentil patties and the sauce, which really helps the two get along really well.
Trust me when I say to just try it once like this!
Otherwise, you can top these lentil patties with any of the following:
- Regular ol' guacamole (here's my best guacamole recipe)
- Creamy Mexican vegan Caesar dressing
- Slice of vegan pepper Jack cheese
- Pickled onions
- Pickle slices
- Vegan tzatziki sauce
We typically eat these as a burger with veggie, such as broccoli salad, but feel free to turn these into a lighter lunch by serving them in lettuce wraps or on a salad!
You can also try forming these burgers into smaller slider-sized or nugget-sized patties, and frying them that way! I do that for my toddler often because he is more likely to eat smaller patties - I love sneaking in that extra plant-based protein and iron - red lentils are rich in iron!
Related recipe: Madras Lentils
Got questions? I got answers!
Do I have to use red lentils? Can I use other lentils?
I really prefer red lentils because they cook the fastest and my kid actually eats them, as opposed to other kinds of lentils. Red split lentils cook in about 7-8 minutes, so you can easily make lentils just for this recipe and still have these lentil burgers ready in 30 minutes.
Red lentils also turn into a just-right paste in the food processor faster than other whole lentils, making them perfect for this recipe.
You can use other cooked lentils, if you prefer. You might need to pulse and process them a bit longer in order to break them up more and form a paste that sticks together. Or save those whole lentils for this Vegan Lentil Cakes recipe.
Are these lentil burgers gluten-free?
Yes, these are gluten-free lentil burgers! Or rather, they can be without altering anything significant in the recipe. Just make sure to use gluten-free oats and gluten-free flour instead of the regular kind.
My burgers fell apart, what happened?
I can't say for sure, but the lentil mixture was probably either too wet or too dry. If they seem too crumbly and dry when you're forming your patties, stir in a half a tablespoon of lime juice, sriracha, or water at a time (any liquid), until you have a thick paste.
If they seem too wet and just completely flop when you try to pick them up during the dredging step, they're too wet. Stir in a tablespoon of oats at a time to the lentil mixture until your patties stick together better. They'll still be fragile, but you should be able to pick them up with your hands or a spatula carefully without them completely turning into mush.
When these burgers are cooked, they should be nice and sturdy, chewy and firm (but not tough!). They should not crumble when split in half or when dipped into the avocado sauce. You can always do a test run and fry one of the lentil patties to see how it comes out - so you can adjust the rest of the lentil mixture if needed.
Can you freeze these?
Yes! These lentil burgers can be frozen. Freeze them individually, then stack them on top of each other with a small square of parchment paper in between, to prevent them from sticking to each other.
These are so good! Can I double the recipe?
Yes you can! Just use a larger food processor, or split the ingredients in half, process, then mix together in a bowl.
I hope you try these lentil burgers and love them as much as we do!!
Other vegan burger recipes and lentil recipes you will love:
- Vegan mushroom-oat burgers
- Hickory quinoa burgers
- Vegan chickpea patties
- Mediterranean chickpea and red lentil soup
If you try these burgers or any other recipe on my blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I LOVE hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food!!
Vegan Lentil Burgers with Avocado Sauce
For the lentil burgers:
- 2 cups cooked red lentils, (from about 1.25 - 1.5 cups uncooked lentils, see notes)
- ¼ cup quick cooking oats, (use gluten-free oats for a gluten-free lentil burger!)
- 1 tablespoon vegan sriracha, (or ketchup for no spice, see notes)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, (or lemon juice, see notes)
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, (see notes for variations)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
- 1 scallion, diced
- ½ cup flour, (use gluten free flour, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking the lentil patties
For the avocado sauce:
- ½ Hass avocado
- ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise, (or vegan sour cream or plain yogurt)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Optional: pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, and / or garlic powder
- Lettuce wraps or buns, garnish such as lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced red onion, cilantro.
Prepare the lentil burger patties:
- In a small food processor, combine the cooked lentils, oats, lime juice, sriracha, salt, garlic powder, and paprika. Pulse several times to combine, stopping to scrape down the mixture, if needed.
- Add the chopped cilantro leaves and chopped scallion. Pulse to combine - the mixture should be like a thick clay paste.
- Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Use your hands to form 4 lentil patties. Tip: wet your hands until cold running water in between every patty, this prevents the lentils from sticking to your hands. Place the flour on a plate and dredge the lentil patties in flour on both sides.
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Gently place the dredged lentil patties in the skillet and cook 2-3 minutes per side over medium heat, or until golden brown on each side.
Make the avocado sauce:
- In a small food processor, combine all the ingredients for the avocado sauce and process until smooth - or leave it a little chunky if you prefer some texture! Serve the lentil burgers with avocado sauce.
- Lentils: I prefer split red lentils for these burgers because they cook in less than 10 minutes and make a beautiful lentil burger that sticks together nicely. Try not to overcook your lentils. You can use any other lentils, but you might need to process the lentils longer in the food processor if using firmer lentils, such as whole green lentils.
- 1 tablespoon of vegan sriracha adds a little warm heat to these burgers but doesn't make them spicy. Double check whether your sriracha is vegan - the Huy Fong brand is actually not vegan because of the process of the sugar they use. Sky Valley is a vegan sriracha sauce you can use.
- You can use ketchup instead, or skip this altogether. You might need to add a tablespoon more of lemon juice or water to help bind these burgers together.
- Paprika: You can skip the paprika if you want, or use smoked paprika for a nice smoky flavor, or add a pinch of powdered cayenne pepper to increase the heat.
- Don't skip the dredging step! To dredge, simple place the burgers in the flour, then flip over and place the other side in flour to add a light coating of flour. This really helps the burgers not stick to the pan. Use a gluten-free flour mix or cassava flour if you want to keep these burgers gluten-free, and make sure your oats are gluten-free too!
- Avocado sauce: This makes a little extra avocado sauce. If you don't want to have any leftover, use only 2 tablespoons of vegan mayo (this will also give the sauce a richer avocado flavor... that's not a bad thing!)