I’m an avid follower of the Food Network and happened upon a commercial for Chef Michael Smith’s new web venture with Lentils.ca.
According to the website, lentils are high in fibre and soluble fibre, and a good source of folate and magnesium, all of which contribute to heart health. Lentils are an amazing protein source and their fibre content helps reduce cholesterol. Best of all, they are locally grown in Canada—who knew?
Maintaining fibre in a gluten-free Lyme-friendly diet is extremely hard to do, so I was amazed to find out that Lentils have more fibre than chickpeas, kidney beans and even bran flakes (which are restricted on the Lyme diet because of gluten and sugar).
There is a plethora of recipes on the site, but I chose a burger recipe to adapt to the Lyme diet, because it’s a great meat alternative. The recipe originally called for mushrooms, soy sauce and miso – all flavour enhancers that contribute to the ‘meatiness’ of the burger, but are unfortunately restricted on the Lyme diet. I successfully substituted canned artichoke hearts for the mushrooms, a bit of tahini paste for the miso and coconut aminos for the soy sauce. I also added additional spices, as the original recipe was lacking seasoning and looked quite bland.
These can be cooked a number of ways. I first tried lightly browning them in a sauté pan with a bit of oil and they cooked up crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. I browned them for about 2 minutes each side and then covered them for 5 minutes reducing the heat right down to low to ensure that the centres heated up. The next night, with the leftovers, I put the patties into a toaster oven set to 400°F for 20 minutes (flipping them half way through). They were just as crisp on the outside, but a bit drier – without the addition of any oil. If you are trying to keep weight on though, I would suggest cooking them in oil!
Be mindful when shopping for ingredients; the lentils we purchased were manufactured in a facility that uses wheat – so technically they’re not gluten free. That’s a huge problem for my husband, who has Celiac disease; so always read the ‘fine’ print. Always try to purchase packaged goods that are marked ‘gluten free’.
- 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- Canned artichokes; 4 pieces chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, freshly chopped
- 1 cups of dried lentils (I used the green variety)
- 1 cup of gluten free bread crumbs* (you can also try substituting brown rice flour; start with 1/2 cup and add more, if necessary, to hold together)
- ½ cup almond butter (I used an almond/cashew mix made by Nuts to You)
- ½ teaspoon tahini paste
- 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons of dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup of chia seeds
- 2 cups of sweet potato, grated
Cook the lentils according to package directions. I boiled 4 cups of water, added in the lentils, then reduced to a simmer and cooked for about 25 minutes. I strain them and then return them to the hot saucepan to steam off some of the water for a minute, stirring constantly. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.
Add the oil into your skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in the onion, artichokes, and garlic and sauté until they become soft and flavourful, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add in all the remaining ingredients except the grated sweet potato. Rest the mixture for ten minutes, giving the chia seeds time to plump up.
In a food processor, puree the mixture until everything is smoothly combined. Transfer the mixture back to the mixing bowl and stir in the sweet potato by hand so it does not break down in the machine.
Using your hands, shape the mixture into evenly formed patties. They can be cooked immediately, refrigerated for several days, or frozen for a month. I usually place the patties and onto a piece of waxed paper, when ready to cook, so I can get them all into a pan or the oven at once.
When it is time to cook, you have lots of options. You can fry them in a lightly oiled sauté pan on your stove top, sear them on your griddle, grill, or BBQ, or even bake in your oven at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Whatever method you choose, keep in mind that these burgers brown relatively quickly so medium-high heat will allow the centers to keep up while the exteriors cook.
I still have some mixture in the fridge – it goes a long way when you’re only a family of two! The whole batch yields about 12 servings.
* Note: if using bread crumbs, make sure you use a gluten free brand that does not have yeast in the ingredient list if you are on antibiotics. We had gluten free Irresistables bread crumbs on hand (sold at Metro); they contain rice flour and potato starch, which may be ok to use if you are on a herbal protocol or far along in treatment. If preferred, try using brown rice flour as the binder.